When people ask me what I do and I mention assessments such as the MBTI, I get a variety of reactions. Some people’s eyes glaze over as they say “You what?” Obviously they have never experienced a personality assessment other than possibly a quiz in a magazine they may have done as a teenager. There are others who say “I did that once”, but have no idea which tool was used nor what their particular results indicated. The rare individual can rhyme off their results from a variety of assessment tools and indicate how they play out in their work life. What is common is that people who have done one of the temperament assessments or another 4 part ,model such as Social Styles will remember either the colour or an aspect of their type.
In a recent conversation, a woman was excited to talk about just how Gold she was – “off the charts” as she described her uber-organized style. She had a real sense of how those preferences suited the work she was in and just as aware of how it was a source of possible friction in her home life.
What occurred to me during our conversation was how useful a simple model was in a work context where people have something like colour to anchor their memory. Assessments of any kind are only of value if they are applied. What does this tell me about my strengths? What does it tell me about how others may perceive my actions? How can I become increasingly aware of my “blindspots”?
The other thought I had was that personal development is so important to me that at times I forget that some people could care less. Those of us who see the value in using tools to learn about ourselves and others, may readily see that having insights from a number of tools is simply a more meaningful approach to understanding. Those who value personal development are willing to take the time to learn about and apply more complex instruments.
So even though I have a personal preference for the distinctions made by the Step 2 version of the MBTI that gives a break down of 5 sub-pairs for each preference pair, some people simply want to know I am Gold and this is a good thing for my job. What works depends on the context and the interest of the people involved. Start wherever you are. KISS Keep it simple is sometimes the best motto.
People that like to think over-complicate things because it gives them more to think about.
This isn’t a direct quote but it comes close to the words Dr. Steve Reiss Professor of Psychology, used during his recent presentation in Chicago on his research on motivation. He turns previous models of motivation on their head. Reiss claims that motivation is a lot clearer and more direct than theorists have proposed. He further claims that emotions are not what motivates behaviour. Reiss has researched and scientifically validated 16 motives that are universal and encompass all aspects of needs, wants, values and desires.
In a blog post on Psychology Today Reiss explains:
I consider motives as goals, and motivation as the assertion of values. I pay some attention to emotions as indicators of whether or not motives are satisfied, but I don’t view emotions as motivational.
In the case of people who like to think, the motive has been labelled by Reiss as “intellectual curiosity”. He goes on to add that “the goal of curiosity is understanding; the emotion is wonder; and the value are ideas.”
One distinction of Reiss’s work on motivation is that he has married his findings to various applications such as sports motivation, school, advertising and relationships. In a school setting, a person who is motivated by curiosity will seek multiple ways to find understanding. They will feel at home amongst books such as a library environment, they will buy and read books, they will explore ideas through research or on the internet. Satisfying their curiosity in one area will only spark more curiosity and more desire to understand. This motivation does not apply to every student. Someone who is motivated by Power may learn to receive awards.
Reiss tells us that the emotion of wonder does not play a role in predicting the behaviour of a person motivated by curiosity but that we need to look at the value they have for ideas and how they assert that value will give us an idea of their behaviour. Put them in an environment where things are done by rote and opportunities to explore ideas and think are restricted and the emotions associated with boredom, frustration and anger will indicate that the value is being thwarted. They may also not care about receiving recognition in the form of awards or money for learning.
Many people talk about emotion as an end goal…”I just want to be happy.” What gives one person happiness will not match another person’s motivational profile. When considering the role of emotion, observe that the emotion is an indicator of whether a person’s is fulfilling their desires or values or not. This will tell you what you need to know to motivate them. Don’t complicate it -it is that simple.
I painted this painting in response to the death of Jack layton, the leader of the New Democratic Party. It is not really a political painting. I like to think (no ego LOL) that it is about something larger. When Jack died there was a spontaneous outpouring from people from across Canada, from across the globe, from across income levels, from across ethnic, age or educational backgrounds and from across political affiliations.
What were they responding to? I had the thought that people were responding to the loss of someone with undeniable integrity. Here was a man who had a consistent and persistant message for years and years. He wasn’t angry or arrogant but outspoken and willing to educate anyone about the elements that were creating the current situation.
In a time when we are skeptical about our politicians and their motivations, Jack was a man we could trust. You might not like his politics or even the way he presented his message, but there was something that everyone recognized in him as being of value.
This was painted last summer and just yesterday – a week or so from the first day of Spring, someone pointed out that she had seen the graffiti “Trustache” that rhymes with Jack’s ever present moustache and read it differently. What she saw was TRUST ACHE and thought that the painting spoke to the “ache” that the voting population has for being able to TRUST our politicians and each other.
Some MBTI types use metaphor and even think in metaphor. This particular interpretation really touched me. Typically I say that I paint rather than call myself an artist, but having someone else see something deeper in your work is in the territory of art and what art contributes to the human experience.
It is such a challenge to step outside of our own perceptual filters. Imagine you are a parent who believes that your preference for Judging and providing structure and organization for your family will keep them safe and on track. This is your duty as a good parent – right?
Imagine you are the teenager in this family. You have a clear preference for Perceiving and prefer to go with the flow. The emphasis and value placed on a structured life that is the hallmark of your family seems restrictive and positively boring. You know you are really responsible and that your last minute style suits how you like to work.
The juggling act that is parenting teenagers has an extra wrinkle in this family dynamic with this difference in Judging and Perceiving. Hopefully understanding each others type will pave the way for compassion. The parent’s preference for Judging is not an intentional plot to squash the teenager’s spirit, and the teenager’s preference for letting life happen rather than planning ahead does not mean that they are doomed to failure.
There are some wonderful opportunities for growth in this relationship if both individuals can stay open to learning from each other.
Pressure, stress, no time, frustration….
This litany of complaints is felt to various degrees by many people but how and why we create this for ourselves differs from person to person.
Today I received this reminder form Riso and Hudson’s site.
Your Type Six EnneaThoughts for February 16th—
A major feature of your personality is to find more work for yourself as soon as the pressure lightens. Notice this tendency in yourself today. (Personality Types, 232)
I had to laugh. Well because it is true for the most part. My theory is that we become accustomed to a certain state in our bodies and the adrenaline that is generated from having something on my plate lets me know that I am alive. I love the energy of “Get’ er done!!!” Or at least that’s my warped thinking about how accomplishing tasks gives me energy and life purpose
The flow of chemicals after a long walk in nature, laughing with friends, watching a sunset or snuggling under a blanket with some classical music and a fire is equally enlivening. The trick is to be at choice and not on auto-pilot.