Wednesday, 3 June 2015

MBTI Personality and the team - Value the Person # 2

Sensing – Intuition (collecting & generating information)

Briefly, Sensing (‘S’) uses the senses to take in information and identify the appropriate details. Intuition (‘N,’ as the letter ‘I’ had already been used) seeks to find meanings, possibilities, and relationships associated with the information being received.

If a person strongly identifies with S, they might be more oriented toward the here and now, real time if you will, sometimes drawing on historical reference points. They can be practical, preferring situations ‘they can get their hands around.’ They may be uncomfortable making a decision until they think they’ve gathered enough information to understand. They might prefer using current skills to learning new ones. Before doing something new, they want to know ‘how.’

Ns on the other hand, see things as they can be. They may make seemingly un-related (to the S) associations, and look like they are not paying attention. They may prefer to learn new skills rather than use existing ones. They may be more at home with the abstract than the concrete. They might use generalizations. In doing something new, they want to know ‘why.’

Team setting example: At a meeting, a person suggested a course of action that might be helpful. The S response was to begin asking questions to better understand to see if there was agreement: what was involved, did they have the money in the budget, was it in agreement with the team’s assignments, and so forth. The N response was to wonder why that person always said things like that, looking at the pattern if you will.

Coaching tips: We might explore how wedded an S is to the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” concept. Often more comfortable with what they know and with their previous experience, they might not be sensitive to subtle changes with broad implications, i.e. it might be broke and they don’t know it yet. We would teach the S to ask questions of the N to draw out what they meant by a general statement rather than dismiss it out of hand. I call it connecting the dots even though they may appear random and not associated with each other.

For the Ns, we’d counsel them to think about something important before jumping to conclusions. We’d test their assumptions to see if they really are similar (is the perception appropriate for the information at hand). We’d teach them to prepare to make an important point by assembling relevant examples beforehand instead of relying on generalization, do their homework if you will. We’d encourage them to use existing skills when relevant to the task at hand. We’d encourage them not to change simply for change’s sake and to recognize the effect their constant changes (in search of a better way, a better understanding) can have on the S.


Again, we’d encourage each (both S & N) to respect and draw on the other. S can help the N avoid a fatal – and sometimes obvious – flaw; the N can help the S see the possibilities where incomplete information is available. The S can help fix today’s problems; the N can see tomorrow’s trends. The S can help you learn from the past; the N can help see the future. The S can help define the ‘how’ aspects; the N can help identify the ‘why’ aspects.