Managing different personality types
Managing different personality types is one of the first challenges that you will face as a manager. Succeed and you will have a team that works well together and utilizes the strength of each individual. Fail and you will have the constant disagreements, misunderstandings, stresses, and frustrations that make many people hate waking up and going to work in the morning.
According to the theorist Carl Jung, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment groups individuals into one of 16 personality types along four scales. The system is used frequently by organizations to understand the working styles of employees, balance teams, and circumvent conflict. In the Myers-Briggs assessment, personality characteristics are categorized along four continuums: Introvert/Extrovert; Sensing/Intuition; Thinking/Feeling; and Judging/Perceiving. Below is a brief explanation of each of these personality types. As you read these personality type categorizations, you can gain a greater understanding and appreciation of personality types that are unlike yours. You will be able to read briefly about the strengths and weaknesses of these personality types and thereby be better equipped to manage the individual personalities you work with.
The personality category of introversion/extroversion measures how an individual draws their energy or motivation. Introverts are driven by their own thoughts and ideas and an extrovert is motivated from their interactions with others. Introverts tend to be introspective, analytical, and cautious team members. Extroverts are typically vocal, active, and comfortable expressing their ideas. Introverts may need extroverts to start a conversation but the introvert is more likely to think before they speak.
The sensing/intuition category measures how a person processes information. In general, people process either through their physical senses or through instinctual processes. A sensing person tends to be visual and needs to know the facts before proceeding to accomplish a task. An intuitive person might approach life in a more creative manner, being more open to chance and the unknown.
The thinking/feeling category refers to the manner by which a person makes decisions. A thinker reaches conclusions based on external factors while feelers are more concerned with protecting feelings. In a group, the thinkers are the ones focusing on getting things done while the feelers are concerned about making sure that people are working well together and getting along.
This final category in the Myers-Briggs assessment assesses how people approach their own life. Judging personalities tend to be highly organized and structured. They know what they want to do with their day and have their activities planned. Perceiving personalities are more spontaneous and flexible.
All personality continuums hold relevance for team dynamics. You need the appropriate balance of personality types to have group members be able to co-exist peacefully and productively. An individual needs to have the appropriate balance to be able to work productively in whatever type of group dynamic of which he or she is a part. The main objective in managing different personality types is not to only hire or promote those who have personality types that indicate they would fit well into a particular group. Sure a person's personality is a factor, but there are people out there who have the ability to act in such a way that they fit well into a number of different groups. As a manager, chances are that you have this ability. Because others can relate to your personality type, you are perceived as a leader and can effectively communicate with a wide range of people. The key is not to be a chameleon when it comes to your own personality type, but it is to learn enough about other personality types so that you can effectively communicate and work with others because you know how to make them feel comfortable with how they are.
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