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                                                                            Personality types

H         e wants the details, she wants                                    shape the workforce
          the big picture. He thinks                                        in any organization.
          out loud and prefers to brain-
storm, she needs time to work quietly                                       Recognizing strengths
to process things. These co-workers                                         and weaknesses in your
drive each other crazy at meetings!
In reality they need each other, but                                        team members will
it’s vital they understand themselves                                       help you manage them
and why other ways of operating are
equally valid. By doing this, work will                                     more effectively and
be more productive and less stress-                                         capitalize on their best
An age-old question that most peo-
ple have pondered at some point in
their lives is “why are we the
way we are?” Unfortunately,
there is no clear answer.
You need to consider per-
sonality types. The My-
ers-Briggs Type Indicator®
is the most popular test
used to identify personal-
ity types. The purpose of
learning about personal-
ity types is to help you
understand yourself bet-
ter and to enhance your
relationships with others.

The theory of Personal-
ity Types, as it stands today,
contends that: an individual
is either primarily Extrovert-                                             PEOPLE ARE
ed or Introverted, Sensing or
Intuitive, Thinking or Feeling,
and Judging or Perceiving.
We all function in all of these realms
to some extent on a daily basis. Some

of the terms used in the Myers-Briggs
Type Indicator have a somewhat dif-
ferent meaning than we use everyday.
“Extrovert” does not mean talkative
or loud; “Introvert” does not mean
shy or inhibited; “Feeling” does not
mean emotional; “Judging” does not
mean judgmental; and “Perceiving”          by | Linda S. Eck Mills, MBA, RD, LDN, FADA
does not mean perceptive.

Extroverted or Introverted
When we talk about “extroversion”
and “introversion” we are distin-
guishing between the two worlds
             (Continued on page 28)

                                                                                         OCTOBER • 2006   7
     DM Feature        (Continued)

     in which all of us live. When we are       itions without necessarily building           Judging preference want things to be
     dealing with the world outside of our-     upon a solid foundation of facts?             neat, orderly, and established. The
     selves, we are “extroverting.” When
                                                                                              Perceiving preference wants things
     we are inside our own minds, we are        Thinking or Feeling                           to be flexible and spontaneous. Judg-
     “introverting.” Extroverts will talk to    The capability to make decisions is           ing individuals make a list of things to
     other people and listen to what some-      based on two very different sets of           do, schedule things in advance, form
     one is saying, while introverts will       criteria: Thinking and Feeling. When          and express judgments, and bring clo-
     read a book or think about what they       someone makes a decision that is              sure to an issue so that we can move
     want to say or do. Within the context      based on logic and reason, they are           on. Perceiving individuals postpone
     of personality typing, the important       operating in Thinking mode. When              decisions to see what other options
     distinction is which world we live in      someone makes a decision that is              are available, act spontaneously, do
     more often. Do we define our life’s        based on their value system, or what          things at the last minute. Within the
     direction externally or internally?        they believe to be right, they are op-        context of personality type, the im-
     Which world gives us our energy?           erating in Feeling mode. We all use           portant distinction is which way of
     And which do we perhaps find drain-        both modes for making decisions, but          life do we lean towards, and are more
     ing?                                       we put more trust into one mode or            comfortable with. The differences
                                                the other. In the Thinking mode we            between Judging and Perceiving are
     Sensing or Intuitive
                                                research a product via Consumer Re-           probably the most marked differenc-
     This refers to how we gather infor-
     mation. We all need data on which
                                                                  EXTROVERTED              or INTuITIVE
                                                                 or INTROVERTED                             THINKING
                                                                                                           or FEELING
        The key to personality types is to use                                       JuDGING
        the differences constructively in the                                     or PERCEIVING

        workplace. Trouble develops when
        common biases about behaviors
        are associated with the dominant
        preference that differs from your own.

     to base our decisions. We gather data                                                    es of all the four preferences. People
     through our five senses. The “Sens-        ports, and buy the best one to meet           with strong Judging preferences might
     ing” preference absorbs data in a          our needs or establish guidelines to          have a hard time accepting people
     literal, concrete fashion. The “Intui-     follow for performing tasks. In the           with strong Perceiving preferences,
     tive” preference generates abstract        Feeling mode we decide to buy some-           and vice-versa. On the other hand,
     possibilities from information that is     thing because we like it or refrain from      a “mixed” team (one Perceiving and
     gathered. We all use both Sensing and      telling someone something which we            one Judging) can complement each
     Intuition in our lives, but to different   feel may upset them. Decisions that           other very well, if they have devel-
     degrees of effectiveness and with dif-     we find most difficult are those in           oped themselves enough to be able to
     ferent levels of comfort. Sensing indi-    which we have conflicts between our           accept each other’s differences.
     viduals will taste food or follow steps    Thinking and Feeling sides. In these
     in a plan. Intuitive individuals come      situations, our dominant preference           What Does All This Mean?
     up with a new way of doing things or       will take over.                               The key to personality types is to use
     see the big picture. Within the con-
                                                                                              the differences constructively in the
     text of personality typing, the impor-     Judging or Perceiving                         workplace. Trouble develops when
     tant distinction is which method of        Our attitude towards the external             common biases about behaviors are
     gathering information do we trust the      world and how we live our lives on            associated with the dominant prefer-
     most? Do we rely on our five senses        a day-to-day basis is the key to judg-        ence that differs from your own.
     and want concrete, practical data to       ing and perceiving. People with the
     work with? Or, do we trust our intu-

     Dietary Manager
                                               Learning about our
                                               personality type helps
For example, an Extrovert may think            us understand why
                                                                                      tions to situations, and know how
an Introvert is uninterested or with-          certain areas in life come             to best communicate with them
holding information, when in reality                                                  on a level which they will under-
                                               easily to us, and others
the Introvert is processing internally.                                               stand?
The Introvert may think Extroverts             are more of a struggle.
                                                                                    • How can we develop different
are uncertain or inconsistent when             Learning about other                   teaching methods to effectively
they are processing a decision out
                                               people’s personality types             educate different types of people?
loud. The Sensing individual may
think Intuitive individuals are avoid-         helps us to understand               • How can we help individuals
ing or changing the topic when they            the most effective way to              understand themselves better, and
are brainstorming connections. In-                                                    become better able to deal with
                                               communicate with them.                 their strengths and weaknesses?
tuitive individuals may think Sensing
individuals are unimaginative when                                                  The bottom line is, there is no right
they are raising realistic and practical                                            or wrong type, and there are not bet-
questions. Thinking individuals may                                                 ter or worse combinations of types in
believe that Feeling individuals are                                                work or relationships. Each type and
over-personalizing when they focus         types helps us to understand the most    each individual bring special gifts.
on applying their values. Feeling in-      effective way to communicate with        Learn to appreciate these gifts.
dividuals may believe that Thinking        them and how they function best.
individuals are harsh and cold when                                                 To learn your personality type, check
                                           Consider the following questions to      with the counseling office at your lo-
they take a detached, problem-solv-
                                           evaluate how you do things and con-      cal college or university or consult
ing approach to a situation. Judging
                                           sider how you can do it better.          the human resources director at your
individuals may think Perceiving in-
dividuals are procrastinating and un-      • What types of tasks are we most        workplace.
reliable when they are trying to keep        suited to perform?
options open. Perceiving individuals       • Where are we naturally most            Linda S. Eck Mills, MBA, RD, LDN, FADA
                                                                                    is a professional speaker who guarantees
may think that Judging individuals           happy?
                                                                                    to keep an audience involved and awake.
are rigid and controlling when they        • How can we best understand an          She is also a freelance writer, author of
are structuring and scheduling.              employee’s natural capabilities,       the book From Mundane to Ah Ha! Effec-
                                             and where we will find the most        tive Training Objects, and a consultant.
It becomes clear that we cannot box
                                             satisfaction?                          Mills directs the dietary manager program
individuals into prescribed formu-                                                  at Lehigh Carbon Community College
las for behavior. However, we can          • How can we improve our aware-          (Schnecksville, PA), and is a consulting
identify our natural preferences, and        ness of another individual’s person-   dietitian in long-term care. Contact her
learn about our natural strengths and        ality type, and therefore increase     at LSMillsRD@aol.com or www.theconsul-
weaknesses within that context. Mov-         our understanding of their reac-       tantsforum.com/eckmills.htm.
ing from recognizing and understand-
ing to appreciating and effectively us-
                                                                                                  Online or by mail
ing differences is a challenge because
we all have a natural bias for our own                  Dietary Managers                          Expert instruction
                                                                                                  Flexible
way of seeing things and making de-                                             Course
cisions. Everyone is capable of doing                                                             Reasonable price
either side, but it takes more energy                   & Clock Hour Courses                   High exam pass rate
and isn’t as comfortable. Opposite
                                                                                or Online RD Preceptor available!
types can complement each other by                                     instruct
filling in each other’s blind spots and                         dicated you . . .
                                                         Our de k with                  Serving Dietary Manager
balancing decision-making.
                                                         will wo p of the way.         Students for Over 32 Years!
Learning about our personality type                       ever y ste           For a complete course listing, go to:
helps us understand why certain                                                 www.conted.und.edu/certificates
areas in life come easily to us, and                                            Toll Free: 1-877-450-1841
others are more of a struggle. Learn-
ing about other people’s personality
                                                                                                              CertifiCate Programs

                                                                                                          OCTOBER • 2006             

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