Have you ever wondered why you work really well with some people and seem to clash with others? Why you can predict how some colleagues will react to situations and others leave you completely flummoxed?
Chances are it has a lot to do with individual personality type preferences.
Everyone has different preferences that make up their personality type, and some personalities work better together than others. Your particular personality type might make it really easy to work with one colleague and leave you struggling with another.
Our personality types — along with different work ethics, opinions, and approaches — make it difficult to get along perfectly with everyone all the time. However, being aware of your own personality style makes you more likely to observe the traits of those around you. This allows you to adapt your style to theirs or provide them with information in a way that will get their attention, which can go a long way in helping you understand yourself, as well as your colleagues!
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator offers great in-depth analysis into the primary personality preferences and tendencies — thinking vs. feeling, extraversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, etc.
However, you don’t need an assessment tool to better understand yourself and your co-workers. You can reap the following benefits simply be becoming more self-aware and respectful of those who differ from you.
Know your preferences. We all have our own psychological type preferences, and operating within these preferences typically allows us to be most efficient, effective, and our most comfortable selves. Conversely, operating outside these limits requires more time and energy and usually results in lower quality work. Understanding these boundaries — and knowing when you’re within or outside them — can improve your productivity, efficiency, and time management skills.
Avoid conflict. Understanding your personality type can diffuse conflicts before they arise. If you know you tend to have a knee-jerk reaction when a problem arises, you can adjust this behavior and be more receptive to the situation. Conversely, if you’re usually quick to accept responsibility for a problem — even if it’s not your fault — you can train yourself to be more analytical and evaluate the situation before determining how to address it.
Appreciate diversity. Recognizing how your personality type differs from and interacts with others’ types can give you a great appreciation for diversity and what it adds to your team, work environment, and company. Sometimes it’s really nice to have that outrageously creative mind helping you generate ideas for solving a problem when you’ve hit a roadblock yourself.
Find the right career. Your personality type plays a big role in whether you’re suited for a particular career, how well you perform your daily responsibilities, and even your overall job satisfaction. Understanding personality type helps you find the right career for you. For instance, if you are very extroverted, you likely won’t fare well in a position where you don’t interact with people. Meanwhile, an introvert probably isn’t going to be as satisfied in a customer service position.
Improve decision-making abilities. How you make decisions is based on your sensing versus intuition preference. If you are a sensing person, you’re more likely to feel out a situation before making a choice. You engage all five senses to gather the right information. If you’re more reliant on intuition, you will probably make a choice based on instinct. Tend to go with your gut? Try to better assess the choice at hand before making a decision. On the flip side, if you’re a sensing person, don’t over analyze the external factors to the point of paralyzing your decision making abilities altogether.
The theory behind personality type is that we are born with, live with, and die with our type. It will develop and evolve over time. We might choose to use it differently or apply it differently depending on our experiences. But it will usually remain the same throughout our lives. By understanding personality types more fully, you can learn to appreciate your strengths and recognize your weaknesses, as well as those of the people around you.
Accepting this about yourself and those around you can not only improve your ability to work more successfully with your colleagues but everyone you encounter.
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.