Judging Perceiving 350

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.

Category : Communication | MBTI Facts | Relationships | Uncategorized | Blog

Here is a question I received about reactions to needy people. Perhaps this also strikes a chord with you?

I run like crazy away from people that I see as needy or clingy. It’s top of mind right now because I went on a date last night and decided that the guy was insecure and needy and would need a lot of “coddling” and “taking care of”, and I thought, “I’m out of here; I so don’t want to do that for someone.”

But then I thought that when I have been in relationships – with guys that didn’t come across as needy – I *love* taking care of them. I go out of my way to do nice things and look out for them. But they need to not need it in order for me to want to do it.

I’ve noticed this in work contexts too – I don’t like working with people if I get a needy feeling from them; in fact, the more they say they need me the more I withdraw.

Any Enneagram 5 or INTJ/INFJ light that you would like to shed on this?

Since this reaction to needy people has also come up for me, I am curious to have a l look at what might be happening.

Through the lens of the MBTI
What first came to mind was the possible reaction that someone with a preference for Thinking might have toward someone with a preference for Feeling. For the Thinking type decision making is made through objective analysis and the more internal process of the Feeling preference can seem slow, inefficient, unreliable or illogical which could be interpreted as being “needy”.

People who may have a preference for Feeling but are out-of-preference on one or two aspects might also react in a similar fashion. My out-of preference for the Tough side of the Tough-Tender aspect of Thinking-Feeling has made some people’s “weighing all aspects” time consuming process seem exasperatingly slow and “bleeding-heart” . I avoid “needy” people because my fear is that they won’t stand on their own two feet and make the decisions that are necessary to make for themselves.

Through the lens of the Enneagram
I am wondering if some of this reaction is due to the level of development of the person. Any type who is unhealthy can elicit red flags warning us to steer clear. Riso and Hudson have done a wonderful job in describing the healthy and unhealthy states for each type.

The Enneagram Five is the type most likely to have radar that would signal that a needy person would impinge on their peace of mind. Feelings and emotion interfere with the Fives detached observer stance and is the number one thing to be avoided.

The Enneagram Eight would have a more assertive reaction to the needy person. Rather than withdrawing and avoiding them they would deal with someone who wasn’t willing to stand up and try in a direct manner. While an underdog who is willing to fight for themselves is championed, anyone who clings and shows their belly might be told to “Get a life.”

Each type would react differently to people perceived as being needy and I am curious about how people of other types react. It would be great to hear your perspective.

Through the lens of the Reiss Desire Profile
When I was pondering my response to this query, the insights from the Reiss Desire Profile leapt to mind. Three of the 16 basic psychological needs might each have some influence here: the need for Acceptance, the need for Independence and the need for Social Contact.

The need for Acceptance relates to the need for approval. Anyone with a high need in this area can be seen as being needy. If you happen to have this as a need, you will never succeed in making it disappear. What you can do is recognize and accept it and design ways to get this need filled. Part of the trouble comes when people expect others in their inner circle, at work or random contacts to accommodate this need instead of being intentional in getting it met.

How does one do that? I’m not sure what would work for any individual but perhaps an example will help get the wheels turning. Mary Kay Cosmetics in the hay day of building their organization gave away pink Cadillacs plus many other public ways of showing recognition in a culture based on Acceptance. If someone can get their need met in one aspect of their life they will not have to generalize it to every situation.

Imagine that you are someone with a low need for Acceptance, a high need for Independence and a low need for Social Contact… if this profile or any combination of these desires fits you think about how you typically react to needy people.

What if we could use the information we glean from assessment tools to shift our reactions from personal to objective, we might reduce the temptation to judge or blame and instead get curious about what we can learn about how to work with people of all levels and types of needs.

Category : MBTI Facts | Other Assessments | Relationships | Blog

Seven women from book club gathered for a three day cottage get-away… a little kayaking, swimming, walks to town, shopping, reading and talking books, dinner on the verandah, sunset watching on the dock. Nothing that we did was spectacular, after all we have known each other for years, however we all remarked at how special this time was, totally awesome actually, and how good we all felt. One of the women passed on an email that summed it up quite nicely – I don’t know the source, but I am sharing it anyway with the invitation to add “nurturing relationships” to your exercise routine.

I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection–the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time” helps us to create more seratonin–a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings?–rarely. Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There’s a tendency to think that when we are “exercising” we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged–not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking! So every time you hang out to shmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very very lucky.

Category : Personal | Relationships | Blog

Are you like me in that most of your friends are in a similar kind of work? Most of our family friends are independent business owners, consultants/coaches or professionals working in their own practice – all this laced with a smattering of entrepreneur. One implication of this is that a dinner party with friends, some of whom are of high school vintage, will include our accountant, bookkeeper, lawyer, security system provider, graphic designer, software wizard etc. etc. It works both ways as some friends who are coaches/consultants engage me to facilitate planning sessions personally or as a collaborative venture with their clients and some friends have my art on their walls.

Understanding the MBTI type of your friends may provide insight if there is the odd bump in the road in your everyday interactions. However when you do business together the value of understanding differences and appreciating where the person is coming from and how to communicate with them more effectively can be a critical factor in maintaining a strong relationship on a professional level. Of course keeping things going smoothly has huge implications on a personal level.

Some people may caution against working with friends. My approach is to take it on a case by case basis. Some people you can work with and with others you need to trust your gut. If working together would place too much strain on your friendship, it is not worth the temptation of working with someone who knows you well.

On the other hand one side implication is that you get to see your friend in a different context. If this context is stressful, it may have some negative side effects. However, the other day I was amazed and delighted to have the pleasure of seeing someone I have known for years in the midst of using their expertise. They were masterful beyond anything I had expected and it was a joy to behold. I have learned so much from my friends and appreciate the gifts that they share in my life

What is your policy about working with friends?

Category : entrepreneurs | Personal | Relationships | Blog

A reader asks “What do you think about a (F) 4 and a (M) 5 in relationship?”

It is not the best use of the Enneagram or any model of personality to use it as a predictor. However the Enneagram can be a resource to understand a particular dynamic that may be currently influencing the interaction between two people or that might potentially influence their relationship. Don Riso and Russ Hudson talk about Levels of Development for each type. All types can be in relationship with any other type. The biggest influencer is the health of an individual. Health in this sense has to do with what level of development the person “hangs out in” the most – how aware they are about the impact they are making on others, how mindful they are in the present and how much they take responsibility for their actions. Anyone addicted to the hero, villain or victim role can prove toxic to any relationship.

Most of the time people don’t drive out the Enneagram in their everyday conversations about how they are getting along. When something does arise that interrupts the connection or natural flow between two people, the Enneagram shines a bright light on what is in play and can show a way to shift the energy of what is happening.

Both Four and Five are withdrawing types, so they can be caught up in their own interior world. For the Five that world is one of intellectual abstraction. The Five pulls back from the impingement of emotional entanglement to observe and gather information. The Four is all about understanding the territory of the heart and the subtleties of emotional tonality. The trick is to find the way into each others world. The Four will need to give space for the Five and modify their considerable demand for attention. Consider the alternative – the more the Four demands a “connection” the further the Five retreats to protect their need for the safety of emotional detachment.

The Five can benefit hugely from understanding the world of feelings and learning to recognize and stay with their own feelings. While Fours and Fives are on the opposite poles of emotional connection, they have the most to learn from each other. This pairing can go either way ending with both parties contracting further into their own interior realm or meeting in the middle and consequently balancing out their own tendencies.

For more information see Helen Palmer’s “The Enneagram in Love and Work”. Riso and Hudson have a rich on-line resource for members.

As a final comment – my aunt once gave me a life lesson for which I am grateful. She questioned me about the word “relationship”. She said that it was LOVE that mattered. That shifts the conversation and the kinds of things that matter, where you focus your attention and what you are willing to do to nurture the love.

Category : Other Assessments | Relationships | Blog

Language is imprecise. We use words to describe an image that we have in our heads and assume that other people are applying definitions that are similar to ours. This is not just true for grand concepts such as truth, justice, beauty, integrity or freedom. Next time you have dinner guests take one of these words that people use all the time and ask two questions. The first question requires a simple yes or no – “Do you know what it means?” The second is to ask everyone “What does it mean to you?”

People will generally all agree that they know what the word means in response to question #1. Then in response to question #2 you will get the same number of definitions as there are people at the dinner table. Introducing a commonly held definition may help somewhat but people are still apt to apply their own perspective.

A coaching client (ENTP) saw themselves as supportive and a team player. This was true in respect to direct reports and those in an underdog position who were deemed to be trying their best. To these people this person was a champion and would go the extra mile in a kind and compassionate manner. What the client didn’t “see” was just how differently peers were treated. People at the same level in the organization were held to a completely different set of criteria, and they were expected to be capable, efficient and effective without any need for support. The approach was “show me you are competent and you will have my respect. Otherwise stay out of my way.”


Different people in the organization had opposing opinions about this person’s character, but the overall opinion was not serving this client well because people were confused. What added to the confusion was how blind this person was to their double standard. In this person’s model of the world, it was a waste of their time being “nice” to people at their level of seniority. After all they were being paid to do an equivalent job. The end result was a handful of people saw this person as a team player and others saw them as rude.

Patrick Lencioni author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team says that team ONE is the team that you are on not the team that you lead. With that in mind, defining oneself as a team player when the team that counts doesn’t agree is a problem. You may argue that this person was “right” that there ought to be an expectation of competence but that misses the point . Sometimes being “right” is a cold and lonely place.

Category : Coaching | Relationships | Team Building | Blog

We are wired to try to make sense of the world, but when it comes to the MBTI – it simply does not explain everything.

When something isn’t working about the behaviour of someone else, it is tempting to develop theories to explain what is happening. If people know the MBTI they may use type or preference differences as their rationale. When the statements they make take the form of sweeping generalizations “I don’t like Extraverts they always yell instead of talking and I can’t hear myself think.” there is the possibility of creating much more harm than good.

So before we go painting everyone of a certain preference with the same paint brush let’s take a breath. Perhaps this person’s behaviour is objectionable because of their level of development. There might also be several other possible explanations that aren’t about personality type.

The Enneagram addresses this issue in a direct manner. The way the Enneagram is presented by Riso and Hudson adds levels of development to their look at type. At higher levels a person tends toward being open and expansive as opposed to restricting and reacting at the lower levels. It is very helpful to see behaviours that are healthy and how type may function in an unhealthy way. This saves labeling a certain negative behaviour as being a characteristic of the type as a whole. The individual in question may simply be less developed and have behaviour that reflects this.

HINT: Words like “always, never, everyone, everywhere” mark out something that needs to be examined a little closer to find the truth.

HINT #2: Consider this quote from Jung himself

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

Category : Other Assessments | Relationships | Blog

The Question
What is the best way to get along with your MBTI type?

The Location
I asked this question on my Facebook page for Personality Plus in Business

The Incentive
I offered to make a doodle for anyone who participated. This MBTI Inspired cartoon could be printed out and posted by your desk – Hey- It’s only fair to give folks a “heads up”!

The Responses
These are hilarious – what about your type? What’s the best way to get along with you?

MBTI type answers

MBTI type answers

MBTI Get along advice continues

MBTI Get along advice continues

What's the best way to get along with my MBTI type?

What's the best way to get along with my MBTI type?

The Question
What’s the best way to get along with your type?

Category : Best practices | Doodles | Relationships | Blog

Our cottage had a three year old visitor this weekend. What a joy! She arrived at 10 in the evening after a 4 and a half hour ride in a van chock full with three adults and three kids under 6 years.

We sat and had a chat and a snack – lots of laughter and curiosity and zero drama even though it was a strange house and late at night. I give kudos to mom Helen. She is 100% ready to be present to her child and to let her be her age. A three year old tells it like it is. How awesome to be heard not put down or have artificial constraints. Laughter replaced “No’s and Don’t’s”

I was asking Helen about her work and she was said that she effortlessly sees the whole picture and what would naturally bring things into order. This is also the way Helen parents. She sees beyond the incident and what needs to happen next. She is riding the gifts of INFP to the max.

You can follow Helen on Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks website where she blogs on Conscious Parenting. The world would be a better place if every child had people as awake and aware as Helen in their lives.

Category : Relationships | Blog

Every individual has some proportion of all 16 basic needs described in the Reiss Desire Profile which you can see here. Each person person will have a high desire for some traits, others traits will be on the low end and some will be in the neutral mid-zone. The places where we share a high desire for a specific trait or traits with another person will typically be a bonding experience. For example, people with a high desire for status will seek out environments that support this desire and other people who share this sensitivity… think Conde Nast and a building full of people dressed in black.

On the other hand when people are on either end of the spectrum on the same trait, they may experience conflict. Imagine someone with a high need for saving in relationship with someone who spends freely. This can provide challenges both personally and in the workplace.

My husband has a high need for physical activity. His idea of a good day might include 36 holes on two challenging golf courses, a curling bonspiel (Canadian eh!) or volunteering to dig, cement and instal water cachement systems in Guatemala. My idea of a great day is hearing all about it over a glass of wine at dinner. We have been able to work this particular conflict out especially since we both have a high need for independence and we both enjoy dinner.

Other discrepancies have created greater challenges for me. I have a high need for acceptance which is a challenge for many people in the workplace. If a person with a low need for acceptance doesn’t have a modicum of awareness this can be a challenge. They might not care what others think of them – if THEY are okay with things they can go ahead. What others think may not even be on their radar screen. Some industries like the film industry also call for a certain thick skin. If you take things personally in this high pressure environment, you may not last very long.

I have learned over the years that I work best with others who are expedient. If someone has a high need for honour and needs to follow the traditions of the way things were done step by step, I am not the best business partner for them. I want to get on with it – move things forward – rock and roll. (Oops getting carried away here). I am the Queen of the lazy man’s load – pile thing up to make one trip even when 3 may be required -I am not proud of it but accept that this is typically my modus operandi.

You cannot change a person’s desires or negotiate them out of it. You can’t explain it with the hopes of changing another. You can agree to disagree. You can accept that the other person is different and build on the areas of commonality. The traits that you both rank in the neutral area do not have the same impact on the quality of the relationship.

Knowing who you are – accepting yourself – being transparent with others – accepting them and making clear agreements about areas of difference provide 5 steps toward healthy relationships.

Category : Other Assessments | Relationships | Blog