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A Shadow of One's Self

Who Knows What Traits Lurk Within

In our workplaces and in our lives, we all boast strengths—traits that can equip us well for working with and leading others. But to Steve Mortenson, associate professor of communication, those strengths can be accompanied—and sometimes distorted—by their own shadows. Ambitious go-getters, for example, can also be prone to becoming work-a-holics, exposing a darker side to an otherwise laudable trait. So relish your strengths—but beware of their shadows.

HELPER vs. DRUDGE
 

HELPER
Altruistic, empathetic,
compassionate;
puts others first

DRUDGE
Overwhelmed,
resentful, taken
for granted

Joan

HERO vs. SADIST
 

HERO
Courageous,
commanding,
takes action

SADIST
Uses confidence to
intimidate or blame;
uses truth to wound

 

FRIEND vs. SIDEKICK
 

FRIEND
Loyal, steadfast,
trustworthy

SIDEKICK
Emotionally needy;
aggressive with critics

MERRY MAKER vs. RUSH HOUND
 

MERRY MAKER
Enthusiastic,
relatable, positive

RUSH HOUND
Undisciplined,
lacks follow through

 

Jeseter

GUARDIAN vs. WORRIER
 

GUARDIAN
Responsible,
disciplined,
accountable

WORRIER
Always on high alert,
mistrusts others

CREATOR vs. VICTIM
 

CREATOR
Original,
authentic,
passionate

VICTIM
Overly sensitive,
disdains convention

 

palette

PEACEMAKER vs. AVOIDER
 

PEACEMAKER
Inclusive, flexible,
accommodating

AVOIDER
Sacrifices to keep peace;
procrastinates

 

MONARCH vs. TYRANT
 

MONARCH
Orderly, decisive,
timely, organized

TYRANT
Controlling, afraid
of uncertainty

 

crown

GO-GETTER vs. WORKAHOLIC
 

GO-GETTER
Ambitious,
competitive,
inspiring

WORKAHOLIC
Needs to be admired;
identifies with
achievements

 

EXPERT vs. KNOW IT ALL
 

EXPERT
Knowledgeable,
analytical,
problem-solver

KNOW IT ALL
Stubborn,
intolerant,
emotionally cold

 

books

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