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Personalities in the

Workplace

Everyone is incredibly unique. It is part of the reason why there is so much conflict and miscommunication in the world. It also makes life interesting and inspires us to learn and grow. Corporate organizations are a great example of unique individuals co-existing in the same space. Sometimes, this can lead to brilliant and creative ideas bringing projects to life. Other times, people’s differences become a source of tension, and a divide is created within the workplace. To avoid this, everyone should educate themselves about different personality types, how to deal with them, and how to embrace each individual’s unique gifts.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a well-known and respected personality test developed by a woman named Isabel Briggs Myers. She was inspired one Christmas vacation when she brought her boyfriend (husband-to-be Mr Myers) home to meet her family. Although they liked him, her mother noted that he was very different to the family. Since then, she became fascinated by the idea of categorizing people based on their personality traits. When you do the MBTI test, your final results will be presented by a four-letter code, each letter representing a facet of your personality. There are 16 personality types according to this test. What follows is a breakdown of these differing types.

Sensing or Intuiting

Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology, suggested that there were two contrasting ways people perceived the world. Some view reality only through the 5 senses (Sensing types) while others prefer to wait on internal confirmation as to whether or not the stimuli is true and real, thus relying on their subconscious(Intuitive types). In essence, Sensing types are very interested in facts whilst Intuitive types rely more on the intangibles such as abstract ideas and imagination.

Thinking or feeling

According to Jung and Briggs Myers, people come to a conclusion or judgement either by using logic (Thinking types) or by their emotional reactions (Feeling types). As one might imagine, this preference can cause  a fair bit of upheaval in the office as the Thinking types believe Feelers are irrational and the Feeling types perceive Thinkers to be cold and lacking creativity.

The 4 preferences

The abovementioned orientations produce certain traits:

  • ST: sensing and thinking. These people rely on facts which their senses can confirm. They are practical people who would excel in fields like surgery, law, accounting, etc.
  • SF: sensing and feeling. These people also rely on their senses but prefer to base their decisions on facts based on how they feel about those facts. These people would excel in positions where they need to show warmth like nursing, teaching, social work and sales.
  • NF: intuition and feeling . These people rely on their gut reaction, and emotional response to stimuli. They are warm, communicative, and friendly but tend to not focus on the present facts. Instead, they focus on what could be changed, or the future possibilities. These people make brilliant researchers, writers, higher-level teachers, and psychologists.
  • NT: intuition and thinking. These types are also focused on potential possibilities, paired with rational thinking in order to problem solve. They are well-suited to professions in the problem-solving, technical fields like mathematics, computing, and science.

Extroversion and Introversion

There are 2 types, those who view life through the external world (extroverts) and those who perceive life through their inner world of ideas(introverts). These preferences influence the style of decision-making. For example, introverts prefer to wait and process their reaction to something before acting, whilst extroverts act on their impulses quickly and comfortably. Extroverts find themselves fuelled with energy by other people, yet introverts need their space to recharge and can even feel drained by others.

The fact that so many people find themselves at odds with others who are different to them, implies that people do not respect or value the ways in which others view the world.

Working with Different Types

With sensor types, it is very important to articulate the problem quickly before expecting them to provide a solution. Thinkers need a clear, logical set of steps to follow and a clear expected result. Intuitives need to have an interesting possibility to tempt them into taking action. Feeling types will respond better to a situation which is explained in terms of the ways their actions will impact people. If individuals in the workplace are aware of each other’s unique traits and gifts, there will be less friction and more potential for effective and creative problem-solving from a cohesive and empathetic team.

Tiffany

Smith