Food For Thought

7th Heaven

There are many resources available to help make the difficult task of getting people to work together less difficult. Understanding the diverse personality types in the work place can increase productivity and create a more pleasant work environment. Every industry is challenged to attract and retain talent. Unfortunately so many leaders either don’t know how or just aren’t really trying.

The most widely used tool to create functional and productive work groups is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI. It is a valid and reliable instrument for professionals as well as students. All types are equal. There is no best type. Preferences for focusing on the world around us and how we choose to interpret information are measured and combined in 16 different ways.

There is also a tool called DISC. It measures dominance, influence, steadiness, conscientiousness.  Again, there is no best type. Some tools use colors or animals to describe characteristics that correlate to certain people types. These are mostly used for non-managers, people who work in teams, or just for fun with new hires.

There is a popular tool out there for senior level managers called 360 Degree Feedback. This tool is great in theory. People at the highest echelon are given an opportunity to improve by receiving constructive feedback from their direct reports, peers, and their own bosses. I said it is great in theory because very often the people giving feedback either don’t tell the truth because of fear or just don’t do it at all because of ego or apathy. Companies hire consultants and coaches to assist their brightest and best with this measurement tool. What do they get for that investment? Often not a damn thing. They have big kick-off rallies for these improvement initiatives and then 30, 60, 90 days later it is forgotten.

People are usually a combination of any number of characteristics depending on the situation. I believe this information can be useful when it is appropriately communicated. I created a personality assessment of my own. It isn’t used in corporate environments, but it is great fun at dinner parties.  You may have worked with some of these types.

The Fluffer Nutter: Not good for much more than superficial interaction. Appears friendly but doesn’t care a thing about you. Tends to gossip.

The Beefy Noodle Soup Nuker: Makes a great lunch companion. Rarely has any useful information beyond the latest headlines or sports trivia. Can be impatient.

The Organic Tofu Roaster: Offers substance and value. Prefers to be over prepared for meetings and corporate functions. Often emotional and borderline paranoid. Enjoys the finer things in life, but could benefit from an occasional cheeseburger.

The Mac & Cheese: Happy and pleasant. Delivers comfort during times of stress. Creates a feeling of general well-being and is welcome at all occasions. Dependable.

The Adult Beverage Junk Food Combo: Enjoys large crowds and seems like fun at first glance. Usually becomes toxic when given too much attention.  Sometimes these people are identified as “Type A” personalities. They’re often misunderstood and labeled as being overbearing, perfectionistic, and egomaniacal.  This is unfair. They are really just endowed with a self-awareness that drives them to give the rest of us mediocre slobs the full benefits of the gift to the world that they truly are.

Have a great week everybody!