business matters is very grateful to Franklin Templeton who hosted the event and provided a sandwich lunch for those attending .
To view the PowerPoint presentation which accompanied the talk, and hear a (42 minute) recording of David’s talk, use the icons at the foot of the page.
Following his previous talk on “Working to Your Strengths”, David Craigie unpacked more of the topic of “personality” and how understanding it can help us in our working lives, using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator as the model.
David started by commenting that presenting a “masterclass” in just over thirty minutes to a diverse audience was challenging and suggested that referring back to the previous talk, slides and recording and listening again might be a positive tactic to take. He indicated that this talk would be more “applied” than the first one. His own inclination is to ask “what can we do with this knowledge?” and the talk would reflect this. He outlined that, after a brief review, he would move on to clarify and expand each of the MBTI dimensions, look at how they interact and consider what this means in the “work” areas of stress and problem solving.
What is personality? David reiterated that it is a complex mix of characteristics. For example, introversion is not personality but only one of the aspects of a personality. He highlighted the potential benefits of using MBTI and also emphasised the fact that it should never be used as a recruiting or competency tool.
David briefly outlined the origin and mechanics of MBTI and drew our attention to the key point that, for the dimensions which are shown below, we will have preferences for which of the pair fits us best although we can work in both modes. Referring back to the “signature” demonstration which he had used in the previous talk he suggested something for each of us to try at home: brushing our teeth with the “other” hand than we would normally use and seeing how we can manage this although it requires greater thought and focus. Often the workplace will encourage certain preferences and these may not be the ones that we are comfortable with – thus we may find ourselves having to put in extra effort to parts of our job.
Extraversion (E) versus Introversion (I)
(how we are energised)
Sensing (S) versus Intuition (N)
(how we like to take in information)
Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F)
(how we make decisions)
Judging (J) versus Perceiving (P)
(how we like to relate to the world round about us)
David then went through each of the dimensions and expanded on the detail, explaining how they are demonstrated practically.
He reiterated that, in the business world, ESTJ is a favoured profile.
Moving to a slightly deeper level – MBTI is all about what we do with this information – David went on to discuss the interactions, and conflicts, between the types when dimensions combine. He moved to briefly discuss internal conflicts that can occur – for example a people loving introvert. He showed an example of an MBTI “head” (from opp.com) – with the characteristics that we would recognise ourselves possessing – and also the “stress head” showing those activities which will cause us stress. He suggested that going to the OPP website and looking at these can be very useful in understanding ourselves.
David moved on to how personality types develop and posed the question “nature or nurture?” He highlighted the possibility of parental influence and concerns that this can raise.
He highlighted the two pairs of middle dimensions – the mental functions – stating that they can be dominant, auxiliary, tertiary and inferior. They are, however, all important during the course of personality type development. In unpacking this so that we could better understand, David described how these interact by using a very interesting illustration of a car journey with the four dimensions being four passengers who contribute at different points in different ways. As we get older these different functions come into play to different extents. David illustrated this with two specific examples starting with the way that children play and then change over their life.
Another area where deeper understanding of MBTI can bear fruit is when we are stressed. The theory of type is that when we are slightly stressed we become a bigger example of ourselves, introverts retreating into themselves and extraverts talking more, for example. However, under extreme stress, we become “in the grip” of an inferior function and exhibit a complete reversal of personality type from normal. Behaviours change significantly and those around us will notice and may become concerned. Being aware of this and your response to stress is helpful and then we can try to find ways to get back to our normal status.
Lastly, David talked about problem solving – we will have two preferred functions and hence two blind spots. David talked through logic versus feeling, analysis versus intuition. It can be very effective in a team situation to allow people to play to their strengths.
Reviewing what had been a very rapid journey through the masterclass, David highlighted that knowing and understanding ourselves is vital as well as encouraging others to be themselves and play to their strengths rather than force-fitting them into personality type preferences that they are not comfortable with.
This had been a most valuable and illuminating session.
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