As I read the newspaper and hear about the inflammatory rhetoric, I am reminded of why I find personality type models so valuable.
Back in the late 1980’s Sue Cooper, a close friend and colleagues, created a catchword for why our work is important. She said that we all suffer from BLM Syndrome—Be Like Me. Since that time I mention this in every workshop I do and it was incorporated it into The Guide for Facilitating the Self-Discovery Process. I’ve shared it with many other professionals as well as the graduates of the Interstrength® workshops. I say something like the following:
I’ve been called in to work with you because there is a world-wide epidemic called BLM Syndrome—Be Like Me. We all go around unconsciously expecting others to behave and think like we do. When they don’t, we judge them as wrong, lazy, crazy, or even evil. This disorder is incurable, but we can alleviate the symptoms with what we will explore today. The symptoms will go away, but under stress they can come back. But like all good diagnoses, once we can name it we can get it back under control.
There is a related disorder called BLT—Be Like Them. So we are often caught in either trying to be like someone we are not or trying to force others to be like us. Relief from these symptoms can come from learning about our individual differences so we can reclaim our own gifts and honor the richness that diversity brings to solving problems.
What follows this introduction is a self-discovery process of helping people find a fit among one of the models I use—usually the four Temperaments, the four Interaction Styles, or sometimes the sixteen personality types. Once people know what their filters are in these ways, then it is easier to take the filters down and learn to shift their perspectives. It is also easier to notice other kinds of filters and then move on to other applications like leadership, teamwork, communication etc.
This will not take care of everything that is wrong with the world. However, if we can just begin to learn to consciously shift our perspectives using personality information, we open a door to wider acceptance in other areas. I believe that learning about our personality differences and similarities can foster evolutionary development and, like Isabel Myers, I do hope we can learn to transcend our differences in ways that eventually prevent war.
So, am I way off base or does this make sense? I'd love to see what more we can do with this idea.