The idea of working from home may have seemed unusual a couple of decades ago. But given the rise of internet technologies such as shared work environments, VoIP, the advent of smartphones and high speed internet, that’s no longer the case. According to the United States Census Bureau, around 20-30 million people work from home at least one day a week in the USA alone. And those numbers are growing every year.
You’re telling the room: any type can do anything. Personality theory is about understanding yourself better, playing to your strengths and broadening your horizons. It was never intended to pigeonhole anyone.
On the inside, you’re thinking. How can I, someone with a preference for Introversion, train groups of people as my job? My energy comes from in-depth, one-on-one conversations, not noise-filled, overstimulating group work. I’m much happier working and spending time alone.
In today's economic landscape, it's more important than ever for businesses to accomplish more with less; a process known as boosting productivity. Productive employees output more work per specific unit of time than less productive employees. It is this increased efficiency that makes the business money.
But keeping employees productive is hard work. Why? Because productivity is primarily an inside job. You can't force it on someone. It comes from within a person and, essentially, is a measure of their motivation to close down tasks within a clearly defined timeframe.
One of the biggest sources of workplace conflict shows up in differences on the fourth dimension of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - Judging versus Perceiving. A person whose style is "J" will schedule things in advance, organize their work with attention to deadlines and keep their eyes firmly on the goal. A "P" on the other hand, is pretty loose and free wheeling. They like to work on multiple projects simultaneously and to keep their options open until the very last minute, rather than forming a plan ahead of time.
Ah, the open plan office. It's to the 21st century what the cubicle farm was to the 1980s - everywhere. Today's employers are tearing down walls as a business imperative and with them, the barriers to communication and idea flow. Even freelancers are leaving their solitary kitchens and coffee shops. Formal co-working spaces, which offer pay-per-desk access to a community of like-minded individuals, are a mega-trend among the self-employed.
When asked to describe a great leader, which type of person springs to mind? The all-guns-blazing, exuberant networker? Or how about the dominant visionary who flips tradition on its head? Certainly not the understated loner who listens more than they speak, right?
In the terminology of personality type, sensors are hands-on people who prefer to process information about the world in terms of what they can see, hear, feel, touch, and taste. Intuitives, on the other hand, prefer to assimilate information about the world around them and process the data in an abstract, big-picture way. When they work together in an office, sensors and intuitives might find their working relationships rife with misunderstandings unless they can try to mutually understand and respect one another's differences. By doing so, they'll contribute to harmony in the workplace, fostering on office politics that are based on cooperation, not conflict.
Office politics is an umbrella term that encompasses many things. On one hand, it can refer to behavior whereby coworkers step on their colleagues in the interest of getting ahead at all costs. On the other hand, office politics at its best can describe a dynamic of cooperation, not competition. When colleagues vary in their personality types, understanding and empathy are the keys to cooperation, which enhances office productivity. Introverts and extroverts differ starkly in how they communicate and resolve disputes. Learning about personality typology can be a solid step toward promoting a greater sense of team spirit in an office environment.
Judgers and Perceivers differ significantly in how they make decisions and approach their lives. Where Judgers prefer structure and routine, Perceivers thrive on spontaneity and possibilities. These differences in style can cause clashes in the workplace. Office politics often gets a bad rap for amounting to nothing more than a collection of cut-throat behaviors, whereby some people try to advance themselves at the expense of others. It needn't be that way, however. Office politics can be conceived as a system in which people work together to accomplish goals, and understanding personality typology as it applies to Judgers and Perceivers constitutes a great start.
Today, we have the second installment of our series on communication and personality type. Each week, we’ll look at two personality types and how best to communicate with people of these types. We’re taking on two types with opposite preferences in each post, to highlight the wide variation in how different personality types define “good communication.” If you missed the first installment, have a look at our tips for communicating with ESTPs and INFJs.