Posts Tagged ‘MBTI’

“I Can’t Decide What Type I am!” – Part 2

Monday, June 26th, 2017

OTHER REASONS PEOPLE CAN’T DECIDE ON THEIR TYPE                                                           

The PEOPLE Process Type Wheel

When people can’t decide on a type for themselves, it’s sometimes because they are young.  “With a young group, I always tell them that it’s common for people to be exploring at this time, and not to take the MBTI results too seriously,” says Naomi Quenk, INFP, psychologist and past president of the Association for Psychological Type.

Or, they may not be young, but still be inexperienced. They may not have had many challenging experiences yet, like a job, or starting their own family, that would bring them face to face with their assets and liabilities. “Many of the people who come out mid-range on most of the scales of the MBTI and Type Differentiation Indicator,” says Don Johnson, ENFP and organizational consultant with ORA in New Jersey, “are usually being seen because they are searching for a job. They haven’t gotten to first base yet. They don’t know who they are and generally have low self-esteem.”

Another influence that can confuse a person trying to choose a type, is the place or the situation, they are in. If it is not affirming of their type, they may be playing roles to remain there. “You don’t know how much influence your job has had on you,” says Margaret Hartzler, ENFJ and president of Type Resources in Gaithersburg, Maryland. “It’s possible to please people but still stay true to yourself. But it’s also possible to decide that you’d better change. For example, Fs and Ps in business settings are often confused and think they’re really Ts or Js.”

Another influence, and a very strong one, is the people who have mattered the most to you, your parents. “As a child, you live in the land of the giants,” says Mary McCaulley, INFP and president of The Center for Applications of Psychological Type. “They can break your world in two. If they are misreading you, you tend to believe them.”

“Parents can give children three kinds of messages,” says Katherine Myers, INFP, trainer and consultant in psychological type, “to be what you are, to be something you’re not, or mixed messages, where one day you’re OK and the next day you’re not, with the same behavior. Parents who give mixed messages are usually under stress themselves. When they are rested and on top of things, they’re more accepting. Other days it’s like go home and kick the dog.”

“Initially, there are usually some people who can’t decide on one or two dimensions,” says Jean Kummerow, ESTJ, psychologist and co-author of Lifetypes (Warner, 1989). “But after reading more and giving it more time, things fall into place for them. However, about 3 in 100 people can’t decide after a long period of time. When they do seek further help (and it’s mostly the NFs who do that, since they’re usually the most interested in self-knowledge), I’ve noticed a pattern of difficult childhoods, often with chemically dependent family members. As children, they didn’t get consistent messages from their parents. They tried everything to get the approval of their parents, and kept switching, and now they don’t know who they are.”

The TYPE Reporter, Excerpt from Vol. 5, No. 3
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.)

                                                

“I Can’t Decide What Type I am!” – Part 1

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

The PEOPLE Process Type Wheel

According to the manual on the MBTI, around 25% of the people who take the MBTI 

score close to the middle on one or more of the dimensions.    

Although some of those people are able to identify their preferences in spite of their slight scores, other people aren’t able to identify their preferences in spite of their clear scores. So let’s say it evens out, and for around 25% of the people who take the MBTI, their type is still an open question even after they’ve received their report forms.

If you believe that making a person familiar with their natural gifts and course of  development is a worthwhile pursuit, then it probably bothers you when that’s not easy, and sometimes nearly impossible, to do.  You’d probably like to know more about why people sometimes can’t decide what type they are, and what can be done about it.

To get closer to some answers on these questions, we’re going to use as an example a man named Bob. He’s a real person who has not been able to decide on his type in 13 years! Bob first took the MBTI in 1977 and came out ISFP, but he didn’t feel that the profile fit him entirely. Since then he’s taken it 12 times, each time coming out a different type, each time feeling the profile didn’t entirely fit him.

You may be wondering why he doesn’t just drop the search for his type if the theory doesn’t seem to be working for him. “I’ve tried,” he says, “but it’s like one of those birthday candles that won’t go out when you blow it. I put it aside but I keep coming back to it.”

Bob is looking to the MBTI to give him guidance in making a mid-life career change. He’s been a successful lawyer, but he hasn’t been happy as a lawyer. “I had to work so hard just to keep up that it wasn’t fun. I saw other lawyers around me going great guns and still enjoying themselves. I want to find a career where I can do the same. I feel that if I knew my true type, I could start laying out a plan consistent with that type.”

We talked to some of the MBTI experts who have had experience with people who have a hard time deciding on their type. We’re going to tell you what they recommend, and how it worked for Bob. In this issue we’ll look at what the experts recommend you do in a workshop setting to help people decide on their type, and how Bob reacted to these experiences. He is a good example of how frustrating, fascinating, and eventually satisfying it can be to help people find their true type.

Tell them it’s normal and give them some time.
For most of the people who are uncertain on one or more of the dimensions of the MBTI, time usually takes care of the problem. After they’ve had some time to absorb the definitions of the functions and observe their own behavior, their type usually becomes clear to them.

If you’re giving a workshop on type, it’s probably a good idea to tell people up front that they may not be able to decide their type in the course of your workshop. Tell them that initial uncertainty about your type is normal. You don’t want to cause them any stress because they don’t fit into the theory right away. Be as general, positive, neutral, and non-suggestive as you can be about this issue.

And you might mention that some people may never be certain about what type they are. Some people are just more distinctly a type than others. You can see this even in small children. Some have a clear sense of who they are when they’re very young, some don’t have a clear sense of who they are until 30 or 40, and some are never sure. The important thing is, for most of these untypical people, it’s not a problem. It’s no big deal.

Time and observing his own behavior did not help Bob decide on a type. In fact, the more time went by, the more uncertain he became. But Bob continued to pursue his type because of his own feeling that he had to know, not because poor training had made him feel that something was wrong with him.

Give them a variety of experiences in a workshop.
We talked to Janet Thuesen and Otto Kroeger, a team that has trained at least 10,000 people in type theory in the last 10 years and recently co-authored the book Type Talk (Delacorte, 1988). They said that a good way to help people decide what type they are is to offer them a variety of experiences in a workshop, especially the experience of being put into groups with others who are supposed to be the same type as they are, and seeing if they experience agreement and similarity.

In one of the first workshops on the MBTI that I attended, the trainers asked all the Introverts to get into a group and all the Extraverts to get into a group. In the group of Introverts we were asked to answer the questions:

What do you like about being an Introvert? What don’t you like about being an Introvert? What do you like about Extraverts? What don’t you like about Extraverts?

Then we reported back to the group on what we had talked about and heard the Extraverts answer the same questions. We did the same thing on all four of the dimensions. I remember how powerful an experience that was for me. I still remember a woman saying “When I hear Extraverts talking about what they’re going to do today, it makes me tired. I couldn’t possibly do all that in one day!” We all laughed and nodded our heads in agreement. That kind of clicking with other people strengthened my certainty that type worked, and that I was an Introvert.

I’ve also been present in several type-alike groups since then where it became clear that one of us did not belong in that group. It’s an excellent method for helping people get clarity on their type. But it didn’t work for Bob. He attended one workshop where people were asked to go into groups with their like types and answer questions such as “How are you in a team?” and “How are you as a leader?” It didn’t settle anything for him. “I went around and listened to different groups, and read the things they put up on the wall, but none of the groups rang out loud and clear to me,” he said.

Ask them to read several profiles and mark the parts they agree with.
Another thing Otto Kroeger recommends for people who can’t decide what type they are is that they do some homework. Their assignment is to read profiles on all the types that they might be, and mark the lines they agree strongly with, then add them up at the end. I did this with my husband when he was uncertain if he was an INTP or an ENTP. He had a terrible time deciding if he was an Extravert or an Introvert in the abstract, but he agreed with every line of the ENTP profile and not a single line of the INTP profile.

But Bob has been doing this kind of thing for 17 years. He has every book of profiles that has been published, and they’re all underlined and checked and X’d. However, none of the profiles really fits him completely, and over time.

Most of the profiles have some things that sound true for Bob, and some things that don’t. And on some days he feels like one type but the next day it might change. And sometimes it doesn’t even take a day. Before breakfast, he may be reading the profiles of the INFP and identifying with them, but later in the day, the ESFP and ISFP may sound better to him. For several days he may write in his journal about how he’s an SJ, but today write that he must be an SP because he feels so impulsive, playful, and physical.

Ask them to discuss it with people who know them.
The third thing Otto Kroeger suggests is that you ask people who know you well what they think. When I asked Bob to tell me the name of someone who knows him fairly well, and also knows type, he mentioned Katherine Myers, an INFP who has been familiar with type for most of her life.

Kathy Myers told me: “His endless searching for self, and his insistence that he know what is at the core of him before he can make any decisions, reminds me of an INFP. It’s a weakness of the INFP, in fact. Like other NFs, INFPs need to operate out of their core, to be true to themselves. But without the E or the J to pull them out into the world, INFPs can really get stuck trying to figure themselves out.”

“In more specific ways he also reminds me of an INFP. He’s very much in tune with other people, and responds to them so that they feel good about themselves. He speaks quietly, about things he’s enthusiastic about. He entertains beautifully, but he’s not a hail-fellow-well-met. He does it quietly and graciously. I’ve been trying to get him off this obsession with knowing what type he is. He feels he can’t move or decide on a career until he does. I tell him that he’s fortunate to be able to use each of the functions when it’s appropriate.”

I told Kathy Myers that I had two doubts about Bob being an INFP. One was that when he was young, he became a leader at just about every opportunity. He rattled off a dizzying list of leadership positions. He was president of his junior class in high school, and then of the whole student body in his senior year. A high school teacher told his parents he had never seen a better leader come through the system. In college, he was captain of his football team, president of his college fraternity, president of the leadership fraternity, and voted the best leader in his senior class. And all through his legal career, people were trying to persuade him to go into politics.

Why, I asked Kathy, would an Introvert place himself so often in front of, and in the middle of, groups? I could see an Introvert being the leader of a group if they all shared a passionate interest, but Bob seemed to be the leader of a variety of groups, with no particular shared interests.  “Introverts can often be leaders,” Kathy said. “I’m an Introvert and among other things I was the editor of the school paper, and voted most likely to succeed.”

And then I told her that in many hours of listening to Bob talk, I had never heard him make a large generalization, which Intuitives seem to need to do as much as they need to breathe. And when asked a question about his preferences, he referred to something he had done recently, instead of looking at his behavior over a lifetime and observing patterns. I’m usually hungry for specifics when I’m listening to Intuitives. When I’m listening to Bob, I’m hungry for a generalization.

Kathy said he seemed to be comfortable talking about the type theory, which was fairly abstract. She also said that she doubted an S would spend this much time trying to find out who they were. And I had to agree. If Bob was unlike any Intuitive I’d ever listened to, he was also unlike any Sensing type I’d ever listened to.

It’s hard for some people to put a type on themselves because on one or more of the dimensions, they really do have attributes from both sides. When you ask them to choose a type, you’re asking them to deny something about themselves that is important, but not typical.

To be continued…..

The TYPE Reporter, Excerpt from Vol. 5, No. 2, written by Susan Scanlon www.thetypereporter.com

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

 

Our Favorite Type Breakthroughs

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

The PEOPLE Process Type Wheel

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.

****************

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.”

****************

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.”

****************

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.

****************

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

The PEOPLE Process Training Manual & Participant Package

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.

                                                                

Why Personality Type in Relationships?

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

The PEOPLE Process Training Manual & Participant Package

The greatest overall benefit of knowing about psychological-type theory, is to be able to stand back and realize people do what they do because of their natural process. By knowing this, we can begin to eliminate our expectations on another person’s behavior.

This alone solves a myriad of interaction problems.

Once you understand your type and your partner’s type, it’s time to see how you and your partner mesh. The first step toward creating a satisfying relationship is to understand ourselves. The next is to be more aware of the ways we naturally and automatically interact with our partners. Then, we can learn how to make some minor adjustments in our styles to be more accommodating and appreciative of each other.

DO OPPOSITES REALLY ATTRACT?

Many couples – about 35% have only two type preferences in common. About 25% have one preference in common, 20 % have three and only 10% are either different on all four or alike on all four dimensions. Just because you and your partner may be very different doesn’t mean you can’t have a satisfying relationship. You may simply have to work harder to achieve understanding and satisfaction.

The greatest opportunities for personal growth come from loving someone who is quite different. On some level, we’re drawn to our partners precisely because of those differences. We see things in them we don’t have in ourselves. We are stimulated to try things we might not ordinarily try, encouraged to open up and share on a deeper level than before, or slow down and have more fun than we normally allow ourselves.

As Carl Jung wrote, “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Indeed, Mr. Jung believed that through the marital and family unit, we could transform ourselves to a greater spiritual level.

Bear in mind that no one combination is either perfect or automatically doomed to failure. There are strengths within each type combination. While every couple faces challenges based in a great part on their type preferences, every relationship also is as unique as the two people in it.

AN ESTJ & ENFP PARENTING CHALLENGE

The three type dimensions that are most often the source of parenting disagreements are:

GATHERING INFORMATION  –  Sensing or Intuition

MAKING DECISIONS  –  Thinking or Feeling

TAKING ACTION  –  Judging or Perceiving

Jake is an ESTJ and Maureen is an ENFP. As such they have different temperaments and values. Jake takes his job as father very seriously. He believes it’s his duty to raise responsible, polite, independent children. He’s the disciplinarian, establishing and enforcing the rules of the house with calm consistency. Jake’s kids will tell you that he’s strict and demanding but that he shows his devotion to his kids by being an enthusiastic coach and never misses a swim meet, dance recital, or school play.

Maureen is more concerned about her children’s emotional well-being and self-esteem. She wants them to develop as unique individuals and strive to find personal meaning in their lives. She’s clearly the fun parent, the nurturer, who is less worried about bedtimes and rules and more concerned about helping the children articulate their feelings and grow into compassionate and tolerant adults.

For the most part, Jake and Maureen complement each other well, but they also have their share of disagreements about everything from how hard to push the kids academically to whether to pay them for doing chores. This hurdle is not insurmountable, but it is a strain on their relationship; it gives them one more thing to disagree and argue about. Fortunately, knowing about their types –  and their children’s types –  has helped them figure out strategies to be more cohesive as a team and more sensitive and effective with their children.

Psychological Type And How It Benefits An Organization

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

Psychological type is a theory of personality developed by Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Carl G. Jung to explain the normal differences between healthy people.  Jung concluded that differences in behavior result from people’s inborn tendencies to use their minds in different ways.

The PEOPLE Process Type Wheel

Jung’s type theory defines patterns of normal behavior, or types, and gives an explanation of how types develop.

The mother and daughter team of Myers & Briggs further developed Jung’s theory creating the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a self-report questionnaire designed to make Jung’s theory of psychological types understandable and useful in everyday life.

After more than 50 years of research and development, the MBTI is the most widely used instrument with more than two million indicators administered annually in the United States.

The PEOPLE Process takes type theory a step further making it useable, simplifying the understanding and application of what often is a complicated process for people to work with. With all of the breadth and depth of the theory of Dr. Carl Jung and the MBTI, The PEOPLE Process Wheel takes the theory of the four behavioral dimensions of how Energy is focused, how Information is gathered, how Decisions are made and how Action is taken and makes them easy to remember and use.

Within each behavioral dimension, are two opposite poles, preferences,  for which everyone has a natural preference (inborn strength) for one of the two opposites in each of the four behavioral dimensions.

As we use our preferences, we develop what the research defines as our psychological type: an underlying personality pattern resulting from the dynamic interaction of our four preferences, environmental influences and our own choices. People tend to develop behaviors, skills, and attitudes associated with their type, and those with types that differ from yours, will likely be opposite you in many ways. Each type represents a valuable and reasonable way to be. Each type has its own potential strengths, as well as its likely blind spots.

Psychological type has been applied as a tool for many years by a variety of users including those in:

  • Small businesses and large multinational corporations
  • Service industries and manufacturing concerns
  • Consulting and training services
  • Government at all levels
  • Established firms and new entrepreneurial ventures
  • Educational and health-care institutions

In general, psychological type functions as a tool that helps people in organizations:

  • Understand themselves and their behaviors
  • Appreciate others so as to make constructive use of individual differences
  • Approach problems in different yet healthy ways and thus be more productive

Specifically, organizations use type to:

  • Make the most of their human resources
  • Leverage individuals natural strengths
  • Improve teamwork
  • Understand and adapt to differences in leadership/management style
  • Enhance effective communications between supervisors, peers, employees, and customers
  • Assist in career development
  • Resolve conflict
  • Coach individuals
  • Design training activities
  • Recognize employees’ unique contributions
  • Develop skills in creativity, time management, and stress management

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

How Does Type Influence Our Listening?

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

The PEOPLE Process Type Wheel

In the last blog update, 16 people were asked the question, “Who is the best listener in your life?”, and 14 of them mentioned an Introvert.  Do Introverts really have a natural advantage over Extraverts when it comes to listening?

According to type theory, Introverts have two good reasons to listen more than talk.

First of all, they have a lower need to talk because they process their thoughts internally.  They may want to share their completed thoughts with others, but that usually requires less time than thinking through something out loud.

Second, when Introverts talk, they’re using their Auxiliary function, which is not what they’re best at, so they don’t get the positive response that Extraverts do. After awhile, they become less confident and more critical of themselves when they speak.  The role of listener becomes a better way for them to garner self-esteem.

Extraverts, on the other hand, have two good reasons to talk more than listen.  First, they need to process their thoughts out loud.  They often do their best thinking when they are talking, so they need to have several good listeners in their lives to allow them to reach clarity and understanding.

Second, Extraverts derive greater self-esteem from talking than Introverts. Because they are Extraverts, they are showing their dominant function to the world, which is what they’re best at, whether it’s practical knowledge, possibilities, logic or caring.  When they finish speaking, they usually get a better response from others, and more of a sense of accomplishment in their speech.  It’s hard to give that up and switch over into listening.

However, just because Introverts tend to do more listening, they don’t necessarily listen well.  Although they may be silent when someone else is speaking, they may actually have a strong internal dialogue going, and may be listening more to themselves than the speaker.

Let’s face it.  It’s an effort for all of us to be good listeners.  Extraverts have to manage their external voice, and Introverts have to manage their internal voice.

In trying to become a good human being though, nothing makes a bigger difference than developing the ability to listen well.  No matter what else we do for other people, if we listen attentively and sympathetically to what they are saying, and let them know that they have been heard and understood, that will mean the most to them.

 

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)