The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Roles we choose and carry

The way we have constructed identity and personality often makes it difficult to attend to it thoughtfully in a given situation.

It starts with our ability to distinguish between both.

Identity is how people know themselves from the inside. It’s also the way they see themselves be. To describe their identity they’ll use their affiliations, beliefs, competences, or other elements they decided to stand for. The multiplication of these elements easily adds tension. Sometimes what they stand for requires deciding which priorities are relevant. Asa consequence these positions might be seen as parts of one’s identity.

As it is an inside view, it also means that it is how someone sees themselves. No one knows it better than them.

In contrast to identity, personality is best seen by others. It is how an individual will present themselves and interact with others. It is based on the person’s thoughts, feelings and leads to a visible behavior. Nevertheless, how the person acts and is perceived will depend on the situation they are acting in. That’s because the context will contribute to their thoughts and feelings, and thus transform their behavior.

It thus is the personality that will shine through when someone takes up a role. Why they chose to take a specific role, however, might be based on their identity.

Being thoughtful about their roles is how people can deal with the context they are in. It becomes how they can achieve their goal. And also how they can implement it based on the given relationships.

In this, role, relationship and want have become an interrelated system.

Whatever people want to achieve will be restricted by the relationship and role they are in. It also leads to adapting how this goal and what of this goal can be addressed from their position. At the same time, the existing relationships may influence the role people choose to take up or vice versa.

Think about Bill and Melinda Gates. Their upcoming divorce will change their relationship. But not necessarily their professional relationship, nor their roles in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. However, they will still have a private relationship they will have to keep distinct from the professional as well from the organizational work they attend to in the Foundation.

Awareness of this role, relationship and goal system eases clarifying how people attend to the work they do in a team. It helps them verify what they can expect from one another. But also what they might have to leave aside in a given situation. Their personality will remain unaffected by this. It will be present in every role they take up, even if it is in a different way.

The more roles and relationships they have to attend to, the more precise they have to be in choosing and naming the role they are in. Without clear boundaries, expectations will remain unattended and thus frustrations will appear.


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