Tamara Johnson Matheus has been an instructor of Understanding Character since 1986. After completing her B.A. at Northland College, she joined her father, Chuck Johnson, in his work developing Understanding Character. They spent several years working with clients, conducting discussion groups, and listening to people describe what the frustrations and needs were in their day-to-day lives. This effort helped them develop what is now known as Understanding Character classes.
Tamara works with clients both in their own corporate facilities as well other locations. She instructs Understanding Character classes, works with associates one-on-one, and consults with owners, CEOs, and presidents regarding plans for creating and supporting the development of people within the business.
Tamara believes in the long-term approach. People are complicated and need time to sort things out. People need to be able to think through what they are learning and then apply it to their own set of circumstances. Leaders need to figure out how fast or slow they can go. It all takes time. “There are scads of programs out there that are short-term, ‘feel good’ methods,” she says. “This may make people feel a little more positive for awhile but they don’t provide for long-term, real support. My work helps people build a foundation that will last a lifetime.”
Having an understanding of character allows her to have a deep understanding of people. She helps organizations make decisions about assigning people, putting individuals “in the right seat on the bus”. In addition to proper assignment, she works with the leadership to better understand and support their people.
“Having someone properly assigned is important but it is about 33% of the challenge,” Tamara says. “The leader or leaders within the organization have to then understand that person, accept that person, and support that person based on character. If that is done, then long-term success is much more likely. It’s the other 67%”.
She enjoys working and talking with people whenever she gets the chance and finds that there is always something to learn when listening to a person’s story. She lives in Northern Wisconsin on Lake Superior.