This is a story you may have heard (or lived) before. Once upon a time I had a boss and we were not able to communication effectively. He expected me to email him tremendous levels of detail with backing spreadsheets of data and reams of collected justification for everything. I enjoyed stopping by his office and meeting for chats over coffee, but we were not a good fit and I ended up on the losing side the argument. That’s when I decided to invest some time in personality typing, communication styles, and empathy.
At the turn of the 20th century, Carl Jung took the work of the early philosophers and built what we now call modern psychology. If his name sounds familiar, you may have heard it when talking about the Meyers-Briggs surveys or Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness (DISC) training you may have taken on your way to Management.
I have taken several 4 quadrant (True Colors, etc.) team building surveys based on Meyers-Briggs and the work of Carl Jung. For a recent one, the X axis was scaled from introverted to extroverted and the Y axis was scaled from task-oriented to relationship-oriented. Meyers-Briggs uses similar wording and breaks personalities by three groupings covering attitudes, functions, and lifestyle.
Organizations will try to make sure they have a good breakdown of the four major personality types because each type defines a different set of skills needed for a functional team. However, since there are different personalities on a team, communication can become an issue. Organizations invest in personality typing and training to help teams identify and appreciate the skills of the personality type and the strengths each provides.
With the team building surveys, a team or extended team will take a survey. A few weeks later when the results come back for everyone, they will be mapped across a style grid and the team spends a day discussing communication styles and the personality types of each. Guidance is provided to help each team member understand the personality of the other and the best approach to communicating with the other styles.
I urge you to visit this website http://www.innerheroes.com/quiz.asp and take the short quiz to understand your personality type. Perhaps you can go through the exercise with friends or members of the team you work with. Please note, as you answer the questions go with your first instinct and be honest with yourself to get the richest insight. Also, over time your type will change. The one you took 15 years ago may not represent you now.