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Hobbies and psychology


Do you choose your hobby or does your hobby choose you?

 Obviously your hobby is not a sentient being so is incapable of making a choice. However, does something in your makeup predicate you to particular hobbies? 

I used to work for a construction Consultancy company with ambitions to create a Quantity Surveying Team of 200 staff. Unfortunately a recession changed that objective to 'not part of the core objectives'.

Frequently, the choice of who to put on a commission was based on availability together with face fit. Neither optimise the selection for the Client.

I started to develop an Excel application that featured Personal Work History, Competencies Matrix, Roles and Responsibilities, and Resource Management to help indicate and manage the competencies of a person and department, and thereby help with selection of the appropriate individuals for a particular commission. It would also help with Training Needs Analysis and Skills Management.

After I left the company I started to develop that application in a SQL database hosted in Microsoft Azure.

Work and hobbies clearly intertwined.

A baker's dozen of relevant words in an employment environment, I suspect there could be many more;

Aptitude, attitude, behaviours, capabilities, character, competence, competencies, experience, knowledge, mind-set, personality, skills, and traits.

If used in data driven decision making you would successfully resolve to the appropriate individual matched to the commission every time.

I suspect if you mapped an individual on a spider graph of the above, there would be a correlation with a similar exercise with hobbies undertaken by a wider group.

Hence demonstrating a  predication to particular group of similar hobbies. You may note that my group and sport hobbies are severely limited.

If you have to manage projects, people, teams, or organisations and you want to have a good corporate future, you need to understand the need for hobbies in the out of work environment and an understanding of the information about a person, that their hobbies, or lack thereof, implies about them. That will help build the right mix of people to provide a team structure for success, a high performing team with a good work live balance with an emphasis on wellbeing as well as achievement. I am more used to nine roles identified by Belbin than the 16 currently taking favour. Under Belbin I have been identified as having dual primary of 'The Plant' and 'The Completer-Finisher', apparently a relatively rare combination.

Below are a selection of relevant articles;-

Personality vs. Character
The key to discerning personality from character is time.

Alex Lickerman M.D.
Happiness in this World

Posted Apr 03, 2011

I once conducted a job interview with someone I found to be passionate, energetic, intelligent, engaging, and prepared. As I asked her questions designed to produce an accurate picture of her potential future performance, I remained attuned to my emotional reactions to her demeanor, trying to hear what my inner voice was telling me about her. At the end of the interview, I found myself excited about the prospect of her coming to work for me. I had to remind myself to remain cautious, however, as I reflected on just how easy it is to confuse personality with character and how critical it is to separate them.

What's the difference?
Personality is easy to read, and we're all experts at it. We judge people funny, extroverted, energetic, optimistic, confident—as well as overly serious, lazy, negative, and shy—if not upon first meeting them, then shortly thereafter. And though we may need more than one interaction to confirm the presence of these sorts of traits, by the time we decide they are, in fact, present we've usually amassed enough data to justify our conclusions.

Character, on the other hand, takes far longer to puzzle out. It includes traits that reveal themselves only in specific—and often uncommon—circumstances, traits like honesty, virtue, and kindliness. Ironically, research has shown that personality traits are determined largely by heredity and are mostly immutable. The arguably more important traits of character, on the other hand, are more malleable—though, we should note, not without great effort. Character traits, as opposed to personality traits, are based on beliefs (e.g., that honesty and treating others well is important—or not), and though beliefs can be changed, it's far harder than most realize.

Why does it matter?
The problem in forming judgments about a person's suitability for important roles in our lives (employee, friend, lover, spouse) is that we all have an uncanny predilection for observing attractive personality traits and manufacturing out of them the presence of positive character traits (that is, if someone is outgoing, confident, and fun we're more likely to think they're honest, moral, and kind). But it's far from clear that the one kind tracks with the other. In fact, as I recounted in Listening To Your Inner Voice, that assumption often gets us into trouble.

We unconsciously tend to connect personality to character for two main reasons: we want to like people we already like, and the most reliable way to assess a person's character is laborious and time-consuming. (We actually need to observe people in character-challenging situations in order to make reliable deductions about their character. For example, if we observe someone lie easily, we can be reasonably certain from even just one instance that they've done so in the past and will do so again in the future, as the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.)

This is because the beliefs that drive us to do things like lie easily, or tell the truth, are present in us at all times. They may remain "dormant" until circumstances stir them up in such a way that they motivate observable action, but they're rarely hidden away deliberately. Which begs the question: might there be a way to glimpse such beliefs without waiting for circumstances to put them on full display?

In a word—yes. Not so much by speaking directly with people whose character you're trying to uncover, but by speaking with people who know the people whose character you're trying to uncover. This is why, for example, wise prospective employers always call references.

The challenge, though, once we do is that prospective employees provide references they expect will speak well of them. The trick, then, is to ask questions of a person's references designed to get them to reveal their most accurate judgments honestly.

Questions like "Have you ever known X to lie?" aren't useful because the answer you get will depend on the character of the person you're asking. You won't know if a reference is comfortable lying themselves, so the veracity of any answer you get will remain questionable at best. For this reason, it's better to ask questions that push people to apply their own judgment. These kind of questions are more likely (though certainly not in all circumstances) to return honest answers. Therefore, instead ask things like, "What in your judgment is X's greatest weakness?" The implication here is that everyone has weaknesses, so it's unreasonable to expect the answer to be "none." It's harder to make up a weakness on the spot than to tell the truth about a weakness that a reference actually perceives, so you're more likely to get an honest assessment. Your reference may try to play down the weakness they reveal, but you can read between the lines.

The drawback to this technique is that it relies on the judgment of individuals, which we know is biased and often flawed. This drawback can be overcome, however, by asking the same questions of many people who know the person in whose character you're interested. As I wrote in a previous post, The Wisdom Of Crowds, if multiple people independently return similar answers, the likelihood that their collective judgment will be accurate is high.

Though it may seem Machiavellian, you can apply this process to friends and potential mates as well. The average length of time, for instance, people date before deciding to marry is approximately three years in the United Kingdom (a figure, I should note, that varies widely by culture). The challenge with deciding to marry someone after knowing them only three years, for example, is that some important character traits, good and bad, may not have revealed themselves by then. Of course, it's socially awkward bordering on inappropriate to interrogate a potential mate's friends and family about them directly. And though I'm not suggesting anyone do this, I am suggesting we can and should pay attention to data as it's presented to us by others as they may be in possession of better data than we are. People generally have a hard time hiding their true feelings about others over time, so if you hear common themes from people close to the person in whose character you're interested, pay attention. You're almost certainly hearing the truth.

I don't mean by any of the above to imply that personality isn't important. But when we're making decisions about who to let into our lives in critical roles, character must be considered equally important, if not more so, but is often readily overlooked. Luckily for me, the references of the person I interviewed all that time ago not only provided strong endorsements but endorsements whose content was consistent. I hired her and over time I found her to be as outstanding as her references predicted she would be.





Ask several people to explain the difference between competencies, attributes and traits, and chances are, you’ll get several different explanations. The truth is, there really is no one right definition for any of them, but they are very different nonetheless. For me, personality traits are more permanent and as a result, can be difficult to change. Competencies and attributes are a little more unpredictable. For the sake of clarity, here are a few points on each that may help to make the distinction a little more evident:

A personality trait is often ingrained. When we think of traits we think: outgoing, shy, gregarious or introverted. These are the types of characteristics that most people have had for most of their lives. Can they change over time? Sure. But personality traits are often deep-seated and difficult to learn or unlearn. The truth is, regardless of how hard you try, you’re probably never going to get someone who is shy and introverted to suddenly want to become the centre of attention. More than likely, they’ll never be described as being “super bubbly” or “outgoing”. When we think of leadership traits, we often think strong, confident, and secure- qualities we strive to have.

An Attribute is generally discussed in the context of specific behaviors that are learned as part of external experiences. He or she is loyal, committed, or has strong integrity. These are attributes that lead to certain behaviors and can be strong predictors of how someone will respond in a given situation. Attributes, as opposed to traits, are not ingrained, but learned over time. So you might develop strong attributes after going through a particularly difficult personal or professional situation. Motivation and enthusiasm might be described as attributes that would be ideal for most careers.

Competencies are a little more difficult to understand, and are typically a mix between behaviors and skills. If you have strong leadership competencies, it’s understood that you may have behavior patterns that are strengthened by certain skills you have developed over time. Generally, competencies are measures of how well you do certain things, taking into consideration your knowledge, skills and attributes. Competencies are generally behaviors that are easily identified and measured.

Most of us have heard of personality traits, attributes and competencies. In fact, we may have even used these terms almost synonymously at one time or another to describe a co-worker, a friend or a family member. There are differences between the three and while most people use them interchangeably, it’s important to understand at least a few of the major differences. Traits are ingrained behaviors that are mostly permanent and difficult to change while attributes can be learned through external experiences. Competencies are simply combinations of skills and behaviors and are easily identified and measured.












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