Posts Tagged ‘management’

What Do The Best Listeners Do? What Do The Worst Listeners Do?

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

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.

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“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.”

 

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)

 

How Do You Take Action? – Judging or Perceiving?

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

 

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The fourth and final dimension of behavior in psychological type theory is how we prefer to take action.  Judging types      represent approximately 60% and Perceiving types about 40% of the U.S. population.

Judging and Perceiving represent the two very different ways that people like to organize their world and live their lives.  In this context, the term Judging does not mean a person that is judgmental and the term Perceiving does not mean a person that is perceptive.  These are the terms assigned to this dimension of behavior.

Perceiving refers to one’s innate drive to keep things open, to keep gathering information and Judging refers to a desire to come to conclusion and make a decision. People with a Judging preference feel tension until an issue is decided and people with a Perceiving preference feel tension if pushed to make a decision too quickly.  The more important the decision is, the stronger     the need to resolve the issue quickly for a person with Judging preference.

Judging and Perceiving have a lot to do with the way we like to run our everyday lives and the greatest potential for conflict exists between couples with this dimension. This is the only dimension that is different between me and my husband. Roy, INTP, and Me, INTJ.  We experienced a lot of confusion, tension and conflict around this fourth dimension of taking action. We had been married just a few years when we were re-introduced to psychological type and were immediately riveted by the explanation in type theory of why we were experiencing this tension. We could be discussing something and I’d head for the phone to take action. This completely unnerved him because of his need to investigate further, look for more information and check things out.

Another part of the differences in this dimension is Judging people want their living area organized and feel distracted living amid clutter, while Perceiving people tend to have a more casual attitude and often leave projects unfinished. My INTP partner liked to file papers in stacks on the office floor and I preferred to file paperwork feeling everything should be put in its place. Once we found out about our preference for Judging and Perceiving in this Action dimension, we understood what was causing the tension and were able to “stretch ourselves” so that we could include each other’s “comfort zone” in our expectations.

Judgers are planners and like to be prepared. They expect a set plan to be followed and often have difficulty shifting gears when the plan unexpectedly changes. By contrast, Perceivers are hesitant to commit themselves for fear that if they do, they may miss some great opportunity that will come along later. Perceivers act spontaneously and are flexible in adjusting to changes.

In the area of handling responsibilities, Judging people like to complete projects ahead of a deadline and it’s very hard for Judgers to relax and enjoy themselves when they haven’t finished something. Perceivers are just the opposite, preferring to relax and take advantage of some unexpected opportunity because there’s always more time.

Because Judgers have such a need for closure, they tend to make a lot of declarative statements and state their strong opinions freely. Perceivers ask a lot of questions and are more inquisitive. This can be a source of irritation between couples and business associates. Perceivers often feel that Judgers shut down discussions too quickly, and oversimplify. Judgers sometimes find the endless questions from Perceivers to be redundant and annoying.

Judgers are more comfortable with the notion of rules and place high importance on following them, while Perceivers view rules as unwanted restrictions on their freedom and their ability to be spontaneous. Judgers are more comfortable with authority while Perceivers are more naturally inclined to rebel against or question authority.

When you factor in knowledge of personality type into how you take action, it becomes clear that all of us need each other for the wealth of valuable contributions we offer in our business endeavors, family relationships and friendships. In fact, our differences just make us that much more valuable for the point of view and experience we are able to provide one another.

There are four behavior dimensions in personality type: how our Energy is focused, how we gather Information, how we make Decisions, and how we take ActionAction is the fourth dimension and all four are equally important. Having knowledge and understanding of our preferences in each of the four dimensions and of our associates and loved ones can profoundly affect the quality of our life and relationships.

 

 

What’s It Like To Be A Feeling Man?

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

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You feel most “different” in times of conflict.      

Men got into their roles because of their bodies. In primitive times, if you had superior size and strength and weren’t tending the children, it was natural that you went out and hunted animals for food and fought off the enemy. In other words, you did the fighting and the killing.

Today, men are still expected to hunt, although now it’s more for money and power.  And they’re still expected to fight and kill, even if it’s just the competition!

But when it comes to hurting people or taking money and power from them, F men don’t feel cut out for the job. All of the F men interviewed for this issue said it’s their unwillingness to hurt people that separate them most from other males. They first noticed it when they were boys, when they were called upon to be physically aggressive.

“I found playground fights to be very distasteful” says David, INFJ, “and it was traumatic when I got into a fight.” “I avoided fights,” says David, ESFP, “I just wouldn’t rise to the bait and I’d walk away. It didn’t bother me to be called ‘chicken’.”

Did the Feeling boys try to stop the fights they saw? Not usually. Fs in situations of conflict tend to freeze up. They are often so shocked by what is happening that they can’t react. Also, they don’t want to do anything to get the conflict directed toward them. When F boys were able to stop their friends from hurting people, it was because they were able to give them a good reason not to do so. But Feeling boys do get into fights. Usually it’s because their feelings have been badly hurt, or they’ve seen someone else being hurt. In other words, their fighting is more defensive than offensive.

F boys become F men but they never lose their distaste for conflict.  At the same time, they never lose their desire to defend the underdog, so they find themselves in conflict much more than they’d like. It’s their lifelong quest to find ways to successfully ‘fight’ for what they believe in, when they don’t believe in fighting.

You learn to hide your feelings around boys.
F men said they got into trouble for expressing their feelings around boys, and being Fs, they wanted to be accepted, so they chose, at very young ages, to hide those feelings. “In friendships with boys, I often did not express my feelings,” says Dan, ENFP. “I got along because I knew how to get along.”

Acceptance is important to Fs, and sometimes that means doing what others are doing when your heart is not really in it. “I kept it a secret that I was sensitive,” says Christopher, ISFJ.

Although F boys may not be admired by other boys for their Feeling talk, they can be admired by boys for their Feeling ways. “I was a leader among the boys because my F extended to them,” says Roger, ISFJ. “I was accommodating, agreeable, and easy to get along with.”

But you learn you can take your feelings to girls and women.
Feeling boys learn they can’t talk like an F in the company of most other boys, but they also learn that they can open up with most females. It begins with their mothers. “I was always close to my mother. We related well and could talk about things,” says Tom, ENFJ.

F boys soon realize that when they’re in the company of girls or women, the conversation often sounds interesting and pleasant to them. However, being around girls and women is accepted only in small doses when you’re a young boy. “I had no problem with girls, I understood them,” says Bob, ESFJ. “But I knew that boys weren’t supposed to have girls as friends, so I didn’t hang around them too much.”

Later on, in adolescence, Feeling boys become more conscious of their Feeling side, and really want to share it with someone. And once they’re teenagers, it’s OK to be around girls. And, it seems that from adolescence on, Feeling men have more female friends than male friends.

One of the pleasant surprises in life for Feeling men is that, because it’s unusual for a man to care about feelings, to be romantic, tender-hearted and thoughtful, it carries more weight than it does for Feeling women.

Your F can make you a great family man.
Fs derive the bulk of their self-esteem from their relationships, and their most important relationships are usually with their families. So as much as they may love their careers, they’ll still need more time with their families than most Ts do.

“I wouldn’t consider taking a job that didn’t allow me to be with my family,” says Tom, ENFJ. “They need my presence more than wealth.” “My home and my family are central to me, much more than my work,” says David, ESFP. I’m motivated to work only to provide for my family.”

And even when they’re on the job, F men can make their work atmosphere feel like a family. “I lead by getting to know my soldiers inside and out,” says John, ESFJ.

But your F can get in the way of being a good provider.
F men lack the “killer instinct” and they find out that it’s hard to make a lot of money without it. If they work in professions dominated by Fs, they’re usually underpaid because Fs, unless they are well disciplined, are not motivated to put high financial value on their work, to strategize ways to best the competition, to put the needs of the business over the needs of the people, or to make decisions based on objective data, like the bottom line.

“Usually, when people go to negotiate agreements, they think, “What’s the least I can concede?” says Tom, INFP. “I’m thinking, “What’s the most generous I can be?” If they go into a T environment, they may be able to get by, but it’s unlikely they’ll earn high-income positions. Like all Fs, they struggle to find careers that are in line with their values, and that usually means less and less money.

Tom probably speaks for most F men when he sums up his attitude about money and power, and his ability as a provider: “It’s not easy to make money when the kinds of things you want to spend time on are not rewarded financially. I think I’ll always be able to provide the basics for my family. I know what I need to do to be comfortable, but I don’t think I’ll ever be in a position of power because people in power have to make choices which I wouldn’t make.”

So no matter what career you choose, you learn that you need some T skills.
“I work in the federal government – a very T environment,” says Dexter, INFJ, “so I’ve had to build up my T muscle. I’ve learned that Ts take your words more seriously. They analyze what you say, word by word, and dissect it to an accurate state, so I’ve had to be careful about my imprecise and insufficiently analytical speech. I’ve learned that I can’t work on something till it feels right to me, and then take it into my boss. He’s just not interested in what I feel; he can’t even get started on it. I have to have collected the facts to support it. I check around a lot, and call different offices. I analyze things through, ask myself what I’m missing, anticipate other people’s criticisms, and get all the possible objections.”

“I’ve noticed that on matters of judging and disciplining people, which we have to do in the military, the Ts try to make rules where everyone is treated the same,” says John, ESFJ. “The Fs, on the other hand, don’t think that any two cases are exactly alike, and look at all the extenuating circumstances in the person’s life. I’ve learned that you have to find a happy medium between the two. I’ve developed a sixth sense about what decision I can make, and still function in both worlds.”

Besides developing T skills to survive in a T-dominated world, some men are finding that it’s also useful to make Ts aware that Feeling input is essential to successful decision-making.

“I used to go into my managers and explain a solution to a problem and they’d say, “Where are your facts?” says Bill, INFP. “I’d say, “I don’t need facts, trust me, I know I’m right.” Well, they never did, of course. Last year we were all given training in the MBTI and since then they’ve begun coming to me and asking me for advice. I’ve become the link between management and employees. I’ve gone from being a “bad fit” to a real asset to the company.”

The TYPE Reporter, Vol. 4, No. 6 & 7 written by Susan Scanlon
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What’s It Like To Be A Thinking Woman?

Monday, March 20th, 2017

The PEOPLE Process Type Wheel

What’s it like when the world expects you to be one way, and you’re just the opposite?

What’s it like to often surprise people, or shock them? What’s it like to be a Thinking woman?

Growing up, you identify with boys and men.
Do you know a little girl who pals around with a gang of boys? She’s probably a T. Many T women said that when they were young, they played with the boys. “I was considered one of the guys,” says Julie, ESTJ. And the guys were the ones I did heavy-duty sharing with, not as feelings, but more as “What do you think about such and such?”

Even if they didn’t play with boys, Thinking girls usually enjoyed imagining themselves in the positions of men. “Even when I played with the girls, I gave myself the role of the father or the doctor,” says Madeline, INTP. And because they identified so strongly with the masculine role, their fathers were especially important figures in their lives. “It was pretty clear that the people who were out there using their T were men,” says Jean, INTP. “I valued my father’s role much more than my mothers.”

You don’t identify with girls and women.
“I never got along with my sister, who was sweet, lovable, and innocent – mama’s pet,” says Julie, ESTJ. “I teased the hell out of her and we fought all the time.”

Thinking girls, like Thinking boys, prefer competitive play and learning about how things work. But Thinking girls, unlike Thinking boys, often find themselves in the company of Feeling girls, where the talk and the play is non-competitive and concerned with how people work. And they don’t like it.

“I didn’t like “girl talk” about movie stars and periods,” says Jan, ISTP. “And even “women’s talk” struck me as strange. I’d listen to my mother and aunts talk about how they dealt with problems with their husbands and families and I’d think, “That’s so dumb, why would you do it that way?”

“I thought the girls were kind of flitty,” says Julie, ESTJ. “When people tell me things, I take it as a truth, but things were always changing with them, and I’d realize that they were talking about one of their feelings rather than a fact.”

You get criticized for being tactless and hard-hearted.
“Thinking is wonderful for work and study, for power and achievement,” says Madeline, INTP. “But for any kind of affiliation, it’s not always helpful. I frequently got into trouble for putting truth over tact.”

“I gave riding lessons when I was young,” says Jan, ISTP. “Once, one of the girls in my class asked me for help getting her stirrup fixed, and I told her to do it herself because I really wanted her to learn. “Don’t you think you were kind of hard on her?” a friend said to me later. Now my son is taking violin lessons from an ISTP woman. I’m real satisfied with her, but I had to laugh when one of the other mothers said she dropped her because “she was just mean!”

When a boy is tactless, parents can comfort themselves with “Well, what do you expect from a boy?” When a girl is tactless, there is no such comfort. Thinking girls are likely to feel the full brunt of their parents’ embarrassment at their remarks, or their parents’ hurt if the criticism is directed at them. Fortunately, most T girls have pretty strong defenses against people’s opinions of them.

Thinking girls tend to concern themselves about people’s feelings in their adulthood, when they can see a good reason to do so.

You don’t date much in adolescence.
Thinking girls may not be popular with the opposite sex in the early dating years. The boys are unsure of themselves at that time and look for girls who will make them feel manly. Thinking girls, even when they are very good-looking and interested in dating, give boys the impression that they are going to be judged on their abilities and intelligence. Thinking girls usually have to wait until boys have more confidence in themselves to get asked out.

“I tended to intimidate the boys in high school,” says Janice, ESTP. “Some of them told me later that they had been afraid to ask me out because I seemed aloof, like I thought I was too good for them.”

If they wanted to date in high school, Thinking girls usually hid their Thinking side. “I never talked about anything intellectual when I was dating,” says Kim, ENTJ. “I let the boys talk about themselves. I just needed to be loved and I liked the feeling of someone holding me.”

You can feel right at home with a T husband.
Marrying a Thinking man can be very liberating for a Thinking woman. In her own home, at least, she doesn’t have to feel like an oddball. But it can be good for her spouse, as well. Ruth Sherman did a study of 167 couples in 1981 and found that Thinking men living with Thinking women reported fewer problems in their marriages, and Feeling women living with Feeling men reported fewer problems.

“In my senior year, I met someone I really liked and I’ve been with him ever since,” says Julie, ESTJ. “He was an ISTJ, and he allowed me to be me. He liked my thought patterns and I heard him when he talked.”

“There are only certain men that can get along with me,” says Kim, ENTJ. “My husband (also a T) is one of them. He’s never intimidated by me and we have some terrific sparring on an intellectual level. Sometimes the two of us come home and think “Are we the only people in the world who are sane?”

But even with a Thinking man, there is still the possibility that the T woman may become so engaged in a career that her husband feels that he is secondary, and although women are prepared to feel that way in a marriage, men are not.

But you can learn a lot from an F husband.
Thinking women and Feeling men have the same conflicts as Ts and Fs everywhere. “I’m married to an INFJ,” says Karen, ENTP, “and we have problems helping each other when we’re down. When I’m down, he tries to tell me nice things to make me feel better about myself, like “You’re sweet.” I don’t want to hear that. I want him to ask me questions and listen to me until I can figure out how to solve the problem. Then, when he’s down, I try to address his problems when all he really wants is warm assurance that he’s a valuable person.”

Besides the usual problems between Ts and Fs, Thinking women married to Feeling men may have a few more because of the confusion of their roles in the family. No matter how informed we may be about people and their differences, we all still have ideas of what our spouses “should” do for us.

“I get very resentful when he won’t be assertive,” says Karen, ENTP. “There are times when we reverse roles,” says Sue, ISTJ. “For example, when we moved, my husband panicked and wanted to call an electrician in to hang the light fixtures. But I got out the ladder and the tools and put them all on with dimmers. I know our role reversals would bother me more if I didn’t know type.”

There are many times when Thinking women married to Feeling men think they are both better off because of the way they balance each other. “I’m very career oriented,” says Dawn, INTJ, “and I think that if I were married to a T we’d be like two ships passing in the night. But my ESFP husband keeps calling me back to our relationship. For my psychological health, I know I need relatedness, so I welcome his demands.”

You tend to compare yourself to Fs in motherhood.
Thinking women have an edge in motherhood about half the time, because about half the time children need an adult who can detach themselves from the emotions of the moment and look at things objectively.

“I really like the kind of mother I am,” says Jan, ISTP. “I talk to the children in a respectful way. I’m fair, honest, and consistent about enforcing the rules. I can help them analyze their problems and see the consequences of what they do. If I went down a list of what makes a good parent, I could check most of them.”

“Listening has always been my strong point as a mother,” says Lucille, ENTP. “I made a point to drop what I was doing and listen when my children needed to talk. I was good at helping them analyze their problems, and view them in a more positive light. And when they would get angry at me, I wouldn’t get angry back. I could stay calm and give them an opportunity to explain why they were upset.”

Even though Thinking and Feeling women have the same amount of natural talents for motherhood, nowhere is the temptation to compare yourself to Feeling women stronger than in the role of mother. Probably the biggest problem for Thinking mothers who work outside the home is the temptation to give so much to their careers that there isn’t enough left for their personal life. Finding a balance between work and family is especially tricky for them.

You find the greatest satisfaction in the work world.
In her work, the Thinking woman can point to actual products that she has created, to objective evidence of her skills. She can attach a dollar amount to her value. In fact, in an article published in volume 13 of The Journal of Psychological Type, on type and gender, Jean Stokes points out that without such healthy outlets for Thinking, it can become “nagging, nit-picking, critical in extreme.”

“It wasn’t until my children were grown and I entered the business world that I really discovered my strength,” says Lucille, ENTP. “I could finally let go and be analytical and objective and not always have to be thinking “Will this offend someone?”

“There’s no question in my mind that it’s more difficult to be a woman, even a Thinking woman, in the work world,: says Madeline, INTP. “There’s an assumption that a woman is emotional, unreliable, fuzzy-thinking.”

And in maturity, you realize you didn’t get such a bad deal.
In maturity, we hope that people will come to accept themselves for what they are. “I’ve become more comfortable about being a T woman since I’ve been able to put a name on it and recognize that I’m a minority,” says Virginia, INTJ.

In maturity, we hope that people will have increased understanding and tolerance of the people who are different from them. “I’ve come full circle with Feeling women and feel a sisterhood with them now,” says Jan, ISTP. “I can understand and value the way they make decisions when I used to think they were dumb.”

In maturity, we hope that people will begin to develop the sides of their personalities that they didn’t develop in youth. In maturity, we hope that people will pass on what they have learned to the young, and by their example make it easier for the next generation.

In maturity, we hope that people will bring peace to some of the wars within themselves. In the case of Thinking women, that they will be able to see that perhaps they have had richer lives because they were “different.”

 

 

How We Make Decisions – Thinking or Feeling

Saturday, March 4th, 2017

                  T————X————F                                                             

The PEOPLE Process Type Wheel

The third dimension of behavior in psychological type theory is how we prefer to make decisions – thinking or Feeling.

Each behavior is on a continuum with a preference for one or the other, the degree of which falling somewhere along the continuum.

A person could be a strong Thinker or Feeler, meaning they would fall completely to the far left or right of the continuum. The research says that we are, however, one or the other, not both. Even though we use both preferences throughout our day in the Decision dimension, we don’t use each preference with equal ease. Our inborn preference is our natural strength and according to research we are born with a preference for one behavior over the other  and this is part of our DNA.

In the American population, 50% are Thinkers and 50% are Feelers. Of the Thinkers, 65% are men, and of the Feelers, 65% are women.

Thinking and Feeling describe the two ways people make decisions, or come to conclusions. Thinking and Feeling both describe rational decision-making processes. It’s not that Thinkers have no feelings, or that Feelers are incapable of logic, it’s just that they use very different criteria to make their decisions.

Thinkers make decisions more objectively, weighing the pros and cons. For Thinkers, logic rules. When making a decision, Thinkers take a step back and analyze the situation, logically and impersonally, asking, “Does this make sense? What are the pros and cons? What are the ramifications of the decision?” Thinkers objectify the decision.

Feelers make decisions based on how they feel about the issue and how others will be affected by it. Feelers inject themselves into the situation asking, “How do I feel about this? How will it affect me and others? Is this the right thing to do? What are my personal values telling me to do?” Feelers personalize the situation.

Personal feelings and values are important to Feeling types and often they will go to great lengths to remain true to their beliefs. Thinkers are logical and analytical while Feelers are sensitive and empathetic.

It’s no surprise that preferences for Thinking or Feeling influence career choices. The helping professions attract large numbers of Feelers because this gives them an opportunity to fulfill one of their greatest needs, helping people. Feelers have a drive to understand others and receive satisfaction from assisting others in whatever way they can. Business and management attracts a lot of Thinkers because when it comes to being able to make a decision that is based on the bottom line and consider what’s best for the overall company, they can more easily make the decision and take action. Thinkers can step back from the decision, analyze it logically and come to conclusion based on what is best for the company.  A Feeler usually steps forward, putting himself in the shoes of the individuals being affected within that company, and are strongly influenced by their own personal beliefs and values in making the decision.

Thinkers are often attracted to careers dealing with manufacturing, research and development. Thinkers are most satisfied with jobs where there is a minimum of employee caretaking and like working with other people that are as competent as they are. Thinkers place more emphasis on being truthful, even when it hurts feelings, than being tactful.

Feelers are naturally more attentive and concerned with other people because they have a strong need to be liked. This can be seen as being helpful and friendly and in practically every organization across the country, you can find the nurturer, the person whom coworkers go for emotional support and comfort. Whether appreciated by the company or not, these people provide a valuable service.

On teams, Thinkers are great at being able to size up a situation and put the necessary steps in place to accomplish the goal but it’s the Feelers that create the connection with others that allows the team members to function together, and get the job done – because of feeling that their contribution to the team matters.

It’s very valuable for Thinkers and Feelers to work together. My preference for making Decisions is Thinking and I am often considered abrupt by others because of my ability to impersonalize an issue and consider the logical and possible consequences. My Feeling abilities are not well developed. I care greatly for people and desire to be of service and assistance to them, but I don’t come across that way. So, I rely on the Feeling people in my life to provide input for me when I’m weighing a decision that affects other people – and practically every decision we make does affect others.

On the other hand, a dear friend of mine has a preference for making Decisions as a Feeler and calls on the phone to discuss situations in her life because of my ability to impersonalize and assist her in thinking of things she hadn’t considered because of her strong desire to connect with people and assist them at a personal level.

Probably one of the greatest contributions of type in my life has been with the friendship of my dear friend “Paula”. Paula has a preference for Feeling and as I’ve already discussed, my preference in making Decisions is for Thinking. Paula tells me that once I introduced her to personality type and explained my type preferences, she was able to quit projecting her expectations of my behavior based on her own process. This knowledge has done wonders for our relationship.

When you factor in knowledge of personality type into your Decision making, it becomes clear that all of us need each other for the wealth of valuable contributions we offer in our business endeavors, family relationships and friendships. In fact, our differences just make us that much more valuable for the point of view and experience we are able to provide one another.

There are four behavior dimensions in personality type: how our Energy is focused, how we gather Information, how we make Decisions, and how we take Action. Decision is the third dimension and all four are equally important. Having knowledge and understanding of our preferences in each of the four dimensions of our associates and loved ones can profoundly affect the quality of our life and relationships.

                                               

                                                                                                          

             

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

The Effect of Personality Type on Team Performance

Saturday, November 12th, 2016

Team approach to IS development                                                                                         

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The purpose of this paper is to highlight the impact of personality type on team productivity and to propose a model that can be used to analyze the personality-type composition of an information system (IS) development team.

Expected benefits of successful teams include increased motivation, greater task commitment, higher levels of performance, ability to withstand stress, more innovative solutions, and decreased development time.

Ineffective teams may be the product of inappropriate team composition. Deciding to use a team approach is only the first step. Great care must be exercised in building the team to ensure its ultimate effectiveness. There are a number of pitfalls involving group dynamics that can undermine a team’s effectiveness. Bradley and Hebert propose a model of the impact of the personality-type composition of a team on overall team performance. The model applies personality-type theory to the team building process and then illustrates the importance of this theory by evaluating a case example of two software development teams. One of the teams was considered to be very productive by management, while the other team’s performance was judged to be unsatisfactory.

This case study is valuable because it clearly demonstrates the influences of personality type on two teams that are comparable in age, IQ, problem-solving ability, gender, and task responsibility. The task of IS development is appropriate to the discussion because it is of such relative complexity, especially with the use of multi-functional teams, that its successful accomplishment requires a high level of harmony among the team members.

Within this paper Bradley and Hebert discuss the influence of personality-type composition on team performance. Four critical factors are discussed in the context of successful IS development teams, followed by a discussion of personality types using Jungian psychological-type theory as a framework. A theoretical model of preferences for team composition is derived by applying personality-type theory to the four factors. The influences of personality type on the two software development teams’ performance are discussed and conclusions and recommendations are presented concerning team personality-type composition and its influence on team performance.

Critical factors for effective teams

An increasingly popular example of the team approach to IS development is joint application design (JAD). JAD is an example of representative design which involves user representatives in the decisions required to formulate an IS. One of the basic dimensions of team effectiveness involves individual differences. The ideal team should be highly diversified in the talent and knowledge each member contributes, while maintaining open, non-threatening communication.

JAD refers to the inclusion of members of the user departments along with the IS specialists on the development team. From JAD literature, three characteristics of productive teams that are strongly related to individual differences seem to dominate: effective leadership, intra-team communication, and group cohesion. Although all three of these characteristics are partially dependent on the personality types of the individuals involved, personality is rarely directly included in the discussions. The four dominant individual difference characteristics of productive teams – Leadership, Communication, Cohesion, Heterogeneity – can be combined, based on the common thread of personality type, to form an evaluative model of the impact of personality type on team performance.

Effective leadership is an especially important factor in the success of an IS development team. A knowledgeable, assertive leader must not only be available and properly trained in group dynamics, but must also be the type of person who can lead people who represent different functional areas and different levels of management. They must control the team meetings, drawing everyone into the discussions until a consensus is reached. The leader must also be able to keep the team on track and quickly resolve conflicts. These qualities suggest a person who is aware of the different personality types and how each type influences overall team performance.

Intra-team communication is another critical factor that influences IS development team success. A problem with intra-team communication may manifest itself in several ways.

Cohesion has also been identified as a crucial ingredient in team effectiveness. A cohesive team will demonstrate a spirit of togetherness and support for one another that helps team members quickly resolve conflicts.

The personality type heterogeneity of team members and its influence on successful group performance concludes that for complex problem solving, teams made up of different types of individuals with a variety of skills, knowledge, abilities and perspectives are more effective than groups that are more homogeneous. A diversity in skills and knowledge combined with a balance of personality types is desirable for effective teams.

Certain personality types are more accepting of others and more willing to consider different perspectives. Certain types are risk-averse while others are stimulated by risk-taking. Certain types are motivated by the challenge of an unsolved problem, while others are easily overwhelmed and slip into inaction. Certain types make natural leaders while others are more comfortable as followers. Certain personality types are natural communicators while others find it very difficult to express themselves. Each personality type, however, has a positive contribution to make to the overall effectiveness of the team therefore a balance of personality types should be sought.

A model of the effect of personality type on team performance

In general, the best leader is an ESTJ or an ENTJ, depending on the task involved. The extroverted leader will readily communicate directions and organizational information.

Intra-team communication will be more natural for the extrovert than the introvert, the sensing than the intuitive, and the thinking than the feeling personality types. Extroverts are natural communicators and too many extroverts can result in confusion as they interrupt each other to express their views. Sensing types perceive the facts and can easily organize their thought for communication to the other team members. Intuitives tend to develop more complex ideas that are more difficult to communicate. Thinking types are prone to making quick judgments and immediately verbalizing their thoughts while feeling types may not express their true thoughts in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

Cohesion is affected most by thinking versus feeling. The thinking team members, in their haste to express their judgments, often offend the more sensitive team members. The feeling member, will be constantly aware of the esprit de corps and do what they can to maintain harmony. Cohesion does not mean the absence of conflict. A cohesive team is able to resolve conflicts in a manner that results in the synergism that makes team work valuable.

Team heterogeneity refers to the number of each personality type on the team. Each type has something positive to contribute. In fact, usually a large degree of psychological homogeneity causes problems. The homogeneous team may reach consensus faster, however, the results will not be as innovative as they will be with a more heterogeneous team. In IS development, each personality type should have roughly equal representation.

A case example

This case example of two IS development teams serves as an excellent illustration of loss of productivity due to a poor combination of personality types.

A medium-sized software development company in the Southeastern USA makes extensive use of teams in the development of IS software. Company management noticed a distinct difference in the productivity of two major teams. The two teams were given assignments of developing information systems of comparable complexity, yet team 1 took almost twice as long as team 2 in the development process and produced an IS of only moderate quality. Team 2 finished their project ahead of schedule and produced a high-quality system. Management noticed that the members of team 1 did not communicate well (misunderstandings as well as failure to communicate) and seemed to have great difficulty getting organized.

The teams were not different in terms of demographics and basic ability levels and were performing comparable tasks. Why was their performance so different? The personality-type composition of the two teams explains the differences in team performance.

Personality-type composition and team performance

In this case example, the two teams were judged to be different in their performance level. Team 2 performed at a higher level than team 1.  The MBTI types of the two groups were analyzed to identify potential differences in personality type. It is important to have diversity and balance in the personality types of various group members. Team 2 (the more successful team) was more well balanced than team 1. Team 1 had 80% introverts and 20% extroverts compared to team 2’s equal percentage of 50% of both types. In team situations, introverts often tend to keep information to themselves and are less communicative in meetings. Team 1’s large percentage of introverts may have inhibited successful intra-team communication.

Team 2 also had a better balance in the type combinations of information intake (S/N) and decision making (T/F). The combinations are particularly important to effective teams because much of a development team’s work relates to receiving and processing information to make decisions about the particular system being developed. The percentages of S versus N were comparable, with team 1 having 60% Ns and 40% Ss, while team 2 had 57% Ns and 42% Ss. Sensing types like to focus on the details and may tend to miss the larger picture. Intuitive types may love the concept of teamwork but may have difficulty putting the concept into action. They are much more comfortable envisioning the larger picture and theorizing about what the system will do than with getting busy on the details of putting the system together.

Team 1 had only had 20% Fs, while team 2 had 42% F types. The difference between thinkers and feelers can cause major problems for effective team building. Thinkers are primarily concerned with accomplishing the task, while feelers are concerned with how well people work together. This basic difference in task versus people orientation suggests that the T/F difference is among the primary influences on a team’s esprit de corps. This suggests that a successful team is one that balances task orientation (the T type) with the feelings of group members who are accomplishing that task (F types).

A major reason for team 1’s lack of success could have been caused by the preponderance of Ts who pushed ahead to complete the task while giving less attention to user needs as well as the needs of other F types on the team. Team 2’s high percentage of F types could have facilitated more attention being given to the needs and the feelings of other team members.

Some team members prefer to approach problem solving in an orderly, systematic manner while others prefer less structured approaches. Team members with opposing preferences will have great difficulty avoiding conflicts in their communications. The T types would be focused on getting the specific jobs done, while the F types would be more concerned with group harmony, which could cause problems in deciding how to proceed on the project. Team 1, which was composed of a large percentage of T types, may have raced ahead to get jobs done without everyone being on board, while team 2’s larger percentage of F types may have helped them focus more attention on group harmony.

Team 1 had a better balance of J and P types (70% J, 30% P) than team 2 (100% J). However, too much diversity may actually inhibit successful team performance. The J/P difference, at least on the surface, is the key to team success or failure. Js have a need for closure, to move on to other important objectives, while Ps have an unceasing need to consider other alternatives and to make seat-of-the-pants assessments. Too many Js could influence the rush to stay on schedule and they might not carefully consider all of the potential alternatives. In contrast, Ps have difficulty staying on schedule because they are taking so much time to consider all the alternatives. In a complex project that has many alternatives to consider that would slow down the decision-making process, as long as team 2 considered all of the alternatives carefully, they would probably be more apt to stay on schedule than team 1.

Leadership is an important component of JAD teams. In the case example, the unsuccessful team’s (team 1) leader was an INFP type, while the successful team’s (team 2) leader was an ESFJ. Team 1’s introvert leader may have withheld information and sought to shorten meetings because being with people drains an introvert’s energy. Team 2’s extrovert leader may have been more effective in stimulating group communication and in involving all group members in the process. Team 1’s intuitive (N) leader may have been in favor of the team concept, but unable to transfer that support into action. In contrast, team 2’s sensing (S) leader may have been more effective in keeping the group on task. Team 1’s feeling (F) type leader may have clashed with the large percentage of group members who were thinkers (Ts). This F leader may have been focusing more attention on group harmony rather than getting the job done, which could have frustrated the T types. In contrast, while team 2’s leader is also an F type, there were a larger percentage of F types on the team who could offer support for the leader in emphasizing group harmony as an important factor. Team 1’s leader was a perceiver (P), a person who has difficulty in obtaining closure on important issues to move on to other important tasks. Team 2’s leader was a judger (J), which was consistent with the other team members.

Team 1’s large percentage of introverts, thinkers and perceivers may have resulted in less-effective group communication, while team 2’s large percentage of extroverts, feeling types and judgers may have facilitated group communication.

Team composition of personality types does appear to be an important explanatory variable for differences in team performance. This case example suggests that in general, diversity and balance in team member personality types is needed to produce successful team performance. Team 2’s greater balance of extroverts and introverts, sensing types and intuitive types, and thinking and feeling types appears to have influenced successful team performance. Team 2’s large percentage of judging types also ensured that the project was completed in a timely manner.

Conclusion and recommendations

The case example of IS development teams presented here suggests that personality types are an important factor in successful team performance. Organizations that desire to develop effective teams need to analyze the personality-type compositions of these groups and help team members understand their own personal attributes as well as appreciate the contribution of the other team members. The model presented in this paper is a valuable tool in accomplishing this analysis.

Consider the following questions in analyzing teams using the MBTI:

  1. Does the team have the best types of people to get the job done? The type of job being done should have some influence on the types of people who are selected to be on a team. For complex tasks such as product development, a balanced team of opposing personality types is needed. The more complex the task, the more important the balance is.
  2. Are the right jobs within the team being done by the most effective types of people? Is the personality type of each team member compatible with the requirement of the area of responsibility? Are they using their abilities most effectively by being in the place where their contribution will make a difference? In a team situation, the team leader is very important. Personality type should be considered strongly when choosing the team leader. Team leaders should demonstrate the personality-type preferences that enable them to involve others in team communication, to be sensitive to the needs of all team members, and to keep the team on schedule to complete the task.
  3. How will the team evaluate progress towards its goal? This question suggests a balanced diversity of all types on the team, particularly judgers, perceivers, feelers, and introverts. Judgers help keep the team on schedule, while perceivers ensure that multiple options are considered before proceeding ahead. Feelers ensure that someone’s idea is not dismissed out of hand and that group harmony is considered in making decisions. Introverts are needed to offer internal reflection of what items are being communicated orally in a meeting. They need time to think through what has been discussed and to give their opinions before decisions are made.
  4. Is there a team type that can effectively determine when the project is completed? When should development stop and implementation begin? Such personality types as extroverts, intuitives and judgers are particularly helpful in answering this question. Extroverts prefer to get issues out in the open so they can be discussed and resolved. Intuitives provide a holistic view of the entire organization and provide their perceptive assessment of whether the system is doing what it was intended to do. Judgers help keep everyone on track and offer their assessment of whether the task has been completed.

This model offers important insights into the influence of personality-type composition on team performance. It is important for the manager to remember that the MBTI measures preferences. Individuals can adopt other personality types if they are aware of personality-type differences and make a concerted effort to change. However, these individuals will need to be monitored very carefully.

Team performance is at least partially related to the team’s personality-type composition and the previous case example illustrates this relationship and serves as a reminder to managers to consider carefully personality type in determining team composition.

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

(Summary of an article in the Journal of Management Development, Vol. 16, No. 5, 1997, pp 337-353, MCB University Press, 0262-1711; by John H. Bradley and Frederic J. Hebert, East Carolina University, Greenville, South Carolina, USA.)

                                                                        

 

Servant Leadership

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

“Is Servant Leadership the answer to the “recession”?    

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Once I told a client that the difference between their firm and a closely related sister firm they are associated with, is humility.

“Your firm’s leadership has humility and has truly put it to practice in their interaction with their clients and employees.”  What is the definition of humility? Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary lists descriptive words such as, absence of pride, having or showing a consciousness of one’s shortcomings, unpretentious. When I shared my opinion my own definition was, not being a know-it-all, teachable, and approachable.

Imagine my elation when a few days later I received this article about Ken Blanchard, the One Minute Manager himself, and who truly put Leadership Training on the map, by Training Zone about Servant Leadership requiring humility. Humility is such a powerful, important quality, and no one expresses its power in leadership qualities better than Ken Blanchard. Therefore, I’d like to share portions of his interview with you.

What does this have to do with personality-type? Servant leaders learn as much as they can about the people they supervise. They get to know, trust and love them. One of the best ways to do this is by understanding the strengths of their employees. And, that understanding is easily achieved by learning about the four-letter personality type of the people we work with. As you read this article, please note that servant leaders help people win through teaching and coaching them to do their best. Knowledge of personality type theory gives you the skills to be able to teach and coach people to do their best.

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“Servant leaders are humble people who don’t think less of themselves, they just think about themselves less. They don’t deny their power, they just realize it passes through them, not from them.” (Ken Blanchard-www.kenblanchard.com)

The idea that leaders and managers must serve their people if they are to create highly successful organizations is not new. Ken Blanchard – a high profile supporter of the servant leadership concept – explains why leading with humility could be the key to surviving and thriving during the current economic crisis. If you want to survive and thrive during this crisis, you need to first make sure you are a servant leader. In tough times and in good times, the first question you need to ask yourself is why are you leading? Are you here to serve, or be served?

Servant leadership was first introduced by Bob Greenleaf in the 1960’s, at that time, a top executive with telecommunications giant AT&T. Although it is now far more accepted as an effective management principle, the idea that leaders and managers must serve their people if they were to create highly successful organizations was entirely new at that time. Servant leadership flew in the face of traditional management practice which concerned itself with directing, controlling, and supervising employees’ activities – of playing the role of judge, critic and evaluator of their efforts.

Mr. Blanchard emphasizes that in a shrinking economy, this kind of hierarchical leadership is even less effective. “The last thing we need to develop are still more organizations where colleagues spend most of their time trying to please the boss rather than accomplish the organization’s goals and visions; where people try to protect themselves rather than to help move the organization in its desired direction; where people get promoted only on their upward influencing skills and not their actual achievements. It is precisely these kind of organizational cultures that have got us into this mess, cultures where a what’s in it for me? mentality has prevailed, and where longer term ethical considerations have been sacrificed at the altar of short-term greed and the exploitation of the less fortunate. This downturn should be a wakeup call for each and every leader and manager. There is no better time to start grounding ourselves in humility, no better time to start thinking about how we can make a real difference on this planet and focus on the common good. Now is the time to become a servant leader.”

The qualities of a servant leader

Servant leaders don’t fear losing face by making ethical as well as purely financed-based decisions, or fail to recognize and promote talent at a lower level in case they later find their positions threatened. On the contrary, they are confident and skilled enough to set powerful visions, build up people at the frontline and put more power into their hands, so they can really make a difference to the customer experience and help get business booming from the bottom up. They are humble people who don’t think less of themselves, they just think about themselves less. They don’t deny their power, they just realize it passes through them, not from them.

Servant leaders seek to help people win through teaching and coaching them to do their best. They listen to their people, praise them, support them, and redirect them when they deviate from their goals. They find out what their people need to be successful. Rather than focusing on self-interest, on what will please them, servant leaders are interested in making a difference in the lives of their people and, in the process, impacting the organization for the better.

Sadly, too many top managers still think leading in this way will lead to mutiny. Instead of becoming successful servant leaders they become the opposite; they become self-serving leaders, who ultimately set themselves and their organizations up for failure because of their destructive influence. Servant leaders avoid this destructive influence by turning the traditional hierarchical pyramid upside-down in their organizations. This inspires and excites people to live according to their organization’s vision, because when they see leaders taking on coaching roles to build self-esteem, encouraging individual growth and giving people the tools they need to deliver that vision, people are more motivated, more responsible, and far more loyal. Everyone wins.

Becoming a servant leader

Ask yourself: “What is my self-worth based on?” Self-serving leaders base their self-worth on how much money they make, the recognition they get for their work, and their power and status. And while there is nothing wrong with making good money, and with getting power and status and recognition as a result of what you do, you’re in trouble if you confuse those things with who you really are, because then you are always going to need more and more of them.

Servant leadership is about recognizing that you are someone who needs to let go of your ego, and recognize that you are entitled to self-esteem irrespective of your salary or status. It is about getting up 45 minutes earlier, so you can take time to get in touch with who you are and what kind of person you want to be. Then you’ll have a better chance of living that vision that day. It is about developing the habit of getting a small group of people to be honest with you, and allowing them to tell you when you’re being stupid, just in case.

Finally, servant leadership is about having the courage to let your people bring their brains to work and giving them the power to help deliver your organization’s vision and values. Catch them doing things right and praise them. And remember that profit is the applause you get for taking care of your people, taking care of your customers and doing a great job!