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It's been exactly three years since I completed my first (and only) writing challenge on this blog, so this year I have decided to revive the long neglected challenge...while also fulfilling a required exercise for one of my graduate courses this semester! For those of you who don't know, I am a second year master's student at The University of Texas at Austin School of Information. This semester I am taking a management course and one of the assignments is to keep a learning journal to reflect on what I'm learning each week. I thought that this might make an interesting series to publish on my blog as I discover new insights about myself, gain new understandings of group dynamics, and develop my professional skills in effectively managing projects as well as people.

Individual Differences: Understanding Myself and Others
Type Talk at Work (Revised) by Otto Kroeger, Janet M. Thuesen, Hile RutledgeThis week we discussed personality, specifically, how different personality behaviors affect communication and work styles in organizations. After identifying our Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type, we explored the four Keirsey personality temperaments and the behaviors typically associated with each temperament in the workplace using Type Talk at Work by Otto Kroeger, Janet M. Thuesen and Hile Rutledge. The book also contains profiles for each of the 16 MBTI personality types so we could read more about our individual type. It's a really insightful book. I definitely recommend it if you work with other people (which is basically everyone!).

I had taken the MBTI personality assessment before so I already knew that I'm an INTJ (Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging). I think that, overall, the INTJ profile describes my personality quite accurately, although as a borderline ISTJ I have found that situational context affects whether my Sensing or iNtuitive qualities dominate depending on which are necessary to balance out the group dynamic. It was reaffirming that the other self-evaluations I did in class were consistent with my INTJ type. I scored above average on the Core Self-Evaluation Scale, which measures self-esteem and self-efficacy--qualities that are highly characteristic of INTJs, who tend to "convey confidence, stability, competence, intellectual insight, and self-assurance." According to Type Talk:

"INTJs view the world in terms of endless possibilities (iNtuition), to be manipulated, conceptualized, systematized, and translated through objective decisions (Thinking). These decisions are readily implemented because of their daily lifestyle of structure, schedule, and order (Judging). Their Introversion is the arena for developing their many ideas..." (324)

I also scored in the average range on the Tolerance of Ambiguity Scale, which I suspect is the result of my borderline iNtuition and Sensing (focused on facts and tangible realities) preferences.

Learning the different strengths and weaknesses of the Keirsey temperaments certainly underscored the importance of having a diverse team in order to capitalize on the best skills and qualities of each personality group. It reminded me of the time one of my previous employers purchased a professional DiSC team profile assessment to evaluate our small organization's staff dynamics. When the results came in, I was amused that the DiSC profile patterns belonging to my boss, who was the Director of Communications, and me (then the Communications Assistant) were almost exact opposites. When I pointed it out to her in the team discussion, she said she intentionally sought to hire someone who wasn't just like her and could bring different strengths to what was only a two-person department. My SC style perfectly complimented her Id style, resulting in a well-rounded collection of abilities between the pair of us.

Overall, this week has impressed upon me the significance of actively "typewatching" in order to collaborate in--and eventually manage and lead--highly effective, dynamic teams. I conducted an informal survey of my co-workers' personality types and read each of their profiles, which was a fun, enlightening exercise. One co-worker, Tim, a UX designer who markets himself as a "Visual Empath" and "hUman eXperience Advocate", is an ENFJ. My other co-worker who does systems administration and security is, unsurprisingly, an INTP. Moving forward, I will continue to reflect on ways to better engage with people whose personalities and styles differ from mine as I know this will be a critical aspect of my on-going professional development throughout my career.

#1 - Individual Differences: Understanding Myself and Others (MBTI Types + Keirsey Temperaments)

NEXT TOPIC: #2 - Communicating Verbally with Others