In March, Alpina Publisher will publish a book written by the best-selling authors of Why We Are, Otto Kroeger and Janet Theusen, in collaboration with Haile Rutledge. The new book Why We Are Like This at Work continues to focus on Myers-Briggs typology, but now the authors explore how conditional typology of others can help improve the atmosphere in the team. “Snob” publishes an excerpt
The importance of the human factor
“Do you mind doing something new?”
We all act with the best of intentions. Almost everyone, probably, sincerely agrees that it is important to be open and honest, accept the characteristics of other people and keep up with the times in our rapidly changing world. If we asked you: “Will you be honest with us?” or “Could you do something new?” you might say, “Of course!” And, most likely, they would really think so.
But life, as we well know, is not always so simple.
To accept the fact that we are different is difficult even for people of the broadest views. We often respond to differences in opinion, behavior, appearance, or whatever else by labeling ourselves. “He works like a draft horse.” “She has a boneless tongue.” “He’s skinny as a pole.” And so on and so forth. Giving nicknames is a convenient way to celebrate the qualities of another person, because it’s so easy to do!
In no other area of life are nicknames so tenacious as in a work team. Colleagues, bosses, subordinates and clients constantly give reasons for this, and we willingly endow them with nicknames, out loud or mentally. An employee who constantly bursts into your office, wanting to say something and not thinking about how happy you are with his invasion, is a balabol. A client who strives to read every word in a document twice is a bore. A colleague who always intends to do things his own way is a stubborn one. And the boss who never praises you, despite all your diligence, is a heartless beast. And from morning to evening you sculpt labels on everyone every day.
Each person deals with difficulties in their own way. Casual, relaxed behavior is perceived by some as a lack of motivation. Your habit of thinking out loud is irritating to someone. It is important for one to keep up with the changes, while the other prefers not to rush things. Such differences can lead to mutual misunderstanding, distortion of information and even hostility. In this case, communication will become difficult, and an unhealthy atmosphere will probably reign in the organization – absenteeism and even alcohol abuse will begin. If this situation is left unattended, the morale of the team will suffer, the efficiency of the work and the profit of the organization will decrease.
In the business world, our good intentions are tested as our duties and positions change. Even any cultural and gender characteristics can be under attack. Besides, nowadays a person rarely stays in one company for more than a few years; we are literally expected to change places of work and even directions of activity. It seems that everything in a large team is constantly changing: technology, language, job descriptions, our ethical standards, and sometimes even ourselves. Whether you are at the top, in the middle, or at the very bottom of the organizational hierarchy, tasks become more complex, the speed of all processes is faster, and tomorrow comes faster than ever before.
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The ability of some companies to survive and even thrive in the face of such instability is directly dependent on how effectively employees and management interact with each other. We do not mean that you must necessarily exchange opinions or become best friends with superiors, colleagues and subordinates. We are talking about how to use many individual differences for good, turning them into powerful tools, so that our features do not become a cause for controversy, and good intentions really bring benefits.
We are talking about typology.
Dividing people into types is a constructive response to the inevitable labeling. They are completely natural: that is how we distinguish one person from another. Type science, on the other hand, is based on the idea that, if we are to use labels, we should do it more skillfully, objectively, and constructively. Such a thoughtful, scientifically based system has been used for more than 40 years to improve the interaction between people and organizations. This system is suitable for a company of any size and a wide range of organizational tasks: from hiring and firing employees to building a marketing and sales system. Even if you don’t get too deep into theory, Type Science helps bosses lead, employees work, managers manage, and salespeople sell. Moreover, using this system is very exciting.
As you dive into type science, you’ll notice that its application is by no means limited to workflows. It can be as varied and rewarding as the people you meet every day: friends, lovers, spouses, parents, children, neighbors, and just strangers. (Our previous book, Why Are We Like This?, is an introduction to Type Science and describes the many everyday situations in which it can improve understanding and communication.) Through consultations, trainings, and seminars, we helped someone build a career; solve long-standing problems with parents or children, put finances in order, or even begin to control eating habits. We apply Type Awareness in all kinds of relationships and situations, including with friends, colleagues, children, pets, and even in preparation for our own wedding.
Of course, there is no need for this, but chances are that the more you use type science, the more reasons you will find to use it. Some even do it too often, although this is nothing to worry about. Over time, we realized that one of the great advantages of Type Science is that it is a psychological system that helps explain normal rather than abnormal behavior. There are no bad or good types, there are only differences between them. Type-science recognizes these differences and helps to use them constructively, avoiding controversy. It allows you to objectively evaluate other people’s actions, to which we often treat biased. In the aspect of typology, someone’s habit of being constantly late for meetings and meetings, for example, can be considered as a typological characteristic, and not as a personal challenge or disadvantage. A person who by nature is not inclined to strictly adhere to instructions deserves indulgence. In short, Type Science transforms labeling from a negative, destructive tactic that leads to alienation and distrust into a positive technique for creating a harmonious atmosphere of cooperation both at work and outside of it.
Sally Page: The Storyteller. Excerpt from debut novel
A Brief History of Personality Typology Theory
Type-science appeared more than 60 years ago when the Swiss-born psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung proposed that human behavior is not spontaneous, but quite predictable; hence it can be classified. Initially, many of his colleagues disagreed with Jung, because he used categories (for which he invented names) that were not based on mental illness, abnormalities, or pathological drives. On the contrary, Jung argued that seemingly obvious differences in behavior are the result of preferences associated with the basic functions that people perform during life. These preferences are manifested in the early years, forming the basis of personality. As Jung said, they form the basis of attraction or aversion to people, tasks, and events throughout life. (Jung’s “Psychological Types” brilliantly expounds the basic principles of his classification. However, unless the reader is a serious student of psychological typing or a masochist, this book is unlikely to interest him.)
Fortunately, Jung’s work was not in vain: two women, both not psychologists, became very interested in the idea of classifying people according to behavior. One of them, Katherine Briggs, already at the beginning of the 20th century, independently of Jung, began to create a classification based on differences in lifestyle. Simply put, she came to the conclusion that different people have different attitudes towards life. When Jung’s work was published in English in 1923, Briggs abandoned her research and became a devoted student of Jung’s. Together with her extremely gifted daughter Isabelle Briggs-Myers, she in the 1930s. studied and developed methods for describing these differences. Spurred on by the onslaught of World War II, and by observing how many people in wartime had to perform tasks beyond their abilities, these two women set out to develop a psychological tool that would scientifically explain behavioral differences according to Jung’s attitude theory. This is how the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator appeared. His main task was to identify individual attitudes, which helps to use the differences between people more constructively. Since the 1980s, largely due to the extraordinary achievements of this mother-daughter team, Jung’s theory has grown in popularity. The Myers-Briggs personality type indicator is one of the most widely used psychological tools today. According to Consulting Psychologists Press, which publishes the indicator, more than 2 million people used it in 1990 alone. The test has been translated into Japanese, Spanish, French, German and many other languages.
The positive, people-oriented nature of Type Science made it an excellent tool in the business environment for testing employees in the 1990s – in those years, personnel was seen as a key component to the success of any organization. And today, investing in human resources helps build relationships with customers, suppliers, and employees. These relationships are the building blocks of today’s successful companies.
Pay attention to your organization. It is likely that now its leaders are more than ever betting on the use of information and ensuring the comfort of all team members. For the effective implementation of these tasks, it is important to establish good relationships in the company and teamwork, take care of the motivation of subordinates and their willingness to cooperate. This focus on interpersonal criteria requires the ability to understand people around you, managers and colleagues, as well as customers and …