Staffing and Personality Type
Growing the group’s diversity
Marci and Alyce joined Raquel at the next meeting with Brad. In addition to supporting Raquel in her auxiliary leadership, they brought their own personality styles to the conversation.
The increased diversity of psychological types produced at least three positives:
- The tension between Brad and Raquel was reduced, because more lenses prompted Brad to respond to the need for some key details. In a similar manner, more lenses moved Raquel to imagine some big-picture perspectives.
- Raquel felt more confident having people she trusts beside her.
- Brad had the opportunity to reset Raquel’s first impression by engaging Marci and Alyce constructively.
Marci’s ESTJ style shares extraverted thinking (T) with Brad. For Marci, this is her go-to preference that is her primary source of energy. So as Brad talks about a systematic plan for the next gala, Marci engages him with the kind of brainstorming that he likes. The difference between them comes with Marci’s introverted sensing (S). While Brad tends to explore ideas at the 10,000-foot level, Marci wants them on the ground. Like Raquel, she responds to concise information that she can relate to her own experience. For her, what’s practical is what makes sense.
Like Brad, Marci’s desire for immediate action can seem arrogant. After all, her T-shirt motto is, “I Know the Answer, the Question Is Irrelevant.” By noticing how Marci and Brad have a similar kind of outspoken energy, Raquel may back away from seeing Brad as condescendingly aggressive. We can hope this may soften Raquel’s first impression of Brad.
Alyce’s ENFP type shares the introverted feeling (F) preference with Raquel. They both process ideas inwardly from the perspective of their personal values. Sharing this feeling preference contributed to their becoming close friends many years ago. They are both energized by this kind of internalized decision-making. Alyce’s ENFP T-shirt motto, “Give Life an Extra Squeeze,” leans into the same direction as Raquel’s “Love All Living Life.”
Alyce, however, shares Brad’s preference for intuition (N). She’s quite comfortable roaming around the 10,000-foot ideas. And she is likely to talk about those ideas, since she practices extraversion with her intuition (in contrast to Brad’s introverted intuition). In fact, she gets most energized through her extraverted intuition. As with Marci, because Raquel trusts Alyce, Raquel has learned to appreciate Alyce’s big picture intuition. This can possibly bridge the initial gap between Raquel and Brad.
A bit of theory
The four characters in our case study represent the four possible pairs of mental functions in psychological type, originally theorized by Carl Gustav Jung in the early 20th century. They are sensing/thinking (ST), sensing/feeling (SF), intuitive/feeling (NF) and intuitive/thinking (NT). Sensing and intuiting, which Jung called the “perceiving functions,” are the two ways we take in information. Thinking and feeling, which Jung called “judging functions,” describe decision-making preferences. All of us are hard-wired to favor one preference from each pair: sensing or intuiting and thinking or judging. The graph above shows how these function pairs are distributed among the U.S. adult population.
Jung also theorized a pair of preferences that describe how we orient to the world: extraversion and introversion. When we use extraversion (E) we focus our attention on and get energized by the outer world of people, things and activity. With introversion (I), our inner world of thoughts and feelings is our focus and our source of energy. We always use these preferences in tandem with one of the mental functions. Or said conversely, each function always carries with it either extraversion or introversion.
The dynamic of how all these preferences work together is the genius of psychological type. As such, personality type provides a continuously generative tool for increasing self-awareness, appreciating differences among individuals and building more productive teams and relationships in any organization.