In a discussion on collaboration - and how we want to work with each other's strengths and not so strengths - I started to think about how we understand differences. Idly, I thought about how I might characterise another participant in terms of 'Myers-Briggs', and typed what I guess into an on-line MB profiler. And then of course I had to look again at myself. I found two great images, and some more or less accurate words.
This was me: I Can Change the World With Just an Idea (ENFP). Also labelled the Campaigner.
Below is the cut-down text that went with the image.
“Energetic and curiosity: I tend to see life as a big, complex puzzle where everything is connected – but through a prism of emotion, compassion and mysticism, and always looking for a deeper meaning.
I am less interested in the sheer excitement and pleasure of the moment than I am in the social and emotional connections I make with others.
Self-esteem: is it dependent on my ability to come up with original solutions? I can lose patience or become dejected if I get trapped in a boring or repressed role.”
In the context of the discussion – where I was beginning to worry we might box each into not helpful categories – this seemed pretty perfect. For me. In the moment.
I use Myers-Briggs in teaching, which also means I am aware of some of the criticisms of it. But – as long as we neither believe it tells us everything about anyone, nor feel that it traps (or justifies) us in a particular place - I have found ‘personality inventories’ very useful in working with others.
How do you think about individual differences, and how other people work in different ways to us?
The major strength of Myers-Briggs is that many people have used it, and there is a lot of material on how to use it, for example, specific tips on how to communicate from where you are with someone with a different 4 letter type. The theory behind it is wilder than the conventional story: it is, after all, based on Jungian archetypes. And it is clear in practice that people can shift with experience, something the person who taught me was very interested in. He believed that personal development would often move people, from T to F and J to P, and that is what has happened to me in the past two decades.
So. What kinds of tools do you find useful, in thinking about the different ways we approach, say, meetings? How can we use them in Campfire Convention?