Multipotentiality and the Biggest Positive of Different Personality Types in your Card Office

Positive IDentity Blog,

Multipotentiality and the Benefits of Different Personality Types in your Card Office

Contributor:
Sara Featherlin, Assistant Director, ID Center
University of Illinois System

Were you one of those types who knew your entire life what you wanted to do, had a completed plan with all of the goals you would need to accomplish in order to succeed, and then made those dreams and goals come true? Not me. And for a long time, it bothered me.

High school senior Sara, when asked about career aspirations, said she was going to be a toy tester like Tom Hanks’ character, Josh Baskin in the movie “Big,” mainly because I literally had no idea and wanted an answer for people, but also because… toys!

I went on to get two Bachelor’s degrees: one in Public Communication and Human Relations, and one in Elementary Education, and a Master’s degree in about the broadest topic possible: Liberal Arts and Sciences. I am a true multipotentialite. But what is a multipotentialite you ask?

According to R.H. Frederickson et al., a multipotentialite is one who, “when provided with appropriate environments, can select and develop a number of competencies to a high level.” This is the opposite of a specialist who is like the person who knew from age 4 they wanted to be a surgeon and stayed completely on that path all the way through their surgical residency.

Having a combination of multipotentialites and specialists in your card office can offer several benefits, but the biggest in my opinion is the well-rounded wealth of knowledge. Well-rounded knowledge provides more well-rounded thinking and answers. Well-rounded answers lead to well-rounded solutions for your office. For instance, let’s pretend you have a problem with your office work flow software- it just doesn’t do what you need for your office. Your IT specialist may suggest a strategy to purchase different software, which would solve the IT problem.  A multipotentialite, on the other hand, could see that same problem through a flow-of-business perspective and suggest that you could keep the software if the work was divided into a different manner which would be more productive. You can utilize the knowledge of all personality types to create work flow strategy, maybe even with new software as well, using the strengths of both of those thinkers. It could revolutionize your card office!

Multipotentialites are sometimes seen as flighty or distracted, but in reality their type of thinking offsets the more specific thinking of specialists. Variety of thinking can lead to any business, especially card offices, to flourish. Plus, who doesn’t love a co-worker who helps you see things differently, whether it is in a more focused or a more broad fashion? It is definitely better to have people who think outside a traditional “box” so your office can stay fresh!