So much has been written about whether opposites attract or difference is the key but in real life it is all about understanding the differences, accommodating and managing them. This section will help you see where the potential for conflict exists between personality types and help you manage it.
The ENFJ is the harmonious people champion, warm, caring and extremely organised. The ENFJ will be the one people turn to for help. They are authentic, insightful and great at tuning in to how others are feeling and making people feel truly special. They are found at the emotional heart of a group, selfless, acting as the glue, an unusual combination of bossy and caring.
Logical, detached and detailed, ISTJs use their experience and store of knowledge, to plan and will work quietly and steadily behind the scenes towards conclusion. The ISTJ has a strong sense of duty, loyalty and tradition and once they are clear on what’s expected, they will work in a methodical way to complete. Risk averse they prefer the known, and prefer facts to concepts.
There is no perfect type and in the same way there are no perfect matches. We can all learn to adapt and modify our behaviour if we choose and this section is therefore not designed to suggest particular specific matches but to demonstrate areas of similarity and difference so that a true understanding can happen and thus reduce the risk of misunderstandings.
Being around them
The ENFJ is empathetic and insightful, seeing and making connections between people. Action-oriented, and people-centred they make sure that everything is planned, scheduled, organised and people are happy.
Because of their intense focus ISTJs may be seen as slightly detached, cold and impersonal, possibly even as uncaring. This is not deliberate but it can alienate those trying to get close or get to know them.
Dealing with emotions
ENFJs are emotional but tend to focus on other people, tuning in and bringing incredible empathy and organisational ability to bear. This means they can get ‘emotioned out’ themselves as they give so much.
Detached and factual ISTJs often find it difficult to deal with emotions as they see this as irrational and when others display emotions they have to translate the emotion into factual language that they can understand.
Openness and sharing feelings
Whilst the ENFJ will encourage trust and openness they may not be so open about how they are feeling, indeed they may not really think about that so focused are they on caring for, and organising others.
Deep and private ISTJs will tend to keep their feelings to themselves and until they have the measure of people will be unlikely to proactively share their feelings. Too much interaction sucks their energies.
Drivers and values
ENFJs tune into others. They have thin psychological boundaries, and are at risk of being hurt or by those who are less sensitive, often taking on more of the burdens of others than they can bear.
ISTJs like people to stick to agreements and commitments and may not understand that this is human nature, not human deficiency as they themselves take such commitments incredibly seriously.
Some people seek harmony, some see conflict as simply robust discussions, some people are emotional, some more factual. So there is no right or wrong about this and what we are trying to do is help two different people each understand how the other might deal with conflict and what it will mean for the relationship.
Initial response to conflict situations
The twin attributes of insightful caring and organisational ability will mean the ENFJ will see all the interconnections between people, pick up on the cues and work tirelessly to help solve people issues.
ISTJs prefer to keep themselves to themselves and so in conflict situations they will struggle with overt conflict, ie with someone who wants to engage verbally. They are fine with more formal conflict.
Issues they'll fight on
The ENFJ is an enthusiastic champion of people who wants to make sure the needs of the people are and taken care of. Excellent networkers who tune into people and popular among their colleagues.
ISTJs have a strong sense of right and wrong and this tends to be around what has been agreed. They believe if you have said you’ll do something then it is akin to a contract and you should fulfil that.
Conflict style / communication
Articulate and confident the ENFJ will be persuasive and tenacious; the one voted the leader or committee chairperson. Everyone knows they can depend on the ENFJ who will fight the cause of the people.
Formal processes such as writing letters of complaint or going through the proper channels plays to ISTJ strengths. They are measured and formal and so will be very factual and non-emotional.
How they feel after
The ENFJ may bite off more that they can chew, as their first priority is to say ‘yes’ and take the pain away for others. During such times they may feel weighed down, overwhelmed and underappreciated.
It is all about right and wrong. ISTJs do not like conflict if it involves emotion, as they prefer to see things far more factually and in a binary way. For them it will be about did it play out fairly and as agreed?
We all bring something different to the team and we all agree that difference and balance are good things. However when someone is different from us we might not understand them so well so in this section we allow you to compare the differences at work, how these might manifest themselves and how best to manage them.
Contribution to the team
ENFJs will bring structure and impetus whilst at the same making sure the needs of all the people are taken care of. Often at the flipchart they capture ideas giving everyone the chance to contribute.
ISTJs bring a strong sense of planning, agreeing objectives and working steadily towards closure. They have a strong eye for detail and can therefore protect the team from going off in a wrong direction.
The ENFJ will assume the leadership role simply because they want to drive for closure and ensure that people are happy. They need to satiate their need for action and their passion for people.
ISTJs will be great at ensuring everyone is clear on what is expected, everyone knows what the plan is and their part in it and ensuring that the plan is enacted, so more task- than people-focused.
Naturally service-driven the ENFJ really does care and will want to apply this energy to tangible outputs, preferably that will help people. They need clarity, real meaning, a worthwhile output and closure.
Best managed by clear tasks, ISTJs need plenty of time to fully understand what is expected then let them get on, working with consistent steady energy towards completion, not micro managed.
Attention to detail / focus
The ENFJ loves a plan, a clear picture of where they are going and they will work diligently towards the goal. Indeed the ENFJ will feel less comfortable with too many options open, as they need closure.
ISTJs have and incredible eye for detail, focus and a desire to drive for closure. They will want to slowly assimilate information and be sure of their facts before moving forward and this will be as per the plan.
ENFJs focus on the organisational and people aspects and so are not primarily creative preferring to work on making sure that what has been agreed is properly planned and that people are happy.
ISTJs are more factual than creative and their value is exactly that: ensuring that was has been agreed is delivered exactly as agreed and translating everything into a plan that is clear and can be delivered.