Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

The Gift Of Listening – What Do The Best Listeners Do? What Do The Worst Listeners Do?

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

The best listeners give you their time.                                                                                                                                

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The best listeners send the message that you can take as long as you want to get your thoughts out.  They are listening, and will continue to listen until you are finished.

“My girlfriend, Paula, an INFP, is the best listener I know,” says Pam, INTJ.  “She lets me go through the whole shebang without interrupting!”

“The best listener I know is an INFJ who became my mentor,” says, Dee, ENTP.  “When she listens, she doesn’t intervene a lot while you are telling your story.  She lets you get your narrative well said.”

“My INFP daughter is the best listener I know,” says Catherine, ENTJ.  “She waits to hear the whole story, even though it’s often a complicated story with lots of layers.”

“My INFJ mother is one of the best listeners in my life,” says Dan, ESTP.  “She takes the time to actually hear what I’m saying.  I solve problems best by talking about them, and I usually have to talk a lot before I get to a final thought.  It helps me when people take the time to really listen to everything that I have to say.”

“My father was an INFP and he was an excellent listener,” says Anna, ISFP. It’s important that someone give me a chance to speak, and he would sit patiently and let me get through the whole idea.  With some people, when I stop to take a breath, they take off on their own story.”

The worst listeners don’t give you their time.

The worst listeners send the message that if you can’t get your thoughts out quickly, you’re not going to get them out.  They interrupt or cut you off.  You can sense their impatience and lack of interest.

“One member of an executive team, an ENTP, is one of the poorest listeners I know,” says Craig, ENFP.  He’ll just voice right over you, and doesn’t even wait for you to breathe.  I’m trying to make a point and he’s already not paying any attention to it.”

“The worst listener in my life is my ESTJ friend,” says Chip, ESFP.  “She wants closure so quickly that she’ll finish my sentence for me.  I’ll go “Wait a minute, that isn’t what I was saying!”

“The worst listener in my life is my ENFJ colleague,” says John, ENTP.  “She gets impatient with how long it takes me to finish my thoughts, and she just cuts me off and takes the conversation over.”

The best listeners give you their attention.

The best listeners send the message that nothing else in the room, or in their life, is as interesting to them as what you are saying.  They look you in the eyes when you’re talking; they appear alert, attentive and focused.

“One of the best listeners in my life is my friend, an ENFJ,” says Carolyn, INFP.  “When she listens, she pays attention to you.  She’s not distracted or marking time.”

“The best listener in my life is my INTJ husband, and he can be remarkably focused,” says Marthanne, ENFJ.  “When I’m telling him something that is very important to me, he’s right there; he’s not trying to do something else.”

“A friend of mine growing up was an ISTP,” says Craig, ENFP.  “He had a laser-like ability to listen. “When I was talking, he was there.  His mind wasn’t anywhere else.  He didn’t say affirming words, but his attention would affirm me.”

Two people who worked with Mary McCaulley, the co-founder of the Center for Applications of Psychological Type, said that she was the best listener they had ever known.  McCaulley, an INFP, passed away in 2003.

“When you talked to her, you felt like you were the only person on earth,” says Jamie, ISTJ.  “She wasn’t thinking about the next thing she had to do; her mind wasn’t elsewhere.”

“No matter who she was listening to, it could be a scientist who studied mangroves in the Florida Everglades, she looked like that was the most important topic in the world at the time,” says Anna, ISFP.  “When she listened, she was captivated.  She couldn’t wait to hear the next sentence from you and was truly interested in what you were saying.  With as much wisdom and knowledge as she had, she always looked like she might be learning something from you.”

The worst listeners don’t give you their attention.

While you are talking, the worst listeners send the message that they’re not really interested, and it’s a struggle for them to pay attention.  You can hear that they’d much rather talk than listen.

“One of the worst listeners I know is an old girlfriend, an INFJ,” says Paul, ESFJ.  “Whenever I would tell her something about what I was doing, I’d feel like it was really boring to her, and I’d end up not liking what I was talking about.  Once she was really excited about her music, so I said, “Have you heard of this band?” She said, “No,” and went on talking about the music she liked.  I was completely shot down.”

“One of the worst listeners in my life is my friend, Justy, and I think he’s an INTP,” says Dan, ESTP.  “When I get done talking, he doesn’t say anything, or he’ll say, “Yeah, OK, that’s interesting.”  It’s a flat response as opposed to a two-way conversation.  I get the impression that he would rather talk about something else.”

“Some of the people in our organization seem to have a hard time hearing me in meetings,” says Jamie, ISTJ.  “Their new ideas are flying so fast that the points I’m trying to make come out sounding irrelevant or they’re just not computed.  I don’t have a lot of grand ideas, but I do have input that might definitely matter if it could be heard.”

“I might tell my friend that I just got back from Las Vegas, and right away, she’ll tell me that when she went, she lost all her money and had a really horrible time,”says Patty, ESTJ.  “She doesn’t seem interested at all in hearing about my trip.”

“One of the worst listeners in my life is my ENFP friend,” says Janet, INFJ. “She just talks non-stop, and then, when she realizes that she’s talked too much, she asks me some questions about myself.  But I can hear that it’s an effort for her, and she’s not really interested in what I say.”

“The worst listener in my life is my Extraverted friend,” says Susan, ISFJ.  “She calls up and starts out by asking me how things are going in my life, but she quickly gets diverted to all her issues, and never asks me anything else about me.  She might talk for a half hour, but then, when I start to talk, she’ll suddenly have to get off the phone.”

 

Mistakes We Make When Teaching Type

Monday, July 24th, 2017

This article is not just for professional trainers of type.

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Sure, there are lots of complaints that professionals are making mistakes,  that they’re making statements about the theory that aren’t true, making statements about the types that put people on the defensive, not telling people enough to answer their questions or excite them about the power of the theory, or telling them so much they get lost in all the lingo and complications of it. But this article is not just for professional trainers of type. It’s for everyone who has more than a passing interest in type, and that includes you and me. Why? Because all learners of type naturally become teachers of type.

You will want to know the types of the people in your life. They are the ones who will make the words come alive for you. I had read that SJs were organized, practical, and persistent. But those were just words to me until an SJ came to our business and improvements that had been talked about for years finally began to happen because he kept gently pushing and pushing them to completion.

I had read that NTs were global and critical, but those were just words to me until I had an NT edit my writing. He suggested many, many changes, but rather than hating it, I was delighted. Listening to him opened up my viewpoint miles wider, amd made my ideas much clearer.

I had read that SPs were physical and playful, but those were just words to me until my SP friend and I had spent many afternoons with our children, wandering along rivers and through woods, and I’d come home filled with light and air and the joy of having a body and living in the natural world.

I had read that NFs see the best in people and want to bring that out, but those were just words to me until one afternoon when I was confiding to an NF friend that I was worried about my son’s recent behavior. Somehow, by her questions and reminding me of things, the afternoon ended with me excited again about the great potential lying in that little boy.

The gifts of SJs, NTs, SPs, and NFs are no longer just words for me, they are sights and sounds and feelings. I have real examples of them in my life.

A second reason to know the types of the people in your life is so you can solve some of the problems you might be having with them. For example, I used to listen to my ISFJ sister complain about her life, and naturally, because I’m Intuitive, I’d suggest all kinds of ways that she could make a new life for herself. But my suggestions involved radical changes in her situation, things she had no stomach for, so she always ended up having to come up with a million reasons why she couldn’t follow my advice. But ever since I’ve known her type, I’ve stopped doing that. Now I listen to her problems, and praise her for her loyalty and ability to endure difficult situations. Then she herself is able to think of small changes she could make to improve things.

I never would have had the opportunity to understand type in its living context, or to have it make such improvements in my relationships if I hadn’t taken the time and trouble to find out what type my family, friends, and colleagues were. I could not persuade all of them to go out and take workshops given by professionals, and with the majority of them, I could not guess their type without their input. If I wanted to know their types, I had to go through all the steps of training them in it myself, and doing it in an informal setting.

But I taught the people in my world about type without any preparation, guidelines, or instruction on how to teach type. I had learned a lot about type, but nothing about how to teach it. And I think I made a lot of mistakes. I wish I had learned some basic guidelines for giving introductions to type, so I could have avoided some of the errors in the trial and error period.

Then recently, I heard a speech by Jean Kummerow, an ESTJ psychologist, management consultant, MBTI trainer, and co-author of the book Lifetypes (1989 Warner). In that speech I felt I had found the basics. It seems to me that if you follow Kummerow’s guidelines, you’ll give people the maximum opportunity to find themselves in their type at their first introduction to it, get excited about the information, and put it to good use in their lives.

A Checklist For Introducing Type

Let people do a Self-assessment before getting their results from the MBTI.

Describe the preferences in an accurate, positive and unbiased way, and remember to use qualifiers like most and many.

Give examples from the literature, your own life, and the world of the trainee.

Don’t read too much into MBTI scores.

Make your goal simple: to teach the person the meaning of the eight preferences, and help them choose their type.

Provide follow-up reinforcement somehow, and give adequate handouts.

(The TYPE Reporter, Excerpt from Issue No. 38, written by Susan Scanlon.)

(Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a trademark or registered trademark of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries.)

The Surprising Results Of Servant Leadership

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

Guest Post by: Lee Ellis – As originally seen at:  www.linked2leadership.com                                                                                                          

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As a POW in Vietnam, I was typically the junior ranking and youngest person in my cell block.                                              

This meant that I was always a follower and never a formal leader.  I used to think that this meant that I didn’t have influence.

But in retrospect, I see that I did have influence. And one way it came was through being a joyful doer

Gettin’ Busy

The truth is that I felt better when I was involved in the action so I stepped forward to do whatever needed to be done – clean the dirty latrine, sweep the floor, or deliver a very important message under dangerous circumstances. The lesson I learned was that serving and doing all the little things that others might avoid brings respect and ultimately influence.

And, this type of servant leadership made an impact after I returned to continue my full-time military career.

Even though I was behind my peers after being away, this leadership tactic was a primary factor in making up lost time and being promoted to a senior officer.

‘The lesson I learned was that serving and doing all the little things that others might avoid brings respect and ultimately influence.’

Young and Hungry to Serve

I had not thought about this lately until last week while interacting with a group of college students (Air Force ROTC cadets) in San Antonio at the Air Education and Training Command’s 2012 Symposium. The Air Force Association (AFA), cohost for this event, had invited a number of Air Force ROTC Cadets – all college students to assist with security and logistics at the Exposition in the convention center.

Since I was operating out of the AFA booth, my host volunteered these impressive young folks to help in any way I needed.

They were all bright and impressive young folks and it was soon obvious why they were chosen to attend this high-level event as guests of AFA and the Air Force!  The senior-ranking cadet took charge and managed the most important job of door security, insuring a regular rotation of sentries from 6:30 AM until 7:00 PM.  Other cadets helped me with the book signing by carting in books, stuffing bookmarks, collecting money, and scanning credit cards.

Rising to the Top

Watching them and listening to them carefully for a day and a half, I realized that even in this elite group, some stood out above their peers due to their willingness to get involved and commit totally to the task at hand.

All the students were sharp and helpful, but the ones that I’ll remember best are those who stepped forward first and then remained eagerly engaged until the job was done.

They won my heart and gained my highest respect – and that is powerful influence.

I appreciate the opportunity to be reminded of this lesson – that joyfully serving others is a powerful way to gain influence – even when you are young and have no position or formal power. It’s also a reminder that we are never too old or too important to learn lessons about influence. After all, influence is what leadership is all about.

Regardless of your age or level of influence, how does this story impact your day-to-day work? With pure motives, what acts of service can you do today that will make far-reaching impact in the future? The only way to find out is to just do it!  And if you have a servant leadership story, share it in the comments section below. I would love to hear your story!

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Be sure and read Lee’s book:  Leading with Honor: – Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi

Leading With Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton

Lee Ellis is founder and president of Leadership Freedom LLC and FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant, keynote speaker, and author in the areas of teambuilding, executive development, and assessments.

Our Favorite Type Breakthroughs

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

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The TYPE Reporter, Excerpt from No. 102, Part 4, by Susan Scanlon.

Naomi Quenk, INFP 

(Naomi Quenk was introduced to the MBTI 47 years ago and has been working with it ever since. She has been active in setting policy for its ethical use, researching, teaching and writing on many aspects of type, and used the MBTI in her clinical practice for over 25 years. She served as President of the Association for Psychological Type from 1985-1987. She is the author or co-author of numerous publications on type, including the 1998 revision of The MBTI Manual, and several books, including, Was That Really Me?: How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality; In the Grip: Understanding Type, Stress, and the Inferior Function (2nd ed.); and Essentials of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment.(www.capt.org.)

Once, an ESTJ woman and I got into a conversation about our favorite ages for our children. She said, “My favorite age for my children was when they were infants.” I said, “Mine too.” She said, “I like infants because you can totally control them.” I said, “I like infants because you don’t have to control them.”

As a result of that experience, I never assume I know someone’s type because of some behavior.  I realized that people can have identical behaviors for completely different reasons.

When I was a clinician in private practice,  I got a message on my answering machine from a man saying he would like to see me for the first time, and he would like an appointment at 11 o’clock next Thursday.  At first I took offense at his assumption that he could tell me when his appointment would be.  Then I thought, well, wait a minute, the chances are this guy is some kind of TJ who has spent quite a long time deciding if he would go into psychotherapy, and once he made his decision, he was anxious to get on with it.  That turned out to be the case, and I’m glad I had a chance to reflect because it prevented me from approaching this guy with a bias.

I sometimes hear people automatically assume that Js are doing things just to control people.  It irritates me, because that is rarely their purpose.  Js are just trying to do what they’re best at, which is to get the world organized and to get on with it.  Actually, when it comes to controlling people, I’ve seen some Ps do that really well.

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Because our children grew up with type, they totally rejected it.  They used to get irritated with us and say, “Can’t you watch a TV program without typing everyone?!”  My daughter would have nothing to do with type and wouldn’t take the Indicator, but when she was about 14, I caught her in a weak moment and said, “Would you at least read the type description that I think you might be?”

She read the profile of the INFP and got this sheepish expression on her face. “Well, yes,“ she said, “but wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone were an INFP?”

“Oh my Goodness,” I thought. “I’ve spent my life teaching people to respect differences and this is what my own daughter thinks.”

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In my experience, INFPs can sometimes be quite resistant to type.  They seem to be defending their individuality, and saying, “Nobody’s going to tell me that I can only be one of 16 types.”

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I counseled one couple where the husband was an ESTJ and the wife was an ENTP. One of his big complaints was that he’d come home from work and see a pile of clean laundry on the couch. The next day, however, it would still be there. It stuck in his craw, and he wondered how it was possible for his wife not to notice it.

I said to him, “You notice the laundry and it’s hard to go about what you’re doing with it there.” “That’s right, he said, and he seemed relieved that I could see it from his point of view. Then I said, “But she really doesn’t notice it. She’s busy with the kids, and she’s not looking at the details. It’s just not important to her to have things in their place like it is for you.”

At the next session he told me, “If it’s a fact that having the laundry put away is important to me and not to her, I will do it from now on.” Once it became a fact, he could fit it into his system, and deal with other things that were important to her and not to him.

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When my daughter was getting her library degree, she did a research project on the MBTI and children’s reading preferences. Teachers and librarians assume that children read fiction for fun, and non-fiction because they have to for a school project. But she discovered that little Ss read non-fiction because they love it.

One mother came in dragging her son and asked, “What have you got for an 8-year old who hates to read?” My daughter asked the boy what he was interested in. He said, “Airplanes.”  My daughter gave him a half dozen books on how airplanes work, the people who fly them, and their history. A week later, the mother came back and said,  “I don’t know what you did to him, but he read all those books and he wants more!”

Sensing children often get labeled “reluctant readers” because they are not reading what teachers give them to read.  It’s just that they often don’t want to read about imaginary people.  They want to read facts about the things that they are interested in and the adventures of real people.

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My daughter also learned from some of the mothers she interviewed that Introverted children often come to story time and just sit there and don’t participate in anything.  Their mothers reported however, that as soon as they got home, the kids would take their teddy bears or their younger brothers and sisters, and tell them the story.  They just needed to get out of the group setting to “participate.”

(Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a trademark or registered trademark of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries.)

 

A Great Destroyer Of Teamwork – The Fundamental Attribution Error

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

We human beings have a tendency to falsely attribute the negative behaviors of others to their

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character,  while attributing our own negative behaviors to environmental factors.

In other words, if I see a woman being impatient with her children at the grocery store and giving

them a swat,    I think, “that is a mean woman.” While, when my own kids are driving me crazy and arguing with me  and I give them a swat, I think, “I’ve got some really unruly children.” 

We tend to like to believe that we do bad things because of the situations we are in, but somehow we assume that others do bad things because they are predisposed to being bad.

In the same way, we often attribute other people’s success to their environment and our own success to our character. That’s because we like to believe that we are inherently good and talented, while others are merely lucky, beneficiaries of good fortune.

This fundamental attribution error often creates misunderstanding and distrust among team members.  By getting to know one another better and understanding our personality tendencies, team members can often avoid this problem.

Personality-type training can eliminate the “Fundamental Attribution Error.”

 

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) & Personality Type

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

The Characteristics of Emotional Intelligence                                                                                              

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. Self awareness

. Emotional management – being aware of your emotions and

how you play those out

. Motivation – being able to defer gratification

. Interpersonal sensitivity –  empathy with other people

. Ability to influence others

. Intuitiveness – the ability to make a decision when you don’t

have all the data by drawing on deep experience

. Consciousness – that is linked to integrity

“Emotional intelligence (EQ) is really a combination of a few things,” says Professor Malcolm J. Higgs.  “What makes you do what you do what you do?  What are the consequences?  What happens to your behaviors? If you are angry you can’t change being angry but you can understand that you become irrational or deal badly with others when you are angry. It’s understanding all that, and based on that understanding, having the ability to be able to do something about it,” he explains.“Part of it is, for want of a better word, self-awareness: Let me be self-aware, let me know how my emotions impact on my behaviors. Secondly, let me try and manage that and use that knowledge to become more effective and the third piece is to understand how other people react to situations and why they may be behaving the way they do and then try to adapt my behavior to try and take that into account,” he says.

Successful leaders tend to be equipped with strong social skills and, in fact, a wide body of research shows that leaders have high levels of EQ, but not all entrepreneurs do. People won’t develop EQ unless they want to or are motivated to do so. It’s not a matter of having or not having EQ – you just need to want to improve. EQ training is about understanding people, and getting them on your side through influence and persuasion.

Emotional intelligence is a term used to describe a complex ability to regulate your impulses, empathize with others, and persist and be resilient in the face of obstacles. Developing your emotional intelligence will help you enhance your leadership abilities, enrich your relationships, extend your influence, and expand the personal resources you can call on to manage life’s mental demands.

An in-depth study and thorough understanding of psychological type can aid in the development of your emotional intelligence. Psychological type, as developed by Dr. Carl Jung, explores people’s preferences for four mental processes – Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling – and their tendency to focus more on the outer (Extraverted) or inner (Introverted) world. These mental processes and orientations work in a dynamic way to influence what people see and evaluate in life, and this dynamic affects all their choices and actions.

When you learn to appropriately access the eight mental processes that make up the model of psychological type, you achieve a level of understanding that offers a practical way to expand your emotional intelligence by enabling you to become more conscious of choices you can make to be effective. The mental processes of Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling differ markedly when Extraverted and Introverted. These differences result in the eight mental functions we use to take in information and decide how to respond to that information. Our preferences among these eight mental functions are what produce our type. The four letter code gives us direction about our preferences.

These eight areas of awareness represent the eight mental functions of psychological type. Getting in touch with your use of these eight aspects of your mental operations is a major step toward greater self-awareness and interpersonal awareness, which enriches your emotional intelligence. We each use all these processes in Extraverted and Introverted forms, but we tend to rely most heavily on our dominant and auxiliary, or our most preferred, functions.

Using some of the functions comes more naturally to you, but part of developing your type involves being able to access each of these functions in the appropriate situation. Doing so enables you to increase the range of behaviors available, representing a significant step toward greater personal efficacy and emotional intelligence.

These eight functions make up the engine of your personality. They provide the source of analysis, reaction, adjustment, and stability in your character on which you can depend. The most complete depiction of these eight functions is in the dynamic relationship that exists each moment in the exchange of energy between you and those around you.

Personality, emotional intelligence, and performance are interdependent factors in your daily experience. When you have an expanded emotional intelligence and a balanced personality, you have a healthier lifestyle, stronger relationships, and overall greater satisfaction and performance in your chosen work. Studies conclude that strong emotional intelligence among leaders aids employee retention, productivity, and performance. Those leaders who consistently exhibit sensitivity to the range of needs and individual differences in their organizations get the best performance results.

                                                                

The Gift Of Listening

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

Once, I made two lists.  On the first list, I put the names of the people in my life that I had largely positive feelings about.  On the second, I put the names of the people that I had reservations about, the relationships that I might label problematic.  We called each other friends, but after I’d been with them, I didn’t feel enriched.

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When I looked at the difference between the two lists, one thing stood out.  The people on the first list were good

listeners, and the people on the second were not. The people on the first list always made me feel like a connection had been made between us, but the people on the second made me feel like a connection had been faked.  The people on the first list made me feel like I was accompanied on this journey of life, the people on the second made me feel like I was alone.

That’s when I realized how important it is to be a good listener to other people.  It’s not just a nice thing to do, or good manners.  Good listening has an existential importance.  It’s the only thing that helps us relieve the loneliness of the human condition.

For something that is so important, it’s amazing how little it’s talked about. It’s rarely taught in our families, schools, workplaces or churches.  There isn’t even a cultural cliche about good listening, like:   A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Most people who have become good listeners learned it in some kind of self-help or psychological setting, and they were usually surprised to learn its importance.  It hasn’t spread to the overall culture.

It’s not even a skill of certain personality types.  Some people may appear to be good listeners because their type makes them less talkative or less opinionated or more sensitive to others, but they will admit that if you listen in on their thoughts, they are often not fully tuned into the other person.  To be genuinely paying attention to another person is a learned skill, and one that takes constant practice.  It’s not something we’re born with.

This is the first in a series.  In the following blog updates, we asked people of all the types,  Who are the best and worst listeners in your life, and why? From that we gleaned some good, practical dos and don’ts on listening.  In the next blog update, we’re going to look at how our type influences our listening.

You’ll probably find a lot of the people you know in these pages, including the person you thought you knew the best, yourself. However, if you decide to begin asking yourself the question:  Am I really listening?  you’ll find that you didn’t really know yourself, or anyone else, before that.

(By Susan Scanlon, The TYPE Reporter, Issue Number 97)

 

Relationship Advice For Extraverts & Introverts

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Several months ago, I spent eight days with a charming Extravert.

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As an Introvert myself having spent the past 25 years researching, teaching, and writing about personality type, I was very surprised at the feelings and reactions that came up for me during these eight days.  It reminded me of how important it is to understand the Energy behavior dimension of personality type.

Don’t get me wrong. I have tremendous respect and admiration for Extraverts.  They have that wonderful ability to be at ease in all situations that involve interaction with other people.  They can walk up to anyone with total ease and introduce themselves and not experience that gut wrenching feeling that perhaps they’re annoying or interrupting someone. Extraverts seem to exhibit a love for all mankind.  We Introverts feel that same love for all mankind, it’s just that we don’t show it.  It’s all inside.

By the end of this eight-day period I was exhausted from being “on” all of the time!  The mistake I made was not taking time out for myself during the day to “recharge” my batteries.  It took me several weeks to recover.  Adding to the intensity of the situation was the fact that I was just getting to know this individual which, of course, added to the energy drain.

I’m thankful for this experience, however, because it reminded me of how important it is, in fact vital, to understand the difference between Extraverts and Introverts and give ourselves permission to “take care” of our energy.

Without this understanding you could think something is the matter with each other when, in fact, it is completely because of the differences in how you “gather your energy.”

This knowledge is vital for couples to understand!  Many people marry without ever knowing about one another’s personality type and then are surprised when they have conflicts.  Most of the conflicts can be solved by applying a knowledge and understanding of one another’s type.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.