Thanksgiving is a happy time, full of family, food and fun. It is also known to kick off a season of holiday shopping, family obligations and other end of year activities that can induce STRESS. Stress is when we experience the out-of-character version of ourselves. It can cause us to appear to be irrational, out of control, unstable, and crazy. The book, In the Grip, references this behavior and is based on the personality type theory of Carl Jung. It introduces the inferior function-a usually hidden part of our personalities that emerges most dramatically during times of stress, fatigue, and illness.
Some Chronic Stress Reactions Include:
- Frequent expressions of anger
- Outbursts of emotion
- Withdrawal, avoidance of others
- Conviction that others dislike them
All types seem to benefit from a change of scene and physical exercise to get out of the grip. Additional type-specific helps and hindrances are available in the book, In the Grip,
Remember that stress doesn’t only impact us but, also impacts our colleagues, friends and family who surround us.
Recommended Responses to Others in Stress:
- Validate the concerns expressed
- Try to understand the point of view described
- Promise to think about, discuss with others, and see what you can find out about the issue at hand
- Promise to meet and discuss the issue at a specific time
Once you recognize when someone else might be in the grip of his or her inferior function, responding appropriately will:
- Keep you from making matters worse
- Help you respond in a constructive way
- Enable you to achieve enough distance to avoid triggering your own inferior function
In due time, we can learn to appreciate and use the new and unique information we gain from ourselves and others when we or they are in the grip of the other side. Knowing that these grip experiences are healthy and adaptive enables us to see them as temporary episodes from which we can benefit.
In the enlightening booklet, Using Type in Selling, Susan A. Brock details how to leverage knowledge from personality indicators to strengthen customer relations. This book was designed with the sales professional in mind. However, the tips are practical for any individual who wants to strengthen customer relationships. During every business transaction, you progress through 4 critical stages:
- Initiating the relationship
- Investigating needs
- Suggesting a course of action
- Obtaining agreement and closing
Every customer service and salesperson approaches these stages differently depending on their type and behavior pattern. When type is applied to a customer interaction, you will be enabled to do the following:
- Understand how customers are different
- Hear the customers’ needs and speak their “language”
- Build the necessary relationships
- Maintain loyalty and long-term customers
Though you will not know the psychological type preferences of your customers, knowledge of the type framework stills allows you to understand that:
Your customer’s preferences may be directly opposite your natural preferences.
Your customer’s preferences are clues to how this customer wants to be sold to.
- Some customer behaviors have nothing to do with their type preference.
Look for these behavioral cues to help gauge your customers’ preferences during a customer interaction.
Extraversion – talks to think, may interrupt or speak quickly
Introversion – pauses when answering or giving information, reflects silently, uses shorter sentences when communicating
Sensing – asks for step-by-step information, asks “what” and “how” questions
Intuition – talks in general terms, asks “why” questions
Thinking – appears to test you or your knowledge, follows a pattern of checking logic: “if this, then that”
Feeling – strives for harmony during the interaction, asks how others have resolved the situation
Judging – consistently on-time or early for appointments, wants to move through the process, impatient with overly long descriptions or procedures
Perceiving – may be late for appointments or lose track of time during appointments, generally won’t decide until the last moment, may seem to want space to make own decisions More information about how you can leverage type to improve customer relations can be found in the booklet, Using Type in Selling, by Susan A. Brock.
When studying the development of individuals, it is important to recognize the need to consider both their personality and the culture in which they have developed their personality type. Culture is likely to influence training with any personality assessment in the following ways:
- How people respond to completing a personality inventory
- How people react to the notion of individual differences
- How the professional explains the preferences and how the audience understands the explanations
- The design and delivery of the training program
If you plan to conduct a training session in a culture different from your own, you should gather information and think through the following three influences:
- Your type
- The normal training styles in your culture
- Information about the country and culture with which you will be working
It appears that every culture has preferred types or type preferences that are different for males and females. Below are creative ways to explain personality preferences when you are working in a culture very different from your own:
- State explicitly that your definitions and examples have been developed with your culture.
- Use them briefly, limiting idioms and jargon.
- Ask participants to identify examples of the preferences in there culture.
When you begin training in cultures different from your own, you will be afforded a truly humbling and enlightening experience.
When thinking about preferences, type, and type dynamics, know that no one type can be characterized as the best decision maker. Effective decision making requires the flexibility to shift between the Five Core Decision-Making Processes in response to real-life demands.
In the booklet, Introduction to Type® and Decision Making, Katherine W. and Elizabeth Hirsh provide a helpful and realistic guide in decision-making processes and aid in understanding the decision-making processes of others.
These Five Core Processes are crucial to do effective decision making:
Approach a decision-making opportunity
Generate Decision Options
Commit to a Decision Option
Implement a Decision
Reflecting on a Decision
In turn, these processes affect personality preferences in distinctive ways, such as the following:
When approaching a decision-making opportunity, extroverts are more likely to identify others who could be involved in the decision, while introverts will ensure they are involved in the decision.
People who prefer extraversion will mention all options that occur to them when generating decision options. On the other hand, introverts will mention only those options they are willing to pursue.
If committing to a decision option, an extrovert will notify others immediately when a decision has been made. Whereas, and individual who prefers introversion will neglect to notify others immediately when a decision has been reached.
Preferences for extraversion will include delegating liberally while implementing a decision, but delegation will be sparingly for introversion preferences.
During reflection on a decision, extroverts have a tendency to consider how they can change their environment, while introverts consider how they can change themselves.
Decision-making can be influenced by innumerable factors, including work environment and cultural identity.
Coaching can be defined as the art of guiding a person to identify and develop his/hers strengths, recognize and learn to compensate for or manage blind spots or developmental needs, and strategize for career and personal development.
Each coaching situation is different. However, the following general type and coaching process can be augmented based on available resources and past experiences:
• Assess Type
• Determine Strengths and Challenges
• Evaluate Individual Needs
• Asses Skills and Interests
• Develop Action Plan
Incorporating type preferences can add valuable perspective to a team, but the person may need to plan for coping with the stress being different can produce. Possible type tips for introverts and extroverts coping with differences are detailed below.
When you have a preference for Extraversion and your co-workers have a preference for Introversion, consider:
• Networking with others outside your team
• Asking team members to voice their ideas
• Paying attention to the written word
When you have a preference for Introversion and your co-workers have a preference for Extraversion, consider:
• Arriving at work early to take advantage of quiet time
• Planning private breaks throughout the day to collect your thoughts
• In meetings, voicing even partially thought-through perspectives
Personality type concepts bring a framework to the complex- and sometimes chaotic-interactions among people in the work world. Exploring the general characteristics and developmental needs of other types can lend understanding to differing work communication styles and sources of stress, while reinforcing the idea that everyone has blind spots and shortcomings and thus might benefit from coaching.
More information can be found in the Introduction to Type and Coaching book. This book is a planning tool for those involved in coaching others and a source of information about type and personal development for those being coached.