Monday, January 15, 2007

Working with Personality Preferences

Intelligent Coaching E-Brief

Working with Personality Preferences

Date: January 15, 2007 Volume 2, Number 9

In this Issue:
Personality, Preferences, and Actions
Imagine the Scenario

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Personality, Preferences, and Actions

Our personality affects our behavior. Personality comes from characteristics inside of us; it is relatively stable over time and is essentially unique to the individual. Our personality preferences affect how we communicate with others, how we display leadership, the way we resolve conflict, respond to change, handle stress, and work in teams. How do your personality preferences influence the way you approach and manage work, such as a project?

People have different preferences for how they take in information, how they organize their lifestyle, make decisions, and become energized. There is not a correct way or a wrong way to go about these things. After all, we are not talking about an end result; what we are talking about are people's naturally preferred styles for functioning. The purpose here, is to increase our understanding and tolerance of others, so that we can work more collaboratively with them.

Imagine the scenario...

You're working with a fellow employee to get a product out to a client. You're meeting and your co-worker is talking in an abstract fashion, jumping around in the conversation from delivering the product, to building the product, to your company's procedures, to the client's desires. You sit there listening to him/her, flabbergasted and frustrated because you're having a very hard time following him/her and instead of understanding your colleague, you're thinking of an assortment of insults. How can your co-worker approach the task in this manner? It makes perfect sense to you that things are all wrong here. Everyone knows you're supposed to start from the beginning and move step by step to the conclusion...

I propose an understanding all together different. By incorporating into your repertoire an awareness of your own personality preferences and the personality preferences of those around you, you are armed to have a completely different experience in a scenario like this. For the specific example above, you would know that you prefer communicating in a linear fashion and that your co-worker makes connections in an abstract fashion. Neither is right or wrong, they are just different!

So, with this new information, how might you handle things differently? Instead of feeling frustrated and thinking negatively (which can occur if we believe there is a right or a wrong) you can genuinely express your confusion and difficulty to your co-worker in an accepting and compassionate fashion, without blame. The point to this scenario is that with knowledge of personality preferences, a greater awareness of ourselves and others, the understanding and tolerance that follows leads to higher productivity and less conflict in groups.


For information about learning to work with personality preferences or your other professional needs, contact Nancy Schill at or 512.947.5447 to schedule your Professional Agenda coaching session, Development coaching program, or Team coaching program.


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