26 Feb Understanding Personality as a Tool, Part 2: The Advanced Toolkit
I am pleased to welcome Gary Benton back to the blog today. Gary Benton is a Myers-Briggs practitioner who recently started up his own business, Reunite LLC. I love to use Myers Briggs in my business and with my employees. To learn more about Myers Briggs and Reunite, check out Gary’s website: Reuniteperson.com.
Last week we began talking about ways to use Myers Briggs practically, as a tool. This might seem like a strange subject for the “personal development” section of the blog, but I hope that a theme emerges over these two posts: sometimes we do ourselves the greatest service by looking outwards and learning about those around us. Loving, serving, and cooperating with people is a mark of character and maturity: these are practical ways to practice the discipline. Let’s jump back in.
- Find out who gets you
We all know that personal growth is greatly fostered in community, but many of us learn to hide our most treasured opinions, ideas, and visions. They’re just too personal to risk them getting criticized or written off by people who don’t truly understand us. You can use Myers Briggs to single out the people worth trusting with that information. Perhaps surprisingly, the goal is not to find someone of your own type. Rather, what you are looking for is your ideal complement, someone whose list of functions (remember the functional stack from last week) are the flipside of your own. This would mean if you are an INTJ finding either an ENTP or ENFP (their extroverted intuition complements your introverted intuition). If you are an ISFP find an ESFJ or ENFJ (their extraverted feeling complements your introverted feeling) and so forth. To simplify, these are people who are not like you, but who get you. They are the types most likely to encourage and provide helpful feedback, and they are worth trusting with your best creations.
- Help someone out
Another nuance of Myers Briggs theory is the idea of an inferior function, which stands at number 4 on our functional stack. We all have a strange relationship with our inferior function. Not only does it stand barely above the brink of our subconscious, but it’s the exact opposite of our primary mode of living. So someone who leads with Intuition would have inferior Sensing. Someone who leads with Feeling, inferior Thinking. There are other technicalities to this idea that I won’t get into here. Basically, it’s the part of our personality we tend to struggle the most with, as we need it to function but have trouble getting ahold of it—it’s the fuel for our personality that we have some difficulty accumulating. This can lead to “flips” where an intuitive will fixate on details, or a thinker become wildly emotional. Learning someone’s inferior function is a great way to bring out the best in them. Give the visionary some concrete details to stoke the fires of their imagination. Present a conflict of values to the deep thinker for them to puzzle through logically. This will take some serious study into the workings of personality, but it also will provide the opportunity to care for someone at a very personal level.
- Do a Myers Briggs Step 2 with your team
Did you know that your personality functions can be broken down into even more specific categories? “Step 2” is a recent development in Myers Briggs Assesment that, by focusing on how our personalities actually manifest as behavior, allows your team to get into the practical outcomes of having your unique mix of people. For example, a hallmark of Thinker types is to be questioning, while Feelers tend to test as more accepting. But many cross over, for various reasons that might be related to their upbringing or their adapted habits. Doing a step 2 with a Myers Briggs professional is a great way to find the holes in your team’s preferences and look for what might be going overlooked in your performance or who might be a constantly-misunderstood outlier in terms of some specific behavior. For people who want specific, applicable takeaway, this is a great next step.
Thank you for reading, and I hope I have at least stoked your interest in the possible reaches and applications of using Myers Briggs in your work and relationships. For more information or to request consulting, visit reuniteperson.com!
Join me every Friday for tips on investing in yourself and others.