Goal setting – and your ability to do it successfully – often hinges on what energizes you, how you take in information, what motivates you, and how you get things accomplished. And all of these things tie directly into your personality type.
There are 16 different personality types in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The 16 types are a combination of eight different letter combinations. These 16 types can also be broken down into four basic temperaments. When it comes to achieving your goals, your personality type may help or hinder you. It’s important for you to know where and how.
To get a better handle on your specific temperament as a starting point for understanding how you are wired, click here to take this self-assessment. Then read on to learn how to use yours to your benefit when it comes to goal setting!
E – Extraversion: If you are energized by being around people and social settings, then you’re likely an extrovert. And you need to take the following into account when you’re setting goals.
- For extroverts the process of goal setting is done the same way you do everything else – by talking through it. Goal setting for extroverts is usually a group experience. You need to think out loud, which can drive our introverted “I” counterparts crazy. (I’m an “E,” so I speak from personal experience on this one!) If you know this about yourself, enlist an accountability partner, coach, mentor, or a friend or two to have this discussion with you.
- If you’re an “E,” it’s especially important to put your goals in writing. This will be really helpful if your executive or boss is an introvert because it gives him or her time to reflect and process the information before discussing it with you.
- Make sure to practice your listening skills. This will help those around you give you some good feedback in the goal-setting process as well.
I – Introversion: If you are energized by calm settings and quiet time to reflect and think, then follow these tips during your goal-setting process.
- For introverts, the process of goal setting is done in a more reflective manner. You need time to think about and reflect on your goals to the best stuff. Allow for this quiet reflection in your goal setting process.
- If you’re an “I” who works with an “E” boss, make sure he or she understands you need this time to consider ideas for your performance goals. Just because you’ve talked about them doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve settled on them if you’re an “I.” Eliminate some frustration by making it clear that you’ll need to meet and finalize your goals once you’ve had that time to fully think through them.
S – Sensing: If you gather data and information in a more hands-on manner using your five senses and prefer the practical and realistic, then here’s what you need to consider when setting goals.
- Sensors prefer goals that are simple and attainable. Practical, down-to-earth goals. Attainable means that there is enough challenge in the goal to inspire and motivate, but not so much challenge that it seems absurd.
- Sensing people need to know what’s going to be accomplished with the goal before the goal is set. Then there must be some tangible evidence that the goal can be reached.
- If you’re an “S,” don’t lose sight of the “big picture” by focusing on the details. Look at the whole puzzle, not just the individual pieces, and see how it all fits together.
N – iNtuition: If you gather data and information in a more theoretical manner and by trusting your gut instinct, then these will help you with your goal-setting process.
- Those who use their intuition prefer to not bother with sensing. You want to look at the future in terms of your far-reaching impact. The nitty-gritty of goal setting often seems dull.
- “Ns” need goals that are inspirational, challenging, and set within a conceptual framework. For “Ns,” there is no motivation or movement without inspiration, so goals need to be a broad based idea that will lift you to a higher level.
- Intuitives do not want goals that are too simple or clear because they are considered to be obvious. And the obvious need not be planned – it will take care of itself in the mind of an intuitive. So the purpose of a goal is to go beyond what is already being done. Therefore, if a goal sounds a bit out of reach, it’s better to try for it even if you fail.
- Intuitives have an ongoing quest to “dream the impossible dream.” But keep in mind, you still have to be able to attain the goal. Intuitives don’t always pay attention to the practical realities of their plans. So pay attention to this if you’re an “N.”
T – Thinking: If you approach decision making in an objective and firm-minded, problem-first-people-second manner, then this is what you need to consider when setting your goals.
- For thinkers, a goal must be the result of an exhaustive thought process. Goals must reflect the “best there is.” So build this into your process. Don’t try to do it on the spot just to get it done — allow for the time to think.
- “Ts” are driven by the what and how behind the goal. What is to be achieved? What good is to come from it? How will it fit into the rest of my life?
- “Ts” can be committed to goals but not necessarily in agreement with them. You need to be aware of this so you don’t get caught off guard and agree to goals that you disagree with.
- Don’t forget to consider the people side of the equation. Keep in mind, others may be affected by the goals you are proposing.
F – Feeling: If you approach decision making in a subjective, fair-hearted, people-first-problem-second manner, then this is what you need to know about your goal-setting process.
- For feelers, goals must reflect a concern for others – not just themselves. Feelers want the most and sometimes the best for everyone. You need to be especially careful not to set goals that someone else wants you to set just because they will help him or the department. Your goals need to align with what you want and need, too.
- Don’t take things personally. When your boss criticizes or critiques your goal or idea, don’t view it as a personal attack or think it’s the wrong goal. It’s OK for others to disagree with your goals.
J – Judging: If you approach the outside world around you in a structured, scheduled, and controlled manner, then your preference is probably judging. Don’t confuse this with being judgmental. They are not the same. If you’re a “J,” here’s what you need to do when setting your goals.
- “Js” don’t need a formal process to set goals. It’s already a natural part of their life. Each day brings a new list of goals, including crossing everything off the list.
- “Js” want goals explicitly defined so all involved can agree to them. Once that process is complete, it’s complete. Then it’s time to get on with tackling the goals.
- If you’re a “J”, be willing to listen to alternatives. It’s easy to think you’re right, but there may be other views that you should also entertain. You need to set aside sufficient time in the goal-setting process to consider all the options before reaching a conclusion.
P – Perceiving: If you approach the outside world around you in a flexible, spontaneous, adaptive, inquisitive manner, then here are a few tips are for you as it pertains to the goal setting process:
- Goal setting for perceivers is an unfolding process with different levels of agreement. Goals are always emerging. And while most perceivers would agree that you need goals to be successful, the goals are really only guidelines that are open to reevaluation at any given time.
- Interestingly, a perceiver’s success rate is not significantly different from a judger’s. You are equally capable of reaching your goals — your methodology is just very different.
- As a perceiver, you have to keep yourself from procrastinating. Enlist the accountability partner and review your goals on a regular basis. Also, give yourself a self-imposed deadline to think about new information. Then commit to making a decision instead of letting it linger and not setting your goals.
The best goals in the world can go nowhere if they don’t appeal to your personality differences. Don’t try to force yourself to set goals the way your boss or manager does if that’s not who you are. Develop a process that works for you. Educate those around you about how you function best and enlist their support in the goal-setting process. If you do all these things, your goals will all have check marks next to them – and you can get on with setting new ones!
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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.