When I was growing up, I was an avid consumer of teenage magazines and liked nothing better than whiling away the time filling in the questionnaires with friends. You know the kind of thing –
When the boy you secretly fancy drops his scarf as he gets off the bus, do you:
a) beat off the other girls in the scrum to pick it up and dash up to him, hoping to win his favour?
b) leave it to the others – you’re confident he’s noticed you already?
c) trip over it and end up sprawled at his feet?
I suspect I’d have selected answer C for that one!
I loved to tot up how many As, Bs or Cs my friends and I had chosen, then read out the descriptions of each type and see whether they reflected what we believed to be true about ourselves. As a coach and a keen people-watcher, my fascination with different personality types and the roles we fulfill hasn’t diminished. I know my Myers-Briggs type, my Belbin role and what my Gremlins say. These are all great tools which have helped me understand how I tick but also how I interact with others.
On a day-to-day basis and without access to personality profiling tools, I notice that people seem to be either mainly people-focused or mainly task-focused. It’s clear that we need both of these types: otherwise, we’d be all about to do lists at the expense of team relationships – or we’d be so busy bonding that we’d never meet our targets.
We need to manage our workloads just as much as we manage our teams: we also need community just as much as we need completion.
For me, personality typing isn’t about putting you in a box – it’s about helping you identify your preferences or the way you’ll tend to behave, all things being equal. Once you’ve recognised that, you can choose to redress the balance when it’s necessary or appropriate. For instance, if you’re great at writing a project plan but networking leaves you in a cold sweat, you could offer to help a friend with her strategy paper if she agrees to take you to the business breakfast she goes to every month.
Today’s pebble for your consideration:
How do you balance your personality preferences with the needs of your career and your personal life?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we can work together?