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Home » Communication, Teams

The Thai Personality decoded…

Submitted by on Wednesday, 1 September 2010No Comment

Personality is often a big talking point in Thailand. Perhaps not in ‘formal’ concepts but almost always in conversation and gossip, especially in the workplace.

So understanding some of the aspects of Thai personality is always useful, even if it does not cover all situations.

The best introduction to the Thai personality can, in our opinion, be found here. Father Niphon’s study is neatly categorised in nine domains including Ego Orientation, Grateful Relationship Orientation, Fun-Pleasure Orientation, and Achievement-Task Orientation, all of which are important to understand in the Thai  workplace.

When ‘Personality’ can become ‘Problematic’

This is all well and good. However, there are many occasions when these aspects of ‘personality’ can lead to problems.

personality thailandFor example, if the Ego Orientation becomes hypersensitive and leads to poor emotional control issues in the workplace, this is clearly going to impact team performance. Employees may leave their managers, or team members may distance themselves from each other and ‘silos’ can develop.

Another typical problem is when the ‘Fun-Pleasure’ orientation leads to poor personal responsibility, a resistance to any actions that may be considered ‘unpopular’ (even if they are necessary from a business point of view), or a lack of professional care.

In these cases, change needs to take place, and it may be surprising to some that, following its latest World Bank study involving over 1,200 companies in Thailand and Malaysia, both employees and management ranked Thais’ ‘adaptability and flexibility’ half that of their Malaysian counterparts.

When it’s time for Change…

The good news is that the above traits are not hardwired in the way that, say, true personality characteristics are, such as whether a person is an Extrovert or an Introvert.

These are simply patterns of behaviour. But a change of behaviour can rarely be achieved by addressing the behaviours themselves. This is because behaviours are an effect, not the cause.

Emotional Intelligence makes the difference

Instead, understanding and managing emotions, and relating them to these behaviours, gives each person the possibility of exploring – and making – fresh choices.

The Emotional Intelligence programme offered by Talent Technologies, for examples, includes areas such as achievement, assertiveness, and stress tolerance, all areas which many Thai participants initially find challenging.

Mastering the above allows participants (for example) to:

» Maintain emotional control under pressure

» Achieve necessary tasks while motivating others

» Persist even in the face of initial resistance

Make the change with this programme

If you’re interested in finding out more how Emotional Intelligence can help manage personality issues in your company, you can find a summary here, or simply ask us for full programme details by following the link below.

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