Sunday, 2 September 2012

Which Room Do I Live In..?

I have just returned home from a staff 'team building' weekend. Aside from some fun games and, ahem... evening socialising... the focus of our weekend was identifying and understanding our respective personality profiles, as determined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment [MBTI].
Many will be familiar with the MBTI - one of the most popular instruments for measuring one's personality. The MBTI assessment identifies 16 different personality types - sometimes referred to as 'rooms': 

All individuals have a natural preference for one of these personality types. It is important to note, however, that individuals are not 'stuck' in their 'room' - they can [indeed, need to] demonstrate their non-preferred traits at times, in order to meet the demands of the situation. 
The 16 types derive from the eight aspects of our personality, which are represented as four dichotomies. Each of our natural preferences in these four dichotomies informs our overall, four-letter personality type. The four dichotomies are represented below:

When tested in 2005, my responses indicated that my natural preferences were for Introversion, Sensing, Thinking and Judging, resulting in my personality type of ISTJ. When retested earlier this year, I came out as an INTJ. i.e. I now prefer to take in information using my intuition, rather than my senses.

Back to our team building weekend... 
Given that all of our staff did the MBTI assessment in the lead up to this weekend, we were able to have some great discussions, including:

  • identifying similarities and differences with our colleagues - 
    • Who has the same personality type as me..? Who else is similar..?
    • Who has the opposite personality type to me..? Who else is different..?
  • how we can use this new awareness of eachother's preferred ways of working and behaving to work more effectively as a team? 
  • what are the strategic implications for our team, in light of knowing the range of personalities that make up our current staff group?
I found myself to be in the same 'room' as two other members of staff. I probably don't work closely enough with these colleagues to comment on the significance of this. A couple of other aspects were interesting, however...
  • I was well and truly in the majority group in terms of how we get our energy - we have many introverts on staff, but relatively few extraverts... 
  • There were two people with the exact opposite personality type to me. What I found interesting about this was that I particularly admire and like both of these people... I put this down to a general trait I've developed over recent years of admiring and respecting people who are strong in areas I am not. eg: I usually admire people who demonstrate extroverted ways of behaving, such as speaking or performing in front of an audience, as these are not my preferred way of behaving.
A common theme in our discussions was how to use the new-found awareness we have of eachother's personality preferences - we all need to keep these individual differences in mind when we are communicating and working with the range of personalities we have in our school.
The strategic implications of this new information will come into play [for example] when forming teams within the school:
  • Should we aim for a diverse range of personality types in the make-up of our teams..? 
  • Or should we adopt more of a 'horses-for-courses' approach, by targeting particular personality types for particular tasks [eg: filling a Creativity Team with 'N' people... or the Social Club Team with 'E' people... ]..?

What type are you? How does this affect you in your work life? How should schools deal with the inevitable range of personalities they have amongst their staff..?


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