1. Trees, Type and Me

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    I love the header photo of this blog. For some reason, I have a thing about trees. If you've seen the Understanding Yourself and Others books you'll notice that all the cover images are of leaves and trees. I love looking at trees, especially in a natural setting. I love the textures, the different colors and the sounds when the wind blows through them. One of my workshop participants gave me a book on the healing power of trees. There does seem to be something healing about trees. When flying over Portland, Oregon and looking out the plane window, I commented to my colleague on how I loved the trees. She responded that I wasn't being very good to myself living in Southern California in a tract home with few trees. That was over 15 years ago and I still live in the same setting, but outside my window in my home office, I do have some trees to look at. So the trees in the photo are my dream of the kind of setting I'd like to live in. Maybe I will some day if my path takes me there. In the meantime, I treasure the visits I make...
  2. Getting the Most Out of the Type Code

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    The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® self-report assessment was developed by Isabel Myers to help individuals find their best-fit type. In order to develop the assessment, the J-P dichotomy was added. Now the four-letter type code that results from her work has become a standard for referring to the 16 types no matter how you arrive at determining the best-fit. Traditionally, type has been approached by explanation of the four dichotomies of Extraversion vs Introversion, Sensing vs iNtuing, Thinking vs Feeling, and Judging vs Perceiving. By exploring preferences for one or the other pole of the dichotomies most clients get some very valuable information that they can use in their personal and professional lives. A growing number of type practitioners have found it useful and powerful to understand the type code in terms of other, related models that provide different information about important aspects of the 16 personality types. They use the four temperaments or Interaction Styles or even the rich Cognitive Dynamics (aka 8 function model) to know more about their clients and to pick and choose which model to use for which objectives. So, when I see ESTP, for example, I expect to see the Improviser Temperament with a talent...
  3. Adult Development and Typological Look-Alikes

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    For many years, I scoffed at the idea of stages of adult development as being artificial and somewhat arrogant, as if one who is more developed is better than others at earlier stages. I observed development in the physical realm and these did not bother me in the same way as in the psychological/personality realm. In the Jungian typology model, there are several views of type development and I had found one of these to be very useful. The Jungian model says that we have four mental processes—Sensing, intuiting, Thinking, Feeling—and each of these processes can be used in either the outer world or the inner world. Thus the popular 4-letter personality type code derived from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® assessment stands for a pattern of these processes. We all have access to all eight (the four in either the extraverted or introverted attitude. And type development theory says one of these processes is dominant and trusted most and therefore is more developed, playing a leading role in our personalities. Another plays a supporting role (auxiliary) and is also fairly well developed by young adulthood. There is also a tertiary process, which emerges in young adulthood and an inferior process,...
  4. Best-Fit Type Self Discovery With or Without Using An Assessment such as the MBTI® instrument

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    by Susan Nash In my eighteen years of introducing individuals, teams, leaders and organizations to the rich theory of personality type, I have explored using the Interstrength Self-Discovery process both with the MBTI® assessment tool and without. Overall I have found that using the Self-Discovery process without an assessment works better for me for the following reasons: It can be too easy to use the “test and tell” approach, relying extensively on the instrument rather than linking this knowledge to Jung’s underlying principles. When time is limited, or you are working with a large group it is easy to neglect the self exploration process. When individuals try to assess their innate preferences, there can be a tendency for them to give a written “test” more credence than their individual qualitative assessment. As a trainer and coach, using the self-discovery process without a written assessment, forces me to focus on recognizing individual behaviors that might indicate the use of specific function-attitudes. I find the self-exploration process in a group to be more rich as individuals use the multiple lenses of type to review temperament, Interaction Style and function-attitudes without being limited to the “four-letter”code. Using this self-discovery process seems to overcome...
  5. Social Styles and Interaction Styles

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    Most of my research on Social Styles is from the books by Bolton and Bolton. The Tracom website has a nice animated explanation so I see that it is very similar to the general sense of Social Styles that I know about. In my early research on Social Styles, I noticed that some of the style descriptions were similar to aspects of temperament, but the four temperaments were not fully represented. It seemed to me that the styles were ‘fused’ with temperament. For example, The Amiable style seemed quite ISFJ like and the Analytic style seemed to have a mix of Stabilizer (Guardian or SJ) temperament that didn’t fit for me and. I finally figured out that I’m an analytic Amiable in that model. It wasn’t until I had worked for a while with a differentiation of the four temperaments outlined by David Keirsey that I went back to Social Styles. In the late 1980’s and through the 1990’s we at Interstrength® Associates had begun to notice that there was a pattern to the intersection of the two dichotomies that Keirsey outlined: Role Directing vs Role Informing and Initiating vs Responding. What eventually resulted was our Interaction Styles model, which...
  6. Identifying Interaction Styles and Relating To Others

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    By Linda Ernst Are you getting the most out of the “red book”, Understanding Yourself and Others, an Introduction to Interaction Styles 2.0, when you use it to help clients clarify their best-fit Interaction Style? Are you using the material in the book to the best advantage? Here are some suggestions for using the book to help clients identify Interaction Styles and relate to others… Identifying Others Activity – What to Look For This is a great activity in a workshop and can be a good discussion with an individual client. Have participants start by reading the “What to Look For” section at the bottom of page 37. Don’t forget, but don’t tell too soon, the answers are on page 44. Your clients may have some questions about this activity and may strongly disagree with some of the ‘right’ answers. Be sure they make sense to you so you can help them see the rationale. In the character sketches there are many clues that indicate more a whole type or a variation of an Interaction Style rather than just the actual Interaction Style theme. Perspective Shifting and the Communication Stages Map These 2 pages are the basis for my favorite...
  7. Clarifying Interaction Styles Self-Discovery

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    by Linda Ernst Are you getting the most out of the “red book”, Understanding Yourself and Others, an Introduction to Interaction Styles 2.0, when you use it to help clients clarify their best-fit Interaction Style? Are you using the material in the book to the best advantage? Here are some suggestions for using the book to help clients clarify their Interaction Style: Clarifying Your Interaction Style – Things-In-Common We’ve found that this information often provides the “aha” moments for participants sorting between 2 styles. For many clients, it’s the discussion that accompanies these pages (18-22) that is the most helpful – especially the Communication styles of Directing and Informing. Our experience in organizations and with teams is that the Directing / Informing differences are often the basis of conflict and misunderstandings. This section of the book deserves a good chunk of time for both your individual client and, especially, any work with teams. The Four Variations of Each Interaction Style Within the 8 pages that expand on the characteristics on the arrow graphics are the Four Variations of each Interaction Style. We included these in the 2.0 revision for two reasons: so you can use this book to help your...
  8. Agendas for Change

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    Connections have been made to temperament and change in Donna Dunning’s book, Quick Guide to the Four Temperaments and Change 3.0 and these really make sense to me. I’ve been puzzling over what the Interaction Styles model would predict about change. Then it hit me…the movement tendency that is favored by each Interaction Style would give us some insight. In my last blog, Change: Lessons from the Body, I talked about how if you push the change too fast and too hard, you will get resistance that may result in only a temporary change. My consulting bias is always to work with the system to move it to where it wants/needs to go. Now, I’m wondering if this is universal wisdom or a Behind-the-Scenes™ Interaction Style bias on my part! So, let’s explore that a little bit. We identified four movement tendencies after reading about the three tendencies identified by Karen Horney and cited in the Social Styles literature. These three—push against, move away from, move towards—seemed to clearly go with our experiences of three of the four Interaction Styles, so we looked for the ‘missing’ movement and came up with ‘move with’ as opposite of push against. Four Change...
  9. Change: Lessons from the Body

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    You can’t force a change without a lot of pain. The system will work very hard to maintain itself I came back from training in New Zealand and Australia with a pain in the ball of my foot. Given that this is a major problem for a trainer, I’ve been seeking all kinds of help. A massage therapist said the pain may be a result of tight muscles in the legs. So he did some work on key pressure points that brought some relief for a while. I was a bit sore, but nothing compared to when I decided I’d try a local reflexology shop to speed things up. I love reflexology, but this person worked over and over on my back muscles instead of doing the expected reflexology. I think she must have been determined to get all the tension out before I left! I was so full of toxins the next few days I couldn’t think. Finally the toxins worked their way out.I still have the pain in the ball of my foot and I lost a couple days of good clear thinking time at work. Now what does this have to do with change? First off, my...