it’s in the genes, man

I’m sure none of you will identify with this one:

You’re in a meeting and it seems so obvious to you what the next steps in this project should be, or your head is screaming something unChristian about a colleague who is droning on about absolutely nothing, or you absolutely do not understand the fixation with a bridge you have yet to cross . . . or even build.

Still with me?

k. Let’s turn to Myers-Briggs for a second.  If you’re buddies already, cool. If not, you’ll appreciate this all the same.  Within the Myers-Briggs typology there are people who are “J’s”  (judging) and those who are “P’s” (perceiving).

According to their website J’s will find themselves here:

The following statements generally apply to me:

  • I like to have things decided.
  • I appear to be task oriented.
  • I like to make lists of things to do.
  • I like to get my work done before playing.
  • I plan work to avoid rushing just before a deadline.
  • Sometimes I focus so much on the goal that I miss new information.

And P’s here

The following statements generally apply to me:

  • I like to stay open to respond to whatever happens.
  • I appear to be loose and casual. I like to keep plans to a minimum.
  • I like to approach work as play or mix work and play.
  • I work in bursts of energy.
  • I am stimulated by an approaching deadline.
  • Sometimes I stay open to new information so long I miss making decisions when they are needed.

Has this kind of stuff helped you through meetings and collaborative projects? What insights about your personality have helped you be a better personal and professional communicator? What makes you cry?


2 thoughts on “it’s in the genes, man

  1. Absolutely! In my experience, Myers-Briggs (M-B) can transform teamwork, as it provides a framework of understanding the process and motivations of others on the team, and self-management, as well, in light of knowing how you are rated by M-B.

    I do a lot of facilitation work with religious congregations in the Catholic Church, where not only do you work with your team, you are vowed to your team for life, so you may literally live with them, or at the very least, know you will be in relationship with them the rest of your life (and they could end up being your boss or vice versa). So good team relations is essential, and I have seen how M-B has been very important for these groups.

    Two interesting things I have learned over the years about M-B:

    1) Your M-B personality profile can change, depending on life experiences.

    I have taken the MBTI about 4 times since my early 20s, and there have been subtle shifts by times in my preferences. I understood from a M-B coach that that does happen, based on new learnings or life experiences.

    2) Under stress, if you have a “learned” preference, you will revert back to your “natural” preference.

    I saw this happen to me while I was working on my MBA and under extreme deadlines and stress during one of our program residencies. I, an extrovert “by nature” (or so I thought), became quiet and withdrawn, as I was as a child. In speaking with the M-B coach (who was instructing us during this residency), she noted that that kind of shift indicated that I am naturally an I (or Introvert) but became a “learned E” as an adult, but stress will blow one past their learned preferences and get them back to who they are at their core. Very interesting stuff!


  2. hey Sheila – I find #2 especially fascinating . . . like a personality defense mechanism, eh? I get frustrated sometimes because there are some types that have a lower tolerance for diversity in the way things get done, and people who have a much higher tolerance for diversity often sacrifice or have their preferences sacrificed for the sake of peace-keeping or moving projects forward. I’m a super, super strong P in a world of J’s and it is rough out there sometimes.

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