Part II: Corporate Communication and Personality Type (MBTI)

Take a look at the above picture. What do you see here? Your answer will likely reveal your 2nd letter within the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, which is the S (sensing) vs N (intuition) function.

Sensors (S) process data as it exists in front of their eyes. Their data is tangible and provable and is rooted in reason and fact. The Sensor (S) type likes graphs, charts, and spreadsheets to understand and take action on data. They are typically grounded individuals that must see to believe. Those with a strong (S) preference would be classified as a “Rational.”

Intuitives (N) see between the lines and process life in an abstract way. They often search for the meaning behind the façade, rather than the details in front of them. Non-linear and sometimes unnecessarily complex, those with the (N) preference can often be extremely insightful and creative in their explanations and solutions.

For a deeper dive into the N vs S function, visit this great video:

A Painting or A P&L Report

A strong (S) type sees the painting above and would likely have these descriptions:

• “The painting is muddled”
• “Her dress is long and is getting dirty”
• “This looks like a really old painting”
• “That’s a pretty red couch”

A strong (N) type sees this painting and has a remarkably different take:

• “She is not into him.”
• “He’s trying to seduce her.”
• “They are in a lovers’ quarrel.”
• “The red couch represents love or passion.”

Both types are seeing the same image, yet each has a different interpretation.

When you translate this into the corporate setting, you see the same discrepancies.

The above is a standard Profit and Loss statement. This tells us the overall health of the company at a high level. You can begin to imagine how the Sensor (S) and the Intuitive (N) might interpret this chart.

Sensors will point out:

• “Net profit is 24% of gross sales.”
• “We can save money by cutting advertising and laying off two people.”
• “We can renegotiate our lease to save money on rent.”

These are statically driven data decisions. The logic behind the decisions are sound and fact-based.

Intuitives will say:

• “Why did we do so well this year?”
• “What does this mean for the next 5 years?”
• “It’s not all black and white, there’s a lot of gray areas.”

The difference in interpretation can be a major problem depending on who is making decisions after viewing the data. Statistically and anecdotally speaking, the most common type for managers are ESTJ’s, being dubbed “Life’s Administrators.”

As mentioned in Part I, the J type will make a final decision based on the data (S), and that will be nearly set in stone. If the ESTJ boss is taking suggestions from their team that is composed of some N and P types, there are going to be glaring disagreements:

  1. The decision made by the S and J boss will seem too rigid and solely focused on the data
  2. The N and P types will be frustrated at the lack of brainstorming
  3. The S and J boss will be frustrated with the N and P’s abstract proposals

In this scenario, the Sensor (S) has the burden of helping the N/P to frame their abstraction in a concrete way, if at all possible. This will be a process that can take years to perfect and is not something that can be implemented overnight, but it will lead to more productive collaboration and team unity. However, if the communication is not fixable, the ESTJ manager will notice that the N/P subordinate will no longer participate in the discussion—a simmering volcano likely to erupt.

The solution I am proposing to fix the Intuitive (N) and Sensing (S) dilemma in the workplace is to first realize that people are making an honest effort to help. Most colleagues aren’t purposely sabotaging an open discussion. Secondly, the collaborative brainstorming needs to be visual. The (S) manager should strive to draw out what the Intuitive (N) is meaning and articulate it into something concrete; writing the suggestions on a whiteboard for the whole group to visualize. Then the group can find common ground as they move away from the theoretical and towards the tangible.

As I dig deeper into the Myers-Briggs Types, I will discuss critical workplace challenges that arise from type-limitations.

Corporate Communication and Personality Type (MBTI)

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:

  1. Increased communication, even “over communication”
  2. Clearer and more concise communication
  3. 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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