Chamber Chat - Myers Briggs

Feb 19

By Meg Moss

 

The Leadership Sanford class, spearheaded by the Sanford Area Growth Alliance Chamber of Commerce, recently held an overnight retreat in New Bern, NC. Occasionally getting away from the distractions of work and family allows us to focus on ourselves so we can inventory our strengths and weaknesses, and determine what is important to us.

 

There were two key focus areas for the retreat: learn from the folks in New Bern, and learn about ourselves.

 

The first stop for the Leadership program participants was a meeting with the New Bern-Craven County Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development and Visitor Services programs. We were able to compare and contrast our communities, and learn how they attract visitors and conferences to their convention center.

 

Secondly, each program participant took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is an introspective self-report questionnaire designed to indicate personality styles and psychological preferences in how people perceive the world, and make decisions. It is concerned with the valuable differences in people. People with preferences opposite to yours tend to be opposite to you in many ways. They are weak where you are strong, and vise-versa. Each type has its own set of strengths. No one preference is better than another.

 

More than a half century ago, the Myers Briggs research uncovered 16 distinct personality types. Understanding these types of personalities makes it easier for you to work productively with your colleagues. That is, of course, assuming you can identify which personality type each person is. If you are an employer, it may be beneficial to have your employees participate in a Myers-Briggs assessment in order to best understand how your team of employees can work together effectively.

 

Do you work for or with someone who drives you crazy -- and seems to do it on purpose? Well, guess what…you're probably driving him crazy too. But neither of you trying to irritate the other. Instead, you're probably rubbing against your opposite on the Myers Briggs personality test.

 

As we work in teams, it’s important to understand our own preferences, as well as the preferences of the other team members. The MBTI looks at four key areas and determines where your preferences lie: Extrovert verses Introvert; Sensing verses Intuition; Thinking verses Feeling; and Judging verses Perceiving.

 

The MBTI session at the Leadership Sanford retreat was led by MBTI facilitator Ann Doster. As we learned more about ourselves and the others in the class, we learned too, about how to work together with people who are our opposite.

 

Let’s take extroversion verses introversion for an example. Extroverts focus on external people and things, they are talkative, and actually “talk to think”, they have to experience things to understand them, and they prefer to be around other people. Introverts on the other hand focus on internal ideas and concepts, prefer to be alone, they are generally more reserved, and think things through before they speak. If an extrovert is constantly talking, it can physically drain the introvert. Meanwhile, the introvert’s silence is frustrating to the extrovert.

 

So what can you do to get along? According to an article on Monster about the MBTI, you can’t simply change your colleague's personality leaning. You can, however, try to start compromising with your opposite. That means both of you must take on a little temporary stress to establish and maintain an effective working relationship for the long haul. Try out the MBTI as a team-building exercise at your office and see how it can help you work better together as a team.



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