1. Personality, Communication, and Engagement

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    Communication Most of us know that individual differences exist, yet we often forget that when we are communicating. The most powerful communication is one where we are capable of taking the other person's perspective and truly listen to their intentions and deep motivations. Personality typologies can give us powerful models to help us meet others at their view of the world. Temperament theory tells us what are core psychological needs are. If you are having trouble understanding someone else, think about what needs might be behind what they are saying: Improviser: Freedom to act now and to have an impact Stabilizer: Responsibility and a place to contribute Theorist: Competency, mastery, and knowledge Catalyst: Sense of unique identity and deep meaning and significance Recognize those needs and you'll find ways to be more understanding and even speak to these needs. Interaction Styles is a model that describes energy patterns, but behind the behind those patterns are drives with corresponding aims. If we recognize these drives and aims, we understand why someone is being forceful, looking tense, seeming slow to act, or even overly engaging. In-Charge: Drive to accomplish in order to get an achievable result Chart-the-Course: Drive to anticipate in order...
  2. MBTI® and Other Instruments and Second Order Change

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    If you are a coach or organization change professional you may be wondering if you can use the MBTI® instrument or other typology instruments to get second order change? My answer is yes, IF you know type theory beyond the instrument results and beyond simple dichotomies. You cannot get transformative change by depending solely on the results of the instruments or reports based on simple dichotomies. The very way type is introduced can lead to limited first order change or to more transformational second order change. (Note: this blog uses a lot of short-cut terms that are explained in my article, The Five Lenses of Coaching.) What are First- and Second-Order Change? I found the following simple explanation. First-order change is doing more – or less – of something we are already doing. First-order change is always reversible. Second-order change is deciding – or being forced – to do something significantly or fundamentally different from what we have done before. The process is irreversible: once you begin, it is impossible to return to the way you were doing before. I also found the following useful, brief explanation by Michael Perez First order change: Remedial change. This is a more functionally...
  3. Temperament and ‘temperament’

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    People often ask me about various other ‘temperament’ models and how they relate. Years ago (in the pre-internet mid 1980’s) when I was going to the post office frequently to mail my dissertation drafts back and forth to David Keirsey for review, the postal clerk asked me what I was mailing so often. Then he asked me what it was about. When I told him temperament, he said his wife had one of those! Over the years as I’ve researched more and more about temperament I discovered that in general the term means something different in the mainstream psychology literature than the way David Keirsey wrote about it Mainstream Definition Classic ‘temperament’ theory goes back to the belief that there were different humors in the body, blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile that were at the root of differences in human behavior. There was a search for physical basis for behavior. Over the years, longitudinal studies have been done with children into adults and certain characteristics seem to have remained throughout the research subjects’ lifetimes. The most researched characteristics have been with the Eysenck definitions of introversion and extroversion, with support for there being a biological basis for these...
  4. Transformative and Transactional Leadership

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    Today’s Los Angeles Times had an op-ed piece entitled “How Obama Lost His Voice and How Can He Get It Back?” I don’t usually read this section of the paper, but a sentence caught my attention. “Abandoning the "transformational" model of his presidential campaign, Obama has tried to govern as a "transactional" leader.”   This blog is not about Obama, but about some thoughts on Leadership. I hadn’t thought about James MacGregor Burns’ concepts since my doctoral program. After all, Burns coined these terms over 30 years ago. They could be briefly summarized as transformational leadership is about changing the ‘world’ and transactional leadership is about maintaining what is. It occurred to me that there might be some relationship to type or to temperament in these terms.   Burns’ wrote his 1978 book, Leadership, as a political scientist and a historian. This book sits on my bookshelf so I opened it up. I don’t think the simple definition above does justice to his concepts so I won’t really comment on those until I reread the book.   On the surface, one might say that transactional leadership would go with the Stabilizer temperament with logistical intelligence or the Improviser temperament with...
  5. Getting the Most Out of the Type Code

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    The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® self-report assessment was developed by Isabel Myers to help individuals find their best-fit type. In order to develop the assessment, the J-P dichotomy was added. Now the four-letter type code that results from her work has become a standard for referring to the 16 types no matter how you arrive at determining the best-fit. Traditionally, type has been approached by explanation of the four dichotomies of Extraversion vs Introversion, Sensing vs iNtuing, Thinking vs Feeling, and Judging vs Perceiving. By exploring preferences for one or the other pole of the dichotomies most clients get some very valuable information that they can use in their personal and professional lives. A growing number of type practitioners have found it useful and powerful to understand the type code in terms of other, related models that provide different information about important aspects of the 16 personality types. They use the four temperaments or Interaction Styles or even the rich Cognitive Dynamics (aka 8 function model) to know more about their clients and to pick and choose which model to use for which objectives. So, when I see ESTP, for example, I expect to see the Improviser Temperament with a talent...
  6. Adult Development and Typological Look-Alikes

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    For many years, I scoffed at the idea of stages of adult development as being artificial and somewhat arrogant, as if one who is more developed is better than others at earlier stages. I observed development in the physical realm and these did not bother me in the same way as in the psychological/personality realm. In the Jungian typology model, there are several views of type development and I had found one of these to be very useful. The Jungian model says that we have four mental processes—Sensing, intuiting, Thinking, Feeling—and each of these processes can be used in either the outer world or the inner world. Thus the popular 4-letter personality type code derived from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® assessment stands for a pattern of these processes. We all have access to all eight (the four in either the extraverted or introverted attitude. And type development theory says one of these processes is dominant and trusted most and therefore is more developed, playing a leading role in our personalities. Another plays a supporting role (auxiliary) and is also fairly well developed by young adulthood. There is also a tertiary process, which emerges in young adulthood and an inferior process,...
  7. Best-Fit Type Self Discovery With or Without Using An Assessment such as the MBTI® instrument

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    by Susan Nash In my eighteen years of introducing individuals, teams, leaders and organizations to the rich theory of personality type, I have explored using the Interstrength Self-Discovery process both with the MBTI® assessment tool and without. Overall I have found that using the Self-Discovery process without an assessment works better for me for the following reasons: It can be too easy to use the “test and tell” approach, relying extensively on the instrument rather than linking this knowledge to Jung’s underlying principles. When time is limited, or you are working with a large group it is easy to neglect the self exploration process. When individuals try to assess their innate preferences, there can be a tendency for them to give a written “test” more credence than their individual qualitative assessment. As a trainer and coach, using the self-discovery process without a written assessment, forces me to focus on recognizing individual behaviors that might indicate the use of specific function-attitudes. I find the self-exploration process in a group to be more rich as individuals use the multiple lenses of type to review temperament, Interaction Style and function-attitudes without being limited to the “four-letter”code. Using this self-discovery process seems to overcome...
  8. Agendas for Change

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    Connections have been made to temperament and change in Donna Dunning’s book, Quick Guide to the Four Temperaments and Change 3.0 and these really make sense to me. I’ve been puzzling over what the Interaction Styles model would predict about change. Then it hit me…the movement tendency that is favored by each Interaction Style would give us some insight. In my last blog, Change: Lessons from the Body, I talked about how if you push the change too fast and too hard, you will get resistance that may result in only a temporary change. My consulting bias is always to work with the system to move it to where it wants/needs to go. Now, I’m wondering if this is universal wisdom or a Behind-the-Scenes™ Interaction Style bias on my part! So, let’s explore that a little bit. We identified four movement tendencies after reading about the three tendencies identified by Karen Horney and cited in the Social Styles literature. These three—push against, move away from, move towards—seemed to clearly go with our experiences of three of the four Interaction Styles, so we looked for the ‘missing’ movement and came up with ‘move with’ as opposite of push against. Four Change...