Have you ever wondered why you work very well with some colleagues, yet you seem to clash with others? Research indicates it has a great deal to do with individual personality type preferences. Everyone has different characteristics that make up their personality type, and some personalities work better than others. Your specific personality type may make it easy for you to work with one colleague and leave you grappling to deal with another.
Our personality types, combined with our different opinions, values, work ethics, and approaches, impact our personal and professional relationships. However, if you become aware of your personality type it will help you better observe the traits of those around you. This understanding also allows you to adapt your style to others, as well as provide them with information in a manner they will accept.
Myers-Briggs Personality Types
Perhaps the most famous personality assessment, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator offers great in-depth analysis of the primary personality preferences and tendencies (i.e. thinking vs. feeling, extraversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, etc.). Myers-Briggs breaks our personality types into 16 types, organized into four distinct categories, to include:
Analysts – embrace rationality, excelling in intellectual and technological pursuits.
- Architect (INTJ) – imaginative and strategic thinkers, with a plan for everything.
- Logician (INTP) – innovative inventors with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
Commander (ENTJ) – bold, imaginative and strong-willed leaders, always finding a way – or making one.
Debater (ENTP) – Smart and curious thinkers who cannot resist an intellectual challenge.
Diplomats – tend to be warm, caring, and generous individuals, shining in diplomacy and counselling
- Advocate (INFJ) – typically quiet and mystical, yet very inspiring and tireless idealists.
- Mediator (INFP) – poetic, kind and altruistic people, always eager to help a good cause.
- Protagonist (ENFJ) – charismatic and inspiring leaders, able to mesmerize their listeners.
- Campaigner (ENFP) – enthusiastic, creative and sociable free spirits, who can always find a reason to smile.
Sentinels – are cooperative and practical. They are grounded in their approach, which helps them feel comfortable with who they are, defining themselves by character and competence.
- Logistician (ISTJ) – practical and fact-minded individuals, whose reliability cannot be doubted.
- Defender (ISFJ) – very dedicated and warm protectors, always ready to defend their loved ones.
- Executive (ESTJ) – excellent administrators, unsurpassed at managing things – or people.
- Consul (ESFJ) – extraordinarily caring, social and popular people, always eager to help.
Explorers – possess a self-reliant mix of enthusiasm, quick thinking, and ingenuity. When combined, these characteristics can lead to impressive personal and professional accomplishments.
- Virtuoso (ISTP) – bold and practical experimenters, masters of all kinds of tools.
- Adventurer (ISFP) – flexible and charming artists, always ready to explore and experience something new.
- Entrepreneur (ESTP) – smart, energetic and very perceptive people, who truly enjoy living on the edge.
- Entertainer (ESFP) – spontaneous, energetic and enthusiastic people – life is never boring around them.
Luckily, you don’t need to take a personality assessment to understand your colleagues and yourself. You can take advantage of rewards in the workplace by simply becoming more respectful and self-aware of those who differ from you.
Understand Alternative Personality Types
We all have personality preferences. When we operate in these preferences, we are at our optimal and comfortable selves. On the other hand, functioning outside these boundaries requires more energy and time, and can negatively impact productivity and quality of work.
For example, if you prefer to work with someone who is an extrovert and straightforward, working with someone who is passive may not be the best fit. Understanding which personality types you work well with, and recognizing when you are working with an individual outside of your preferred comfort zone may improve your efficiency, productivity, and time management skills.
Understanding your personality can help you resolve conflicts before they begin. For example, if you tend to instantly accept responsibility for a problem, even when it is not your fault, you can train yourself to evaluate the situation before determining how to address it. Alternatively, if you know you are quick to react or respond to a problem, you can adjust your behavior to be more amenable to the situation. Ultimately if you resolve conflict a manner that does not align with your professional interests it can impede work efficiency.
Acknowledging how your personality is unique from your coworkers and how it interacts with other personality types provides an excellent opportunity to embrace diversity. Diversity in personality types adds to your work environment, collaborative efforts, and organization. Different personality types approach problems and solutions in a unique manner, and when combined effectively they can lead to increased productivity and innovation.
While we all have a distinct personality type we are born with, it can evolve and develop over time. We can choose to use our personality characteristics differently based on who we are interacting with and what experiences we are sharing.
By fully understanding your personality type, you can learn to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of the people around you. Accepting this truth about yourself and your colleagues can improve your ability to not only work more successfully with your coworkers but also with every relationship in your life.