1. The Fine Art of Clarifying Type

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    We used to offer an advanced workshop, called The Fine Art of Clarifying Type, with the tagline of Get the F.A.C.T.s. I’m seeing the need for this now more than ever so I thought I’d post some thoughts on a place to start. Frequently people don’t agree with their instrument results or can’t seem to settle on patterns and preferred dynamics in a self-discovery process; they just can’t find a fit. Sadly, they sometimes just accept the instrument results as accurate or they reject the utility of using typology models. I’ve heard people ask what it means if their results on one instrument don’t match the expected results on another instrument that is purported to line up. It is of value to use multiple lenses and instruments as data points to help clarify, but what do you do when they don’t line up? Why is clarifying type often so challenging? How can we meet those challenges? A good approach is to start with an understanding of what contributes to the confusion, and then do what you can to control for the ‘sources.’ If you are helping others arrive at a best fit, they may be able to sort it out...
  2. Agenda’s for Change

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    This is an update on a blog I wrote in 2009. 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 the past, I have talked about how if you push a 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. When developing the Interaction Styles lens on personality type, I and my colleagues 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 Agendas Against: The In-Charge tendency is to push against in...
  3. Directing—Informing, a Powerful Polarity

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    Last night I had a dream in which I was trying to get the attention of a large group of people I was supposed to be training. Finally I was so frustrated I yelled, “What I’m going to tell you, will change your life forever!” (or something like that). They all quieted down and I proceeded to tell them about the impact that recognizing their unconscious preferences for either Directing or Informing communications could have. Directing communications are aimed at getting something done in a timely way. The consciousness behind Directing is one of either wanting to achieve a result or manifest an envisioned result. Consequently, there is comfort telling people what to do, or to do something, or ask directly. There is a sense of urgency that is communicated in voice tone as well as choice of words. The closer to a deadline the more likely the language will be forceful. Directing communication serves the drives and aims of the In-Charge and Chart-the-Course Interaction Styles so people with these styles may unconsciously apply some version of Directing communications even when it is not called for. Informing communications are aimed at getting buy-in and leaving the option to act open....
  4. Task vs People

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    Recently in a LinkedIn group discussion someone asked for an instrument that would identify whether leaders had a task focus or a people focus. Quite an interesting discussion took place and I was moved to post my view. Here is a blog version of what I posted. It seems that what is being sought when asking for an instrument is a way to identify natural tendencies that are often unconscious so that they can come into awareness and therefore be under conscious control. Instruments to do this are often subject to the same unconsciousness that exists in the first place and therefore can be inaccurate. Still useful, but not as accurate. And an instrument alone without suggestions about what to do about it isn’t enough. Task focus versus People focus is one of those dichotomies that have been identified and linked to for many years. With the MBTI® instrument a link is often made to the Thinking-Feeling dichotomy and sometime to the Judging-Perceiving dichotomy. A challenge is that the Task vs People dichotomy is only a part of a much bigger whole so it is hard to tease out by itself. My approach would be use the Interaction Styles framework...
  5. Leadership Starts with Self-Leadership

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    In my early morning reflections, I thought about the experiences I want to provide participants in the upcoming workshop, Mastering the CORE of Self-Leadership that is also part of our Berens CORE Facilitation Training. Self-Leadership requires self-awareness and type lenses help give us this self-awareness. But then what do you do with it? That is where the CORE practices come in. Centering: Once you have the awareness of how you are naturally inclined to respond in situations and you get off track when your core needs and drives are not being met, you can engage in some centering practices to help you tap into your inner strength and get out of the stress trap. Opening: Once you are centered, then you can be open to new ways to engage your strengths. Then you can also open to the contribution of others and make space for them. It takes practice as well as some fundamental shifts internally to be able to do that. These are some of what I want to provide to our learners. Relating: We express the constant core of our personality in the context of relationships. For effective relationships we have to learn to step outside our unconscious...
  6. Why Personality Type Instruments Don’t Work…

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    The MBTI® instrument has come under lots of criticism recently in the popular press. For those of us who have trained people to use this instrument and have found it useful, this can be painful. We realize that the criticism often comes from wanting the instrument to do things it isn’t designed to do. And usually it is a result of not following best practices such as the ones Jane Kise has described very thoroughly in a recent blog. I’ve been teaching people to use Psychological Type, Temperament and other models of individual differences since 1976 and conducted MBTI® Certification Programs for 17 years. At first we just took the instrument results as the indication of one’s type pattern. Then we learned that this often wasn’t as accurate as we thought it was. This inaccuracy is in part the basis for many of the critiques. The critics say they take the ‘test’ one time and it comes out different another time. The MBTI® Manual contains data that indicates that the agreement with instrument results ranges from about 60% -80% of the people agreeing with all four preferences ‘measured’ by the instrument. This really isn’t bad since as the Manual points...
  7. More Leading Edges—Article and Events

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    A few months ago I wrote about the Leading Edges of Type. I’m happy to say that the article, The Leading Edge of Type, I referenced has been very well received so in case you missed it, I want to let you know about it again. Someone kindly told me about about an error in a table so that has been corrected. Somehow, I had transposed the extraverted Intuiting and introverted Sensing phrases on page 16. Editing seems to be an endless task and I was so happy to have someone let me know about this mistake. This got me to look at this article again and really appreciate the fine thinking of all those thought leaders that came before me. This is especially poignant for me since I seem to be missing David Keirsey these days and am wondering if he really got to know how many people he impacted so profoundly. I also want to let you know about the Integral Leadership in Action (ILIA) conference. I will be presenting at this conference next week and they recently changed it from an in-person event to a teleconference event, which means that you can easily attend AND the price...
  8. Best of Two Worlds—Just the Beginning

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    July was a busy month and one in which I immersed myself in two of my favorite worlds—The Association for Psychological Type International biennial conference and the Integral Theory Conference, also a biennial event. These two worlds have some things in common. Both address the concepts of types and valuing individual differences and in both the participants are passionate and dedicated to making the world a better place. Yet, no one from one context showed up at the others’ conferences. In a series of blog posts I will share some of my experiences and insights from both of these worlds, hoping to bring the benefits of both worlds to you all. In September, I will be presenting at the Integral Leadership in Action conference so will share insights from that experience as well. For now, here are my perspectives on the theories and the organizations that are at the leading edge of these worlds. I hope you are moved to get involved in both of them. Psychological Type Psychological type had it origins in the 1920s with great thinkers like Carl Jung, Ernst Kretschmer, Eduard Spränger, William Marston and more. Most people will reference Carl Jung, but it was a...
  9. Perspective Taking—Opening the Doors

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    In 1984 I was madly reading books as part of the literature search for my dissertation. My dissertation advisor, David Keirsey, had made a link between the four temperament patterns he has observed and four of Eduard Spränger’s value types, so I needed to know more. I read Spränger’s Types of Men, written in the 1920s. In it, he described 6 different value types—Aesthetic, Theoretic, Economic, Religious, Social, and Political. I was intrigued by an example Spränger used of describing a book through the perspectives of these six types. Once I learned about the four value types that related to Keirsey’s four temperament patterns, I found I could listen for the perspectives that people were coming from much more quickly than I could if I just tried to identify their type or the temperament based on other descriptions. At that point in my life, I wasn’t really aware of the value of perspective taking, but this experience got me started on a journey of seeking to understand people in a way I hadn’t before even though it started out as just in the interest of identifying their temperaments. I started listening for their perspectives rather than just to identify their...
  10. “Worry About Yourself” How Directing can you get?!

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    Out of the mouth of babes came a wonderful example of Directing language and probably the In-Charge Interaction Style! This 47 second video showed up in the Huffington Post and the Today Show.  I was turned on to it today on Facebook by colleague Vicky Jo Varner whose comment was that this kind of Directing language was innate. I was fascinated by the comments posted in the Huffington Post and on the facebook link. Some people thought she was being rude and that the father shouldn’t encourage her. Others thought it was great that she was expressing her independence and that she would be strong. Some predicted she would be a handful when she grows up. Here is what I posted on the Huffington Post site as a comment: It is very, very cute and she is so polite even though direct and forceful in asserting her independence. This is not just about learned behavior. Yes, she probably heard the phrase before, but longitudinal research with children has shown that temperament* differences are there from the beginning. Her intonation and direct communication style is likely natural. It can serve her well in the future and it can get also her...