At lunch today, my friend and I were discussing our kids and their different personalities.  As long as I have known her,  I have been impressed with her unique ability to work with people no matter what their personality is.  She was fantastic at navigating the political landscape when we worked together and was happy to do it.  I, on the other hand, found it incredibly frustrating.  I was also frustrated by her ability to take it all in stride and not get ruffled and I so wanted to be able to do that but I just couldn't.  Never angry at her but at myself. 

We started out in our careers together and at one point she worked for Kraft.  There, they took the Myers & Briggs personality test very seriously.  They used them to help managers, in particular, understand the different personalities working on their brands and how to make the most of it.  One is not better than the other, it is more about understanding everyone's different thought processes.  For instance, if one person was incredibly introverted and wasn't interested in sharing information, it was important for a manager to figure out ways to check in with that person so they didn't find themselves 3 months into something going in the wrong direction.  How do you manage a person with that type of personality.  On the other hand, how do you manage someone who is so extroverted that there is so much information coming at you that it is too much. 

Think about tiny children who never say a word until they are 3 and then begin talking in complete sentences.  Those kids have the personality where they need to figure it out themself before jumping into the game.  Interesting. 

So, after much discussion, I went home and took the Myers &Briggs personality test on line.  It takes a few minutes.  The questions are simple.  Out came the results.  I am an ENTJ.  Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging.  I read the description, pretty much hits the nail on the head.  I called my friend and she then shared with me what she thought I was.  She didn't want to tell me before I took the test.  She hit it perfectly.  She told me what she was, and I looked it up, bingo.  She definitely spent lots of time on this at Kraft so she remembered all the info.  Yet, by understanding the different types of behavior, it has helped her over the years.

There are many companies that make their CEO's take these tests.  There is something to be said for it.  Not so much to categorize people but to understand how they think or perhaps react.  Someone who is extroverted is going to be happy to share information, a CEO who is introverted might keep everything inside.  How can one work with each of those individuals under one roof will make for a better environment in the long run. 

I am going to have everyone in our house take it.  Not that I don't know who they are all but it will be interesting to see the results in black and white.  Might be helpful in having a better understanding why each of us react in a certain way.  Next time, we might take a step back and see more clearly each individuals initial reaction and get it. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Leah

    I too have always applauded BSG’s ability to work with all types and all types of systems.Other things to think about with Myers Briggs– it is a “preference” and we can change over time and modify/change in certain environments. Also, MB is more of an approach/need and less of a reaction. So an explanation shared between P and J is that a J has a “neat car trunk” and a P is not tidy, organized. So every J approaches and “expects” everyone to be neat, tidy, and organized and their reaction is often frustration when it is not– the preference and reaction are related but the reaction is not MB based– make sense?Glad you guys had a good lunch!

    1. Tanya Monteiro

      I did the MB while still working on Wall Street, came up the same as you ENTJ and have drawn on the information for years now. Recently I was introduced to the ENNEAGRAM, numbers from 1-9 each representing a personality type. Its allot of fun, if you’re interested the book is called “The wisdom of the Enneagram” by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson. Having 1 number vs. so many options helped focus my mind and reading the descriptions of when numbers are Healthy, Average or Unhealthy really resonated with me. I like that its about a personality that we develop, I guess others would say the social self. Hope you enjoy,