“Transforming annoyance into appreciation of others” (as one of my clients put it) is easier if you know and understand the differences in preferences and personalities. That’s true. Understanding yourself gives you context for understanding others. The more you know about yourself, the easier it is to have compassion for others because you recognize that no one is perfect and that we all have blind spots.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), I believe, is one of the best assessments for creating a framework for understanding yourself and others’ motivations, behavior, and needs. The MBTI is based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological type, which is a theory of personality based on preferences. When you understand your Type, you can manage yourself so that you are more fulfilled and effective while being less stressed.
Type has been very important for my personal and professional development. When I changed careers in 2002, Type helped me understand why my former career wasn’t a fit. Now it helps me better self manage as well as help clients build their own foundation for understanding.
I’ve noticed that many people marry their opposite or almost opposite Type. I suspect this happens not only because we are attracted to our opposites but because spouses (like colleagues) can cover each other’s blind spots. On the other hand, it also means that spouses approach things differently, which can cause friction. I know, hard to imagine a little friction in a marriage! The trick is to appreciate the differences rather than dismiss the other person as being off misguided or having poor judgment. This is true for marriages, teams and any work or personal relationships.
Better self-management affects the big decisions about career and the workplace. People report that they’re more satisfied when they choose career paths in which they are able to use their preferences or strengths. And while organizational culture doesn’t have to be the same person’s Type to be a fit for that person, people are more fulfilled when the job and the organizational culture support and value their contributions and strengths, which are rooted in their preferences.
In my coaching practice, clients reveal how hard they are on themselves for being challenged by certain aspects of their work or life. They’re hard on others, too, and this perpetuates a defeatist attitude and blocks effective teamwork. The upshot is that when a person moves from annoyance to acceptance of his or her own or one of the team member’s struggles, the person (and everyone) can focus on the solution.