This program is called Making the Most of your Personal Potential in Teams and Groups . This means that you will be considering what you have to offer when working in teams and groups and looking at ways to make the best contribution. Throughout the workshop we will be talking about how you prefer to work and that means where your preferences are all operating with others. Right now think about what it’s like to write with the other hand, the hand you don’t normally write with. Trainer Note - You might want to get them to actually do that. Get them to sign their name using the “wrong” hand and then ask them to describe what it feels like. How would you describe that experience? Most people would say it’s awkward unnatural and the writing looks almost childish. But that doesn’t mean you can not write with that hand it’s just that you prefer to write with your “normal” hand. That’s what we mean by preferences - how you prefer to work and the habits you have built during your working life. We will look at a number of dimensions and each has two extremes. The reality is most of us could operate in a way that fits either end - but over the years we’ve developed one style or preference more than the other. This workshop isn’t necessarily about changing anything. But you might consider, as you review your habits and preferences, that some may be worth another look -- that’s entirely up to you.
The objectives of this workshop are 1 - To consider how to maximise your personal potential and contribution -- that’s what we’ve just been talking about 2 - To help you understand your own and other preferences when working in teams or groups -- so this is about working together and considering differences and different contributions 3 - To learn and clarify the language of MBTI -- that stands for Myers Briggs Type Inventory-- and that’s the name of the questionnaire we ask you to complete before the workshop. They use particular words and terms to describe preferences and we want to help you learn that language as a kind of shorthand for describing how different people have different preferences. 4 - To explore the implications of your preferences and how to better interact with others -- at the heart of all of this we are looking at how to work together better. So when we talk about “the implications of your preferences” we mean how your preferences affect the way you work with other people and how you can find ways to make that easier and better.
So a brief word about the history of Myers Briggs - This all started with the famous psychologist Carl Jung. His extensive work on human behaviour was the foundation. Katharine Briggs was not a psychologist. She was just interested in what made people different -- and she developed her own model based on her life experience. Then one day she read Jung’s book and was delighted to discover that his work both matched and extended her ideas. Her daughter Isabel Myers shared this enthusiasm and this became her lifelong campaign. She too was not a psychologist by training but she was an extraordinary woman. Her mother taught her mostly at home and so she hardly attended school. Her first experience of formal education was at college. Her interest, like her mother’s, was to find ways to help people make better choices in life. The development of her instrument (the MBTI) happened over many years. She realised that she did not have the experience and qualification to develop psychological instruments -- so she apprenticed herself to Edward Hay who was both a trained psychologist and the personnel manager of one of the largest banks in Philadelphia. Some of you may have heard of Hay consulting -- that was him. With his help she was able to fully develop her instrument and gain credibility in the professional psychology world. A bizarre fact is that when Isabel’s instrument was first published she was not actually qualified to administer it in the US.
Most people know Myers Briggs by the four letter code that is a shorthand way for describing their type or preference. Extraversion v Introversion - This looks at where you get your energy from and where you focus your energy. Some people enjoy the buzz of their surroundings and are energised by conversations, discussions, and all those things going on around them. Others are energised from within -- they prefer quieter surroundings and listening to their Thinking rather than other people. Sensing v Intuition -- people gather data and information in different ways. Some do it literally through their senses -- sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing -- others tend to notice more subtle things such as what a room feels like rather than looks like. Like the other preferences most of us can experience both. But some people will have a stronger leaning towards one end or the other. Thinking v Feeling -- this dimension looks at what we consider when making a decision. With a Thinking preference we would see “right” as logical. With a Feeling preference “right” would be what’s right for people, their Feelings and their values. People with a Feeling preference take more notice of what people think and believe but, as we’ll see, that doesn’t make them “soft” it just means that their decisions are more driven by values than simple logic. Judging v Perceiving -- those with a judging preference value outcomes objectives and structure. People with a perceiving preference like to keep things open and explore possibilities. As we’ll see later this means that planning takes on a very different form if you have a judging rather than a perceiving preference. By the way judging has nothing to do with being judgemental… it’s about preferring to come to a judgement quickly rather than spend time collecting more data.
The Myers Briggs organisation has very clear principles which govern the way the MBTI and sessions like these are administered. The MBT I measures type preferences not personality traits -- it is not designed as a tool for measuring psychological fitness or mental ability. There is no right or wrong in any of these preferences and both the questionnaire and any descriptions are neutral or non-judgmental. The MBTI questionnaire is voluntary and no one should be forced to take one. The information generated by the questionnaire or any discussions is confidential and remains your personal, private property. The MBTI is not a selection tool and cannot be used for that purpose -- either in selecting for a job at the interview or as a means of assessing capability. And over arching principle in this work is that people are their own best judge of their type. Although the questionnaire has produced a four letter code this does not mean that you have to agree with it or that necessarily it reflects your preference. Think of it as a starting point to examine your tendencies or preferences. Many, indeed most, find the description accurate but if you consider one of the other types or preferences more like you than what the questionnaire says work with that one. The Myers Briggs organisation insists that people get the opportunity to explore what the questionnaire results say in a feedback session like this one. They will not allow their licensed products to be completed online and then just send out as documents. This workshop will give you the opportunity to contact and contrast your questionnaire results with your own thoughts and with how others see theirs.
Extraversion versus Introversion Remember this dimension is about where you get your energy from and where you direct your energy. People with a preference for Extraversion energise from external sources and those with a preference for introversion tend toward internal power resources. This also means that your attention in general is directed either more towards the outside or towards the inside. This also shows in how the two preferences operate. Those with an extroversion preference will often seem to be moving and taking action more whereas those with an introversion preference may tend to sit and think. So those who energise from the outside preferred variety and action whilst those with a preference for introversion like to concentrate in a quiet atmosphere. People who tend towards extraversion notice and listen to what’s going on around them, whilst the introversion preference shows itself in more inner listening. Energy is at the heart of this by mention -- and the clearest distinction is shown in a preference between energising with others (for example bouncing ideas off other people and working and Thinking in groups) versus finding energy from within and preferring to work and think alone. Perhaps a one word description of the difference here would be whether you see yourself as “interactive” or “self-contained”. Are you happier working and Thinking as you interact with other people or does this work better when you pay attention to your inner thoughts?
The next two dimensions together are known as the functions. These two-dimensions illustrate how you operate when gathering data and making decisions or solving problems. Gathering data is known as Perceiving and the two ends of the dimension for this function are known as Sensing (which means gathering data using your senses) and Intuition where you gather data through hunches, imagination, and other means. The Judging function is described on the Thinking to Feeling dimension. At the Thinking end decisions are made using logical reasoning and at the Feeling end personal values and emotional aspects are considered. Neither of these is a better or worse way of making decisions. Remember one of the Myers Briggs principles is no right or wrong. The combination of these two dimensions is also important. Those people with Intuition and Thinking, for example, are likely to notice and take account of patterns and trends in the data whereas those with Sensing and Thinking will work with what’s on the paper -- nothing more.
The Perceiving functions are about gathering data or taking in information Sensing People with a tendency towards Sensing like to focus on the realities and the here and now. Faced with something that isn’t working they are interested in fixing it or solving the issue… and to solve a problem they like to assemble the facts and work towards a conclusion. With their attention on the here and now their interest is in maintaining the status quo and getting it to work. Intuition At the other end of the dimension of the Perceiving function those with a preference for Intuition like to consider what might be rather than what is here right now. As they look for connections and meanings more than just reading the numbers. They are interested in inventing things rather than just fixing what’s broken -- and much more interested in tomorrow (the future) than today (the present). … and when they set about inventing they will begin with a big picture idea and fill in detail later rather than collect together what is known all the available facts. So those with a tendency towards Intuition are much more likely to be focused on changing rather than maintaining - and looking at the future rather than the present.
Thinking versus Feeling This dimension is called the judging function because it deals with coming to a decision, an outcome, or a judgement. Thinking So when it comes to making a decision of those with a Thinking focus will look at the task or objective and will use logic to analyse what needs to be done. … and with a focus on logic, there’s likely to be a tendency towards being critical if things don’t add up or seem illogical. The objective focus also means that they will employee more impersonal principles and concepts to establish what is the right thing to do. When working with others they value professionalism and cognitive ability (good thinking skills) and will look for mutual respect for each other’s knowledge and intelligence. Feeling Those people with a Feeling preference will focus on the way that people interact and will consider human values and emotions to understand the situation and make a “good” decision. With their focus on how people feel more than technical precision that they are more likely to say “well done” or “good job” whereas those with a Thinking preference are more likely to scan the document for correct grammar or punctuation. When working with others, those with a Feeling preference look for harmony and supportive working relationships - and are likely to do things and make decisions which encourage these.
The final dimension is known as lifestyle because it describes how you tend to structure your life and your time. The two ends of the spectrum or dimension are judging and perceiving. At the judging end life is about getting things settled in a structured way. Those with the judging preference like to plan ahead and know what’s coming. Deadlines provide a way of structuring time and those with a judging preference will plan with the deadline in mind and make an early start in working towards that deadline. Their surroundings and environment are likely to be organised so that they can achieve what they want to achieve in an orderly and structured way. Those with a perceiving preference will prefer to let things unfold in a spontaneous way. They prefer to “plan as you go” and will feel restricted by fixed schedules. Deadlines have a different meaning for those with a perceiving preference. They are a fact of life but not a signal to start working. One of the clearest indicators of those with a perceiving preference is lots of projects happening at once and lots of stress as deadlines approach. This doesn’t mean that the deadline will be missed -- just that most of the work will happen in the closing days or hours. Those with a perceiving preference may well carry their plans and schedules in their head -- so they may not look organised to the outside world but have internal structures and schedules.
Making the Most of your Personal Potential in Teams and Groups