Personality Blog

The ISFJ - often undervalued, usually invaluable

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 16:10 by Bill McAneny
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The scales of justiceBecause their best work usually occurs more behind the scenes as they don’t really like the limelight, ISFJs are often the unsung heroes. They work systematically and assiduously a rare combination of caring and detailed and they are often the protectors making sure the routine is taken care of and that what has been agreed is delivered, on time, exactly as agreed and without fuss. Once they have ‘bought in’ ISFJs will work incredibly hard in the background, often unnoticed by the rest of the team, to make sure that things work and hang together for everyone.

Caring and sensitive to how other people are feeling, ISFJs are superb at remembering names and faces and specific facts, (including those who have offended them), which they store in the pristine filing cabinets inside their heads. They can then draw all these strands together into a plan, which they will quietly carry out to completion ensuring every ‘i’ is dotted and ‘t’ crossed. 

How to ‘get’ people: practical psychology for every situation

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Published on Mon, 03/31/2014 - 10:31 by Prelude Team

How to 'get' people: practical psychology for every situationLife and work are about people and it is the depth and richness of our understanding of other people, of ourselves and the dynamic between the two that will determine how well we can:

  • Spot different types
  • Influence people
  • Better relate to others
  • Develop as a person

This is not an academic exercise, we can all learn to better ‘get’ and work with different types of personality and all learn to adapt ourselves to different personalities and situations. 

"I don’t want to be categorised and put in a box"

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:28 by Bill McAneny

Horizon​How many times do you think I have heard this over the years when the notion of psychological assessment is mentioned? Or just as popular: “You can’t classify me I am different.” The problem is that people, like organisations, are like some other people, all other people and no other people. So why assess? It’s a fair question.

Well assessment is not about ‘putting people in a box,’ it’s about identifying some personality traits that help us understand people, help them better understand themselves and so begin the process of development. So if you record as an ISTJ it means you probably will display some ISTJ-like characteristics and that helps when you dig deeper into the whole person. You won’t be like every single other ISTJ. Indeed it’s almost like putting someone in a ‘box’ so that you can then understand them better and so, paradoxically, take them out of the ‘box.’

Why is it important to understand personality?

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 10:30 by Bill McAneny

RunnerWhy is it important to understand personality? Well from an academic perspective it is just…well interesting. Oh but from a life perspective it is so much more than that. The better we understand ourselves and other people, the more successful we’ll be in dealing with people and situations; and getting it right. Psychology may be an academic discipline, but understanding personality it is a much more practical subject, it is about using psychology to your advantage in everyday situations, to ‘get’ people, to influence, help and support, to get your point across, in a way that's right for you, to better understand and shape decision-making, to motivate and manage people, and deal with conflict and most importantly to understand and manage our own impact on other people.

The Perceptive Functions: Sensing vs Intuitive and how to spot them

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Published on Thu, 03/13/2014 - 13:52 by Bill McAneny

Head up in the clouds vs feet on the groundJung was clear that Sensing vs Intuitive are the perceptive functions, ie they make us aware of what is happening but don’t try to evaluate or interpret (these are the functions of the judging functions, Thinking and Feeling). Although a lot has been written about the true meaning of the two scales, it is helpful to see what Jung wrote on the subject.

We kind of know that Sensing types prefer the known, the facts, the actualities. Rooted in the here and now they have a grounded approach taking in information that has practical application and so they can see concepts and theoretical models as a bit airy-fairy. When we look at what Jung actually said it makes so much more sense.

Exploding the myths of Thinking vs. Feeling

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 03/07/2014 - 15:09 by Bill McAneny

BarometerThe most misunderstood element of personality is the Thinking vs Feeling scale. The traditional view is that Thinkers are logical and Feelers are emotional. OK this may be true, but it does not begin to even scratch the surface of the real differences.

Even Jung, who coined the term conceded:

…I freely admit that this problem of feeling has been one that has caused me much brain racking.

So if Jung struggled what chance do the rest of us have? Well we think that Feeling types often get a bad press, as they are more tactful, more in tune and more concerned about the impact on people than their Thinking opposites. So the view is often expressed that Feelers are ‘soft.’ One HR Director I know well always fakes his assessments so that he records as ENTP because he truly believes that being seen as an ENFP may well be career limiting! 

How Introverts Can Succeed on Teams with Extroverts

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Published on Fri, 02/28/2014 - 16:12 by Guest Blogger

Pen and PaperI’m sitting in the back of the crowded room, near the wall, and it seems like this staff meeting is never going to end.

All the extroverts – the room is full of them – are jumping over each other to debate the finer points of a new policy we’re putting into effect. There are so many differing opinions and rapid changes of topic that I’m not even sure what the central problem is anymore. The conversation is moving so quickly that I couldn’t get a word in if I wanted to.

Suddenly all the talking stops. A decision has been made. I’m still thinking about a point someone made ten minutes ago.

As an introvert working on a team of (mostly) extroverts, this has happened to me more times than I can count.

What’s an introvert to do? Shrink back into the wall and let everyone else make the decisions? Get passed over for raises and promotions because you’re not as visible as your extroverted colleagues?

While we’re never going to keep pace with extroverts in their ability to talk eloquently on the fly or possess (seemingly) endless amounts of energy, we can succeed on extroverted teams, and keep ourselves sane. 

Judging vs Perceiving in the workplace

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 02/21/2014 - 14:35 by Bill McAneny

CoffeeI met with my friend Gary last Thursday for a coffee and catch up. We were really pleased to see each other. We caught up on what’s happening, had a really warm chat about things and then something strange happened as we got down to work. He got out a notepad which had a list of items and said: “OK this is what I’d like to get out of this meeting, what do you want to cover.” Me: “I don’t know, I hadn’t thought about it!” And do you know what the difference was? Yep, Judging vs Perceiving. He needed a list and a plan, and I wanted to just see where it would go.

In the workplace there is often a misalignment between Js and Ps. Unlike Extraversion vs Introversion, which now gets a lot of airtime, has heaps of books and articles written about it and which is probably easier to ‘get,’ the J-P scale can cause friction between those who need to create a plan and stick to it, and those who prefer to see how it all unfolds.

Carl Jung on Extraversion and Introversion

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 02/14/2014 - 08:51 by Bill McAneny

Carl JungWe all know what Jung meant by Extraversion and Introversion, but do we know what he actually said?

It’s strange how many people are bought into the theory and practice of Jungian type but haven’t ventured to read the words of the great man himself. The primary source materials provide an excellent insight into his thinking on personality differences and he gives us colour, flavour and lots of humour! We all know that Jung was clear what he meant by Extraversion and Introversion: where we draw our energy from. However when we read his words we can see not only his take but also his opinion. On Extraversion:

Extraversion is characterized by a desire to influence and be influenced by events, a need to join in and get “with it,” the capacity to endure bustle and noise of every kind…the cultivation of friends and acquaintances, none too carefully selected…He has no secrets he has not long since shared with others.  Should something unmentionable nevertheless befall him, he prefers to forget it…all self-communings give him the creeps.  Dangers lurk there which are better drowned out by noise. 

INFP vs ISFP: savouring new possibilities vs savouring new experiences

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Published on Fri, 02/07/2014 - 09:45 by Bill McAneny

Golden Air​People often confuse the INFP and the ISFP, as they are both quiet, laid back, gentle enigmas. They are also both intensely private inhabiting their own internal worlds but there is a major difference: INFPs are future oriented dreamers who enjoy flights of fancy and seeing many possibilities while ISFPs prefer to stop and savour the sensory, real experiences of the moment to the max. Neither are forthcoming types, both love the new, both dislike structure or being controlled, however the INFP will look up and dream big dreams and the ISFP will look down, immersing themselves in actual experiences.

These are subtle differences but they help us better understand the two character types, which, paradoxically, are often the most misunderstood. Both are astute observers of life, caring and loyal: yet they experience the world in very different ways with the INFP wanting to see way beyond the here and now and the ISFP wanting to remain there until their need for experience is satiated and they move onto the next, new sensory experience.

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