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Understanding your qualities and pitfalls

In this text you will get to understand the core quadrant.
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© Engin Akyurt via Unsplash
Apart from reflecting on your values, also knowing your qualities and pitfalls is helpful in getting to know yourself on a personal and professional level. Especially when working with others, in your case PhD students, the core quadrant might be an insightful tool to reflect on. Watch the video on core quadrants below:

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

This video explains how your core qualities could lead to a possible pitfall, in case you use it too often or in the ‘wrong’ situations. In addition, the contrary of your pitfall is a challenge: Something you find hard to act upon, but something that could be added to your core quality to prevent you from falling in your pitfall. However, the ‘too much’ of your challenge is your allergy: Something that annoys you in others, although there is something to learn for ourselves in terms of a challenge. The video stated that you often have a partner or friends that have qualities that you are allergic to. However, this could also account for people that you work with, for example, your PhD students.

To give an example, if your core quality is that you are punctual (e.g. strict in following rules, never miss a meeting), then your allergy probably is a PhD student that is quite careless. You tend to see this PhD student as lazy or irresponsible. However, within that allergy lies your challenge, which is the mild version of this carelessness: being relaxed and flexible if needed.

In the following exercise, you will work on one or two core quadrants yourself.


  • Ofman, D. (2001). Core qualities: A gateway to human resources. Schiedam: Scriptum.

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