One of the best workshops I’ve been in is one to determine your personality type — which leads to understanding how you interact with other people and personality types! So what are personality types?
Personality types is the idea that people’s behavior is marked by our individual preferences to use our mind. Carl G. Jung first coined the psychological type and through the years Myers and Briggs developed and perfected upon these ideas to come up with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI, free test) which “identifies valuable differences between normal, healthy people, differences that can be the source of much misunderstanding and miscommunication” (Introduction to Type, by Isabel Briggs Myers).
According to MBTI there are 16 personality types. Each type is determined by a dominant and an auxiliary mental function (Sensing, Intuition, Thinking and Feeling) each of which can be seen from an introverted or extroverted point of view (this is related to wether you are energized by your inner world and thoughts or by interactions with other people).
When we showed up to the workshop we had all previously taken a test and given the results on the day of the workshop. Through different activities we were grouped with people that either had similar or opposing characteristics and put to solve different case scenarios. It was pretty amazing how easy it was to relate to some points of view (typically similar personality type) and very difficult for some others.
In one particular scenario we were grouped in either introverts or extroverts and asked to tell the other group what we liked and didn’t like about the other group. Here are somethings introverts and extroverts said:
Introverts said about extroverts:
- You can count on extroverts to open up conversations and fill the silence
- You know what they are thinking (because they tell you)
- Sometimes they speak so much it is hard to chip in to the conversation (as introverts when we finally want to say something the conversation might already have moved to some other topic)
- Sometimes try to avoid extroverts because it leads to frustration
Extroverts said about introverts:
- They are good listeners
- They are hard to read because they don’t say much or participate in the conversation
- Are they engaged in the discussion?
- Sometimes lead to frustration because they don’t add to the conversation
This helped me to realize better ways to interact with one of my lab-mates who was very extroverted and dominated group meeting discussions and interactions in the lab. It turned out he was frustrated because he thought he was always trying to communicate better solutions and new point of views for the lab but no-one engaged in trying to accomplish the same. From my point of view, I always felt that the meetings ended before I was able to pitch in anything because he dominated the conversation and didn’t know how to interrupt. We ended up having a very productive scientific-run after we started understanding each other better.
By the way I’m an INTP (introverted thinking with extraverted intuition). Which type are you? And how has knowing about your type helped you develop better interactions with others?