January 8, 2015

Labels are Dangerous

I'm an extrovert introvert who enjoys collaborating in team and group environments but also needs and enjoys some chill time on my own to recharge. I’m an ENFP (Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception) which means I focus on intuition and external connections. But there is a strong internal piece which is key to process how I feel about things and how they fit into my value system.

I live in the world of possibilities – which can trip me up on follow through – but I see life as a gift and literally wake up every day looking forward to the possibilities. I have my share of down times and self-doubt which again is typical of someone driven by emotion and connection.

Mix it up

When I look at the 20 or so people I spend the most time with, it’s a mix, which is typical of an ENFP as I get energy from others and the varied traits they bring. And some of the closest people in my life are actually introverts. If you know one or are one, you know the label isn't completely accurate. The ones in my life are incredibly personable, engaging, and funny. Introvert means shy and withdrawn and I disagree with those broad labels.

I have a colleague who is an introvert and prefers to solve issues at work one-on-one in plain language through conversation and collaboration while her boss wants every report in triplicate to outline the effectiveness of the analysis of the plan. One gets energy from relationships while the other can’t operate without reports and structure. Sadly, the highest ranking official wins the day and the organization loses an opportunity for both to thrive.

Person to Person

One of my best friends – who is definitely an extrovert – is a very successful investment advisor who does most of his work on the phone or with clients rather than sitting in his office doing paperwork. His energy comes from being with and helping people and he does it all day long.

So if you have someone on your team who isn't like you, celebrate that, celebrate them, and get to know their way, their perspective, and their view on the world.

Teamwork and culture are not achieved by insisting everyone homogenizes into one sanitized process but rather by respecting personality traits and gifts. The combination can be magical which is why open collaborative leadership is critical.

Labels are for clothing not people.
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Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

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