The Myers-Briggs letter pair that causes the most tension is the Judging-Perceiving pair (J/P). By nature, Judgers (Js) want to make a decision and have closure. Perceivers (Ps) want to keep their options open and explore. Js like to make plans far in advance and stick to their plan. Ps like to go with the flow and decide last-minute. Imagine a J and P who have lunch plans. The J will want to pick the time, the restaurant, and might even look at the menu before lunch so they can decide in advance. The P might want to have a “looser” meeting time, might change their mind about the choice of restaurant the day of, and will be excited to look at the menu and see what strikes their fancy that day. If I know I’m interacting with a J, I do my best to limit changes, especially last-minute changes. And if you know there will be a change, let them know as soon as you can so they have time to emotionally re-set. If you’re a J trying to get a P to decide, give them options. Likely the P will know what they don’t want before they know what they do want. Use the process of elimination to pick a restaurant and pick a calendar date. Most importantly, try to smile and remember that “it’s true I’m not like you….how fortunate for both of us.”
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Did you know that when a group of people work together they take on a collective personality? Knowing your team’s personality type can be a tremendous advantage. Does the team tend to get too detailed in their decision making? Does the team fail to recognize the contributions of their employees? Do they focus too much on short-term deadlines and not take time to envision their future strategy? Does the team enjoy theoretical debate at the cost of timely decisions?
When you know the natural tendencies of the group, you can then put procedures in place to maximize on their strengths and minimize liabilities. For instance, if you know you have a majority of Extraverts (E), that means the Introverts (I) on the team may not get enough air time in meetings. Before a final decision is made by the group, you can go around the table and ask each person to voice their opinion. Or if you know your team focuses too much on Thinking (T) and not enough on Feeling (F), you can do a quick check and ask “how will this impact our people?” before your final decision is made.
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Are you one of those people that like to get up from your desk and drop in on someone? You have an idea so you want to go talk to someone right away? If so, you are likely an Extravert (E). Dropping in on an Introvert (I) may not be as well received as you would hope.
Introverts (I) like to process internally and most enjoy a quiet work environment free from noise and distractions. A lot of chatter and interruptions are not as effective for them.
When I know someone is an Introvert (I), I try to give them advanced notice about a topic I’d like to discuss. It might be an email that says, “Hey John, at our meeting tomorrow, I’d like to make sure we cover your plan for the New York presentation. Let’s make sure we make time for that.”
This quick email let’s John know to prepare for that discussion. Or it could be a text to your partner that says, “when we have time this weekend, I’d like to discuss how we want to spend our tax return”. You are priming the pump.
You are helping the Introvert (I) be prepared for the conversation. If you’re an Extravert (E), this priming is not as critical for your success. But this tactic can go a long way to helping the Introvert (I) feel supported and successful.
And if I were you, I would keep the drop-ins minimal. They will appreciate you for it.
Think about the last time you had a difficult decision to make. Did you reach out to a trusted friend to discuss your options? Was it important to brainstorm out loud? Or did you want to have time alone to process things internally? Did you want quiet time to think?
Extraverts (E) like to problem solve by talking and discussing. Introverts (I) tend to find solutions by thinking and having alone time in their head. It is important to know your style so you know what you need when you are frustrated.
Do you need to talk? Or do you need to think? What about your co-workers or family members? Do you offer up yourself as a sounding board or do you graciously allow them space to process?
This is a critical component of effective relationships. Understand what you need and understand those around you in order to be your best self.
Extraverts (E) typically give compliments freely and enjoy receiving them. When an Extravert (E) gives a compliment, it’s not just a “good job”. It’s more of a “Wow! You were so amazing at that presentation. I was floored by how fantastic you did!”
This can sometimes come across as shallow or insincere to an Introverted (I) type. But it’s important to keep in mind that Introverts (I) are not as verbose as an Extravert (E). If an Introvert (I) says something once, you had better listen. They likely will not repeat it or say it in multiple ways to increase its full affect.
Why is this important to know? Because you should know your audience when giving praise. If you are working with an Extravert (E), understand that giving as much praise as you can and including details will be energizing.
Extraverts (E) typically don’t mind receiving praise in public. Bring it on! They love it! Providing praise to an Introvert (I) is usually more or a private affair. Write a meaningful note or email. Pull them aside and share your compliments in a one-on-one setting. For an Introvert (I), quantity does not win over quality.
People relate to time in different ways. People who have a preference for Sensing (S), tend to be more precise and typically are more punctual than Intuitives (N). This difference can be a big source of contention when it is not understood. Often times, Sensors (S) will be early to meetings and might impatiently tap their foot waiting for the Intuitives (N) to arrive.
Intuitives (N) tend to be broad-stroke people and also underestimate the amount of time a task may require. Both of these components cause them to struggle with punctuality more so than a Sensor (S).
If you believe this is causing a problem at work or at home, talk to the other person about your own personality preference and their preference. Often times, when you can verbalize the issue, you can jointly work on a solution or agreement that can satisfy both parties. Perhaps it’s sending a text if you will be more than 2 minutes late to an agreed start time?
Or perhaps you need to set up meetings at a different time of day? If you keep your frustration in your head, there is nothing can be done. Reach out and have a conversation. Knowing about your personality type could save your relationships.
If you are an Introvert (I) or interact with one on a regular basis, it is critical to understand that Introverts (I) need alone time every day. They need quiet. They need no one to talk to them for a certain amount of time each day.
If Introverts (I) don’t get the internal processing time they need, they will get overwhelmed, stressed, grumpy, and ultimately shut down. Often being in the workplace all day can be de-energizing for an Introvert (I).
They are constantly using up their energy by having conversations and interactions with others. There are several ways Introverts (I) can anticipate their needs and stay on their A-game.
Introverts (I) need to set aside alone time for themselves every day. Some Introverts will have lunch by themselves every day and use that time to recharge. Others might set aside a morning or afternoon break to take a 10-minute walk alone.
Many Introverts (I) appreciate a long commute to mentally switch gears before arriving home. Some Introverts (I) will spend 15 minutes in their room before joining family activities.
These are small steps that will make a world of difference and help you set the right boundaries for optimal performance.