Understanding Your Personal Thinking Style Is Key to Advancing Your Career

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Do you know what strengths you bring to the table and how to maximize your thinking, talents, and perspective?

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Our individual thinking styles affect how we interact with colleagues, tackle projects, and present ideas and information. As you advance in your career, knowing what makes you you and how your distinct personality clicks with others will help you identify opportunities to contribute, grow, and shine as both an individual and a team member.

Why It Matters

Whether you're seeking a new opportunity or content in a current role, unlocking the secrets of your individual thinking style can enable you to be more efficient, effective, and influential in your work, career, and personal life.

Plus, being able to communicate your thinking style to a potential employer and explain why you are the right fit for the position and the organization's culture will make you a stronger candidate overall. Companies value people who know their strengths and how to navigate organizations made up of diverse personalities. Demonstrating a high level of self-awareness and an understanding of how your personality relates to others can position you as a highly effective future team member and a mature, talented individual.

Where to Begin

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Dedicate time to reflecting on your strengths and weakness and how these qualities could help – or hinder – your personal effectiveness, your relationships with coworkers, and your ability to advance in your career. The more you understand yourself, the easier it will be to adjust your approach to ensure you make meaningful connections with others and maximize insights.

There are many tools you can use to assess your thinking style, personality, and problem-solving approach, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Hogan Assessment, and the Six Thinking Hats.

Free online quizzes like the Original Thinkers quiz can also help you determine your dominant thinking style. Once completed, these quizzes often provide in-depth assessments of your results and explain how you can immediately apply this knowledge in your career. For example, the Original Thinkers quiz details areas where your style of thinking excels, where you may struggle, and what types of thinkers you should connect with to optimize your strengths.

For example, if you're an analyzer and prefer a logical problem-solving approach, you likely excel at interpreting data and solving complex problems. This insight can help you identify opportunities where you can be in your element and benefit your organization.

How to Maximize

If you're currently employed, you can use self-knowledge to evaluate your present role and identify opportunities to better leverage your strengths and position yourself for advancement. You can also use this information to enhance your relationships with supervisors, to work more effectively with coworkers who think differently, and to present ideas in a way that ensures clarity and gets buy-in.

If you're looking for a new opportunity, insights into your personal thinking style will help you identify the types of roles and organizations in which you can contribute and thrive. Understanding the cognitive strengths you bring to a new position will even help you better prepare for job interviews.

You should continue to reassess your strengths throughout your career as your skills and experience grow. A deep understanding of your individual thinking style will help you find more satisfying positions, work with organizations that empower you to maximize your talents, and unleash your full potential.

Beth Demko is a senior talent management consultant and industrial/organizational psychologist at Kimberly-Clark.