Archive for December, 2016

How To Measure The Mix – Teambuilding 101

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

Excerpts from The TYPE Reporter, Issue No. 4.  The TYPE Reporter is a newsletter about your personality type, and how it influences you in all the stages of life.  You can subscribe on the website or by contacting Susan Scanlon, INFJ, Editor, 703-764-5370.

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HOW TO MEASURE THE MIX – By Susan Scanlon    

I decided to do an issue on team building because I’d heard that term used often among the people who take the MBTI into the workplace. There’s no doubt about it, teamwork is a popular subject in organization development circles. But teamwork was not an idea that excited me at first. In my fantasies, the individual does great things, not the group. I used to cheer on the heroes in the novels of Ayn Rand, who triumphed against that symbol of mediocrity – the committee.

In the few experiences I’ve had working with groups, the argument and discussion went on and on, very little got done, and I was so busy agreeing or disagreeing with others that there was no chance for me to listen to what my own best thoughts were. I’m an American and an Introvert, so it wasn’t going to be easy to convince me that I could produce a better product if I had a wide mix of people messing around with it first. But I’ve listened now to many team members and team consultants and I realize that they’re talking about a different kind of team than Ayn Rand’s or the groups I’ve worked with. They’re talking about a team that can enhance the effectiveness of the individual, that really does improve the final product, and is absolutely essential for success in this very complex and competitive world.

They never played down the difficulty of creating a team that is diverse yet able to work together well, but they made teamwork sound just as dramatic as tales of individual heroism, and worth the work. From dozens of interviews, my team and I selected six team stories. These stories illustrated some of the more common problems a team might have, and how the MBTI can help. We looked for messages in these stories, and from the messages we came up with six questions you might ask yourself about your own team.

                 The Mix —  How To Make It Work

1. Does your team have a good mix of types? Fill in a type table with the types of our team members. Are all the eight preferences represented? Do you have at least one member who is an ST, SF, NT and NF?

2. If your team does not have a good mix of types, who’s missing? Don’t stop at saying you’re missing an ST. Make a list of all the kinds of input an ST might bring to your team. List the information that is not available to the team.

3. If your team does not have a good mix of types, what can you do to compensate for it? You can hire people in, you can seek outside opinions, or you can invent a team member and think for him. Would an N be able to see the big picture in all of this? Would an S be able to see a practical use for it? What else would a P want to talk about before we make a decision?

4. Does your team have a positive attitude toward differences? Very often, just the new perspective of the type theory is enough to smooth out a team’s problems considerably.

5. Does everyone on your team contribute their preferences? Are all the Intuitives really sharing their Intuitive perceptions? Do the S’s feel free to express their doubts that something will work, or are they afraid of being called a stick in the mud?  If our team isn’t benefiting from all the viewpoints represented, they need to work on creating an atmosphere of trust and acceptance. Or they can try to deliberately draw out people’s preferences. (“I need to run this by you for your Sensing” – says the manager.)

6. Is your team leader open to the contribution of all the members? The team leader can have an enormous influence on whose opinion gets heard and whose opinion gets acted on. It’s important that the team have an impartial leader, or even better, one who knows the positive potential of each member and can draw the group’s attention to that.

 

Teamwork – A Team Needs A Good Mix Of Types

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

Excerpts from The TYPE Reporter, Issue No. 4

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by Tom Carskadon, INFP

Sometimes folk wisdom is right on, but sometimes it’s so contradictory that it’s no help at all. Do opposites attract, or do birds of a feather flock together?  This is an important question not just in friendship, love, and marriage, but also in team building.

A large body of research in psychology suggests that in general, we are most attracted to people who are fairly similar to us. Isabel Myers concluded that we tend to favor people similar in type to ourselves, more often marrying them, for instance; but that when it comes to team building, a well rounded mix of types is the most effective and desirable.

This idea has been part of type lore for decades; but is there actual research evidence to back it up? A few years ago Bruce Blaylock, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University, did a major study in which 17 four-person teams of students competed with each other over a month in a sophisticated and realistic simulated production exercise.

Some of the teams included a wide variety of types; other teams had all members with the same type or very similar types. All were objectively evaluated according to their total effectiveness. The teams composed of a broad range of types clearly and significantly outperformed the teams with little or no variety in types. Writing in Volume 6 of Research in Psychological Type, Dr. Blaylock notes that no particular type preference was predictive of success; instead, teams with a thorough mixture of types outperformed virtually any single-type or similar-type team.

This is one area where type theory and type research mesh very well. In forming teams, it may be tempting to choose people similar to ourselves  and this could be a special trap for feeling types who value harmony so highly – but even in tasks that seem made for a particular type, the best results are likely to come from a well rounded mix of types.

(At the time of writing this article, Tom Carskadon,INFP, was a professor of psychology at Mississippi State University and editor of the journal, RESEARCH IN PSYCHOLOGICAL TYPE.)

 

The Five Relationship Attributes Necessary For Successful Leadership

Friday, December 9th, 2016

Leadership is the ability to inspire and motivate others. Each one of us is required to exhibit leadership capabilities every day, in our

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professional and personal lives –

a mother inspiring her children to do their best in school; an HR Manager attempting to lift the morale of the company; a politician asking for our vote; a president of a corporation asking management to increase productivity. It doesn’t matter what the size of the organization is, understanding your personal leadership strengths can assist in accomplishing your goals.

In a study of Leadership, Emotional Intelligence and Personality Type, conducted in 2004 by Richmond, Rollin and Brown, the findings were:

  • The five most important leadership attributes were identified as Vision, Strategic Thinking, Relationship Building, Execution and People Development.
  • Emotional Intelligence attributes are essential to successful leadership, especially the relationship management attributes – Vision, Relationship Building and People Development.
  • Of the remaining attributes, all the Emotional Intelligence competencies are more important than all the general leadership attributes, such as External/Market Orientation, Financial Acumen, and Planning.

The Center for Creative Leadership in studying why managers derail on their way to becoming executives found four themes that emerged:

  1. Problems with interpersonal relationships
  2. Failure to meet business objectives
  3. Failure to build and lead a team
  4. Inability to change or adapt during a transition

In short, difficulties with – relationship management – attributes (vision, relationship building and people development) were identified as prime contributors to the failure of otherwise promising executive careers.

Personality Type and Leadership

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator identifies common differences among normal people.  The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent – based on differences in the way individuals prefer to perceive information and reach conclusions (Myers, et al, 1998).

Research shows that personality type explains some of the variation in leadership behavior and perceived effectiveness.  A brief summary includes:

  • Leaders come from all 16 personality types, however, nearly every study of leaders by type finds TJs over-represented relative to other types.
  • Research shows that leaders of different types focus on different aspects of their roles and also choose to handle the same activities differently.

Leadership studies usually indicate that most corporate leaders exhibit TJ preferences. For example, 58% of participants in Center for Creative Leadership programs prefer TJ (MBTI Manual, p. 327). TJ leaders are considered tough minded, executive, analytical leaders who communicate their confidence in the primacy of focusing on logical outcomes. TJs may be seen by others as too quick to judge and act, and tactless in their style of communication.   (MBTI Manual pps 52-53)

Implications of these studies for Leaders

Leaders can use the findings from the above studies to gain the following insights into what their executives, and peers may be expecting from them:

  • Assess and increase your effectiveness in building relationships, developing people, and thinking strategically.
  • To excel at the highly-ranked relationship management attributes, develop your Emotional Intelligence capabilities such as Self-Awareness, Empathy, and Adaptability.
  • Consider your effectiveness in providing vision and inspiration, executing work to plan, taking initiative, and fostering teamwork.
  • When seeking to influence others, be aware of differences in what each of you values in leaders.

Leadership Styles of the 16 Personality Types

Type: Motivates Others By:
ISTJ Providing precise, accurate and timely information
ISFJ Presenting factual information personally to influence people to understand the job that needs to be done
INTJ Describing end result desired, by connecting actions, intentions and desired outcomes
INFJ Building enduring relationships through cooperation and acting on values that promote well-being
ISTP Using tangible goals to get things moving
INTP Talking about theory and discussing outcomes
ISFP Encouraging others to take action in an easy-going manner
INFP Creating alternative solutions
ESTP Quickly acting to solve problems for others
ESFP Relating to people at a personal level to get them involved
ENTP Using their problem-solving skills
ENFP Engaging with others to share ideas, & brainstorming
ESTJ Using specific facts and a systematic method
ENTJ Systematic & logical action; ideas and global issues
ESFJ Practical, hands-on action, moving toward completion of a project
ENFJ Energizing with their assertive and personable nature

Knowing yourself well and understanding how others function is fundamental to building strong relationships and effective leadership. Leadership is about behavior and the psychology of leadership as theorized by psychological type allows individuals to recognize their demonstrated behaviors as expressions of their type and to apply type theory as a way to enhance leader development.

Clearly, based on the stated desired leadership qualities, it’s easy to understand the importance a thorough knowledge of personality type can provide. Type is about relationship management and people development. To understand and apply type theory is to be able to motivate and lead others – including ourselves.

 

Personality Type & The Coaching Process

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016
The PEOPLE Process Type Wheel

The PEOPLE Process Type Wheel

The application of personality type into the coaching process – both the person being coached and the type of other people in their life – is particularly valuable because you can identify and develop his or her strengths, assist them in recognizing blind spots and how to manage them and strategize a method for personal and career development.

Step 1: Assess the Client’s Type

Guide the person through Side 1 of the The PEOPLE Process Wheel, explaining each of the four dimensions of behavior, the two preferences within each behavior dimension, and have them choose their four letter type.

Step 2: Determine Strengths and Challenges
By yourself, review the person’s type from the standpoint of their strengths as it relates to their personality type. Think through the description of their preferences on side 1 of the Wheel and determine which qualities are assets and which present the greatest challenge.  Have the person answer the following questions:

  • As you read through the description of your personality type preferences, which ones seem like assets and which present the greatest challenges?
  • If someone wanted to have a positive relationship with you, what fundamental things about your type would they need to understand?
  • Which aspects of your psychological type are the most difficult for you to accept or change?
  • Which aspects of your type most often cause relationship problems between you and others?
  • How have your personality type preferences influenced your life and career?

Often conflicts between the person being coached and the people in their life comes from differences in preferences.  Lead the person through the descriptions of all of the preferences on Side 1 of the Wheel: E-I, S-N, T-F, and J-P.  Assist them in choosing the four-letter type of the person with which they are experiencing conflict from Side 1 of the Wheel.

Profile Sheets – 16 Personality Types

Have the person choose their Profile Sheet and the Profile Sheet of the person with whom they are experiencing conflict from the package. Compare the individual descriptions in each of the categories and answer the following three questions on Side 2 of the Profile Sheet:

In what areas are you similar to this person?
In what areas are you different from this person?
In what areas can you improve your relations with this person?

When going through this exercise, the person is then able to step back and realize that behaviors are most often the result of each other’s inborn, personality type.

Use the following questions to guide discussion around areas they might need to address:

  • What contributions do you bring to the relationship?
  • Which of your habits might be irritating to the other?
  • What do you find valuable about each other?
  • What does the other do that bothers you?
  • What do you hope to achieve in resolving this conflict?

Step 3: Evaluate Individual Needs
Assist the person being coached in evaluating their needs through discussion of a series of questions:

  • What are some of your behaviors that seem to get in the way of having effective relationships with others?
  • What talents do you have that are especially helpful to others?
  • How would your spouse, boss, colleagues, or close friends briefly describe you?
  • What do you care most about in your life? What concerns you most?
  • What do you feel proud of and what concerns you about the way people at work treat one another?
  • What inspires or motivates you?
  • What kind of appreciation/recognition do you prefer? From whom? Under what circumstances?
  • What kind of criticism do you prefer? From whom? Under what circumstances?
  • Which work tasks do you pass on to others, ignore, or never get around to doing?
  • Tell me about a recent change you’ve experienced. How did you react? How did you cope with it?
  • Describe how you handle change.
  • What are your thoughts about conflict? What do you do to resolve it? How effective have your efforts been? Why?
  • Are there any questions I have not asked that we should discuss?

Step 4: Assess Skills and Interests
Lead the person through a discussion of the following four questions:

  • Things I like and do well
  • Things I don’t like but do well
  • Things I like but find difficult to do
  • Things I don’t like and struggle to do

Focus your discussion on things the person likes and does well. Those things the person doesn’t like and struggles with doing, identify as areas for coaching. Assist the person in developing ways to handle those things they don’t like and struggle with.

Step 5: Develop Your Action Plan
The key to successful coaching is identification of objectives, steps that will be taken, timelines and the desired results. To achieve this:

  • Have the person identify someone they trust that can help them practice the coaching suggestions.
  • Develop specific action items and timelines. Establish accountability, such as how will the person know when they have reached a goal?
  • Encourage the person being coached to practice the behaviors in coaching sessions and then in real time.
  • Suggest the person keep a journal where they record behaviors practiced and the results – who, what, when, and where. Discuss the results of the experiences practiced in the next coaching session.
  • Share personal insights about your own type and your potential interactions with other types as it relates to strengths and differences. Encourage person being coached to give details about how the process is moving forward toward identified goals, needs and wants, and be clear about what is working.