1. Self-leadership, Type, and Getting into The Communication Zone(R)

    Adapted from an article published in Volume 38.4 of the “Bulletin of Psychological Type,” March 4, 2015. Linda Berens and Stephanie Berens-Kiler Maybe this is familiar…At dinnertime, they had some leftovers and she said to her partner, “You don’t want the spaghetti.” She noticed that he seemed confused and somewhat irritated. He even said something about why was she so negative? Obviously she wasn’t in the communication zone like she usually saw herself. Read on to see how she used type to help her develop more self-leadership. It is said that leadership starts with self-leadership. It is also said that we all need to do more self-management as our organizational systems flatten and we receive less direction. Self-leadership requires self-awareness and the capacity to step outside ourselves. Self-leadership is most like what Robert Kegan called the self-authoring mind. Jennifer Garvey Berger describes it in this way: People with a self-authored mind are those who own their own work, make their own decisions, and mediate among different perspectives with relative ease. Communication is the medium for this development. Communication involves how we listen to others, how we interpret what they say and do and make meaning of it, and how we...
  2. Stress Triggers, Mindfulness, and the Shadow

    When we are stressed we are not as agile as we need to be. And stress takes a toll on our health and quality of life. Personality related stress is often unconscious. Here is a story about an experience of mine where I unpack the relevance of all the models to one stressful situation. Each lens—Essential Motivators, Interaction Styles, and Cognitive Dynamics—helps me understand myself better and grow into having more positive interactions. I hope my story helps you see how you can use type lenses to increase your level of mindfulness and interpersonal agility. So here goes… I recently found myself in a situation where I didn’t show up in a way that I wanted. It was a somewhat difficult conversation and I made it more difficult by expressing my anger inappropriately. On reflection, I realized that I was more stressed in general than I had realized and that level of stress tipped me into a shadowy place, where something ‘had’ me rather than me being my authentic, best self. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t express anger. The issue was that in this instance expressing that anger was counterproductive. I lost some credibility when I did so and it...
  3. What do INTP and ESFJ have in common?

    Cognitive Styles is more than type dynamics, so let’s take a look at INTP and ESFJ. Back when I started working with the type code, I thought these two type patterns were really different. After all, they have opposite preferences. In addition since I came into type through being introduced to Keirsey’s temperament theory in my Master’s degree in Counseling, I could easily see how they were opposites from a temperament perspective. These differences were clear to me, at least the Essential Motivator (aka temperament) ones were. Those with INTP patterns have a need for competency and knowledge, a talent for Strategy, and tend to use abstract, conceptual language and take Pragmatic, independent roles in getting things done. Those with the ESFJ pattern, have a need for being responsible and a place to contribute, a talent for Logistics, and tend to use concrete, tangible language and take Affiliative roles. Then we identified the Interaction Style differences of Behind-the-Scenes for INTP and Get-Things-Going for ESFJ. While both styles share a preference for Informing language, they are different in their core drives and aims. Behind-the-Scenes styles are driven to wait until they have enough data to integrate before they act and Get-Things-Going styles are...
  4. Directing—Informing, a Powerful Polarity

    Last night I had a dream in which I was trying to get the attention of a large group of people I was supposed to be training. Finally I was so frustrated I yelled, “What I’m going to tell you, will change your life forever!” (or something like that). They all quieted down and I proceeded to tell them about the impact that recognizing their unconscious preferences for either Directing or Informing communications could have. Directing communications are aimed at getting something done in a timely way. The consciousness behind Directing is one of either wanting to achieve a result or manifest an envisioned result. Consequently, there is comfort telling people what to do, or to do something, or ask directly. There is a sense of urgency that is communicated in voice tone as well as choice of words. The closer to a deadline the more likely the language will be forceful. Directing communication serves the drives and aims of the In-Charge and Chart-the-Course Interaction Styles so people with these styles may unconsciously apply some version of Directing communications even when it is not called for. Informing communications are aimed at getting buy-in and leaving the option to act open....
  5. Types, Typologies, and Polarities

    I’m gathering my thoughts for a formal paper on a meta theory of type that is due May 15 that I’ll be presenting at the Integral Theory Conference July 19 in San Francisco. So I thought I’d share some of these with you. What is a type? A type is often thought of as a classification according to a group of similar characteristics. However, there is another meaning to type that is deeper down in the definitions on dictionary.com: “the general form, plan, or design distinguishing a particular group” When I look at personality type, I am referring to the pattern or form of a group, not a random cluster of characteristics. I would say that a type in this sense is an organizing system. There is an energy field that self-organizes around a core of some kind. I think of it as an unconscious operating system, with a core driver of the system and ‘talents’ that maintain the system. What is a polarity? One definition, again from dictionary.com, describes a polarity as “the state of having or expressing two directly opposite tendencies”. In other words, the two tendencies are there and energy flows between the two. There is a...
  6. Personality, Communication, and Engagement

    Communication Most of us know that individual differences exist, yet we often forget that when we are communicating. The most powerful communication is one where we are capable of taking the other person’s perspective and truly listen to their intentions and deep motivations. Personality typologies can give us powerful models to help us meet others at their view of the world. Temperament theory tells us what are core psychological needs are. If you are having trouble understanding someone else, think about what needs might be behind what they are saying: Improviser: Freedom to act now and to have an impact Stabilizer: Responsibility and a place to contribute Theorist: Competency, mastery, and knowledge Catalyst: Sense of unique identity and deep meaning and significance Recognize those needs and you’ll find ways to be more understanding and even speak to these needs. Interaction Styles is a model that describes energy patterns, but behind the behind those patterns are drives with corresponding aims. If we recognize these drives and aims, we understand why someone is being forceful, looking tense, seeming slow to act, or even overly engaging. In-Charge: Drive to accomplish in order to get an achievable result Chart-the-Course: Drive to anticipate in order...