Communication, according to corporate consultants, is the #1 factor for any and all issues within the workplace. And they would be correct. However, the solutions that are typically employed are unable to solve the underlying issue– personality type amongst colleagues.
The 3 solutions implemented are:
- Increased communication, even “over communication”
- Clearer and more concise communication
- CC’ing a superior to accelerate response times
You can pick and choose the cases where these methods were effective, but an alternative may have longer lasting results.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Most are familiar with the Myers-Briggs Assessment that breaks down everyone into 1 of 16 personality types, designated by a 4-letter acronym (ex. ESFP, ENTJ, ISTJ, etc.). Each letter has a distinct opposite, as follows:
• E vs I (extroversion vs introversion)
• N vs T (intuition vs thinking)
• T vs F (thinking vs feeling)
• J vs P (judging vs perceiving)
The focus here is on the Judging vs Perceiving function that I believe is where most communication breaks down. Therefore, an increase in communication only exacerbates the problem instead of clearing it up.
Judgers have their minds made up about nearly everything. Things are black and white and there is a finality to their opinions on every topic. They tend to stick to deadlines and draw lines in the sand, remaining uncompromisingly rigid.
Perceivers weigh their options and never lock themselves into a concrete answer. New information could arrive at any moment that would negate their past beliefs. They see both sides of an argument and the pros/cons of nearly every form of action. They tend to be flexible with schedules and keep the door open to new ideas.
Being as clear and concise as possible, you ask, “Can you come into the office on Monday?”
As a Judger (J), there is no possible way to misinterpret this question.
As a Perceiver (P), there are several responses and interpretations:
• “Mondays are tough for me, I might not be able to make it…”
• “What time?
• “It depends on my schedule”
This is infuriating for the Judger as the answer is clearly either Yes or No. The unclear response demands a longer conversation that to the (J) is not needed. To the (P), there is simply not enough information in the question to give the right answer. The Perceiver is frustrated with this question as it forces them to make an ill-informed decision.
At the bare minimum, let’s compromise and start out with Yes/No and then the rationale.
• “Yes, depending on the time “
• “Yes, but only after 10am”
• “No, I am out of town that day”
Relating back to “clearer and more concise communication,” the above compromise is what should be implemented. Understand the type you are communicating with and proceed accordingly.
If you are restructuring your org chart, this is going to be the most useful way to decide how teams are put together, who leads them, and who makes the decisions.
In the following short articles, I will go over the 3 other functions of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and dig deeper into possible workplace solutions.
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