2009-03-16

And when the rain falls down, it Feels Like A Holiday


I'm off work this week, mainly to take advantage of how I have Paddy's day off, and to better exploit the upcoming short weeks (i.e. the two 4-day weeks in a row around easter).

Much and all as it's my job to make nice with folks these days, I'm still one of these at heart, and every couple of months, I need a week or so of 'cave time'. Any plans I make during this week tend to get blown off, because the allure of just spending time with myself is pretty non-obvious and strong.

I used to travel during these weeks, but as the amount of travel I did with work increased, I found it more and more draining to do the airport thing on time that's supposed to be my own (I'm pretty possessive about my time at the best of times). I travel half-way around the world every three months or so, so that's quite enough for me, thanks.

I had some leadership/management coaching recently which changed my mind ever-so-slightly about personality profiling and suchlike. I think a lot of folks who poo-pooh it just haven't been exposed to enough people. It's only when you spend enough time with someone who's fundamentally different from you that you realise that these profiles are sometimes actually accurate. Most of the time, people eschew people who are radically different, which gives them the assumption that everyone is like them. Also, people hate being put into boxes. I know I do.

However! I do think that stuff like MBTI can be a little dangerous if used incorrectly. It certainly shouldn't be used to assign people to tasks, deem people suitable for jobs, or anything of the like. It's a generally useful means of dicovering the general type of person someone is. If someone's an ENFP and someone else is an INTJ, you're not going to be able to make value judgements based on their abilities. It's also really really hard to truly fake the personality of someone with a radically different MBTI than yourself. It's not just a case of putting on a loud, perky voice and asking people how they feel. It's a profound change of how your brain works when it comes to other people.

MBTI is also no indicator whatsoever of your ability to do anything or not. It's about as relevant as blood type. What is is useful for is as a mind exercise when managing -- if you categorise people (okay, if you psychanalyse people) and bucket them based off Meyers-Briggs' handy shorthand, you get a better idea of styles you can use to better motivate and get through to a person. However, it's no replacement for intuition. The best managers Just Know.

I feel especially subject to categorisation this week, of course, since I'm doing a stereotypically introverted thing. Your mileage may vary, not valid where prohibited.

3 comments:

  1. So what are you then, an INTP?

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  2. ISTJ, IIRC. Well, right now. People do change.

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  3. I have been acutely aware that the traits I was told I had when I did personality profiling were at work as I moved around in my company. I just did the test again now and got INTJ - although I think it came out as something different last time.

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