When shopping online, when do you decide to purchase? If the features are fairly close to what you want, do you go ahead and buy? Or, do you search and search until all the facts have been gathered before making a decision and hitting that “Buy Now” button?
What about when you are on the road for work? At the end of the day, would you like to go explore a new restaurant with one of your fellow team members, or does going back to the hotel room to just “be” and decompress feel best?
In one of our previous blogs, gathering and processing information preferences were discussed. Here we will look at the two other major components that go into determining one’s temperament: orientation and energy source. As with the gathering and processing of information, orientation and energy are also about preference. Each of us practices all of the temperament traits, but based on neural wiring, we have preferred ways of orienting and obtaining energy.
Orientation refers to how we prefer to interface with the outside world. There are two approaches:
Judging, or J, which means there is a desire to come to closure on an issue. The person who buys online once, fairly close to the desired goal, is J, and;
Perceiving, or P, which means there is the desire to find more information. The person who researches online (even after making the purchase) is P.
Let’s avoid some common misperceptions regarding these terms. Judging is different than being judgmental. To repeat, judging is the desire for closure and is neutral. Being judgmental is making value statements; e.g., “That person is good (or bad, as the case may be).” Perceiving is the desire to gather information. It is not having special insight or a crystal ball.
There are two possibilities for gaining energy:
Extraverts, or Es, gain energy from being around others, socializing, and wanting to deal with exterior things. Es can tend to make many contacts without going deep, and;
Introverts, or Is, who prefer going off by themselves to gain energy by turning inward. Is can tend to have few contacts and go deep into relationships.
Es are often called “solar panels” because they like excitement and soaking up energy through interaction with others. Is are often called “batteries” since going off and recharging depleted energy stores is a must.
Keep in mind that it’s from where one draws energy that determines if their temperament is E or I. In other words, you can have quiet Extraverts and energetic Introverts. A shy person can be an E and someone who is outgoing can be an I. Culturally, there is a good deal of confusion over this issue.
Energy, Orientation, and Teams
What value does all this information have? Here’s a big one: Knowing how a person accesses energy, plus their orientation, can both explain and help resolve conflict!
For example, an EJ (Extraverted-Judger) may get tired of working on a task, feel he’s done enough, and want to improve her sense of well-being by talking with someone on the team and getting their attention. If the person whom they approach is IP (Introverted-Perceiver) then sparks can fly or feathers could get ruffled. Why? The IP may get his sense of well-being by being left alone to both stay centered and go deep on a particular task and get more information.
Some examples: Have you ever been working on a project, gotten to a point where you need feedback in order to proceed, but the person you need to schedule a meeting with is either elusive or keeps re-scheduling? Conversely, maybe you’re the person who needs more time to think the task through – and having a meeting about it now seems premature or even disruptive to your workflow. You can probably see where this is going.
When we look at the combinations associated with E vs I and J vs P it becomes increasingly clear how holding a team together can be a big challenge.
Do you have some examples from work or home that highlight different team or family members’ energy and orientation preferences?
Gary Monti has over 30 years experience providing change- and project management services internationally. He works at the nexus between strategy, business case, project-, process-, and people management. Service modalities include consulting, teaching, mentoring, and speaking. Credentials include PMP number 14 (Project Management Institute®), Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certification, and accreditation in the Cynefin methodology. Gary can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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