Sunday, 31 May 2015

MBTI Personality and the Team - Value the person # 1

Extraversion – Introversion (attention and energy focus)

Briefly, Extraversion (or ‘E’ in MBTI shorthand) has its focus on the outer world and gets energized from interacting with others. Their energy drains when they are alone. Introversion (‘I’), on the other hand, has its focus on the inner world and gives up energy when interacting with others. Their energy recharges when they are able to separate from others into a private space or activity.

Team setting example: As a small team of 8 people interacted, I noticed that two people seemed to enthusiastically do most of the talking while the others watched. Even when they asked a question, seemingly wanting to get feedback, they started talking again when no one immediately entered into the discussion. I also took note of two other people who rarely spoke in the group setting but had subtle body language (took a deep breath, leaned forward, intensely watching the person speaking, and so forth) suggesting that they had something to contribute but "couldn’t get a word in edgewise."

Coaching tips: We might explore how much “air time” the Es use at a team meeting. Strong Es can dominate a discussion, and Is are often willing to let them do so. We might teach the strong E listening skills. Strong Is assume that an E is listening when not talking, but the reality might be that they are simply waiting for you to take a breath so they can talk again. If an E team leader needs feedback at a meeting later in the week, we’d advise that they tell Is a few days earlier so they (the Is) can sort out their internal dialogue and be ready to share their thoughts with others. We’d also teach the Es to look for the body language of the Is - more subtle than the Es what you see is what you get, but present nonetheless – and invite them into the discussion when they have a point to make or feedback to share. Of course, they (the Es) have to ask and wait, taking care to not start talking again if met with initial silence.

We might encourage the Is to speak up as they often make rich observations. They sometimes assume that others see things like they do (“it is so obvious that I shouldn’t have to tell you”), so we’d urge them to test out their thoughts with questions of others for validation or clarification. We might also encourage them to break into the E conversation flow, even if not invited, when they feel they have something to say that needs to be heard.

We’d encourage both Es & Is to respect and draw on the other. The Es can get the Is moving; the Is can help the Es avoid a fatal error by moving too quickly. The Es can break the ice; the Is can complete the sculpture. The Es can present the argument; the Is can craft it.