Tag Archives: Personality type

True confession: I tune out when you talk about your Myers-Briggs type.

personality type

lee Scott via Unsplash

I’m an INTJ.  I’m detail-oriented and set high standards.  And you’re a…oh, sorry, what?  I was checking my Facebook feed.

Yep, that’s me.  I enjoy learning about my own personality type but lose focus when it comes to the other…15?… types.  It’s like reading someone else’s horoscope: it’s mildly interesting but it doesn’t really resonate.

But Penelope Trunk recently wrote about teaching kids to identify personality types being a key factor in their ability to navigate relationships and, ultimately, find the right partners, personally and professionally.  I like this because it offers a tangible way to help kids build a very intangible skill – a sort of curriculum for teaching emotional intelligence.

And THAT resonated.

I can be hyper-analytical and demanding, so I know I have to flex my communication style to be more approachable and supportive.  That knowledge gets me a long way, without giving much thought to personality type.  But I can do better.  And helping my kid navigate the world is my number one priority.  If Myers-Briggs will help me do that, I’m in.

How about you?  What’s your experience with Myers-Briggs or other personality typologies?

 

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Are you making space for your introverts?

cube land

I love the idea of an open-plan workspace.  No walls, no barriers to communication.  Total synergy, total creativity.  But then there is the reality of an open-plan workspace. Noise. Chaos. People constantly up in my grill. Trying to get something done in this environment drives me absolutely bonkers.

Welcome to the world of the introvert.

Although we often think of the introvert as shy and the extrovert as outgoing, the difference really lies in how individuals manage their energy, how they refuel and recharge. Introverts are most comfortable exploring ideas internally and they recharge by being alone. They live inside their head and they like to think through problems before acting. Extroverts are drawn to activity, interacting with and drawing energy from lots of different people. They learn by doing and enjoy “thinking out loud”.

As a manager, you likely have a mix of introverts and extroverts on your team, and all to varying degrees. And you probably don’t have a lot of design control as far as office architecture goes. (If you do, you can create an environment like this.) But there are many ways to insure that your introverts have the space they need, both physically and mentally.

Allow individual or small group projects. Introverts aren’t sociopaths; they like people. But they may find working with large groups draining. Working in smaller groups will allow them to be at their best.

Utilize a variety of meeting formats. Introverts prefer the structure of presentations and formal meetings, where the conversational flow is controlled.  The free-for-all of traditional brainstorming sessions can be frustrating for introverts.  They also like to have a planSo utilize calendars, create agendas and allow time for preparation.

Let them speak. If you’re an extrovert, make sure you’re allowing an introvert to participate in the conversation. They think before speaking, so curb your need to jump in until they’ve had time to contribute. Schedule plenty of one-on-ones and include discussion of ideas, not just tasks and projects.

Respect the cube. When people are in their cubes, treat it as a no-fly zone. As an introvert, I despise the “drop-by”. At home, nothing sets me on edge more than an unannounced visit, when I’m in the middle of a project, my hair is a mess and toys are strewn everywhere. It’s the same in the workplace. Call first. (And we’ll screen you. But get over it.)

Allow and encourage use of headphones. If you have an open-plan layout, headphones are the universal “Do Not Disturb” sign.

Acknowledge that inspiration and creativity don’t only happen in high-stimulation environments.
We tend to idealize these types of environments in modern workplaces, the same way we idealize the extrovert as the creative leader. Introverts are great information processors and excel at connecting ideas. They just need some low-stimulation space to do it in.

 

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(Photo by Sonny Abesamis via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)