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How to Define Our Differences?

It is truly amazing how differently we all view the world. How our likes, dislikes, skills and preferences shape the way we think, feel and behave. We are all a kaleidoscope of different attributes, but it’s possible to arrange these differences into key categories.

For some people, arranging our attributes, styles and personalities into groups, means we question our concept of being a unique snowflake in the world. However, clearly defining our differences in key areas can help us efficiently and effectively communicate, collaborate and operate together. 

Three people sitting on a railing facing the other directionDefining and categorising our differences is not a new concept. Many of you would have heard of the Myer Briggs Type Indicator and DISC profiling. This looks at individual’s different preferences in the way they communicate, make decisions, weigh up information and draw their energy. Both are very good models.

However, at Veretis we more commonly utilise the Myer Briggs Type Indicator. Although, not as ‘sexy’ as the DISC profile, it clearly outlines the four different continuums which define our preferences as humans. This can make defining differences easier. For example, the extrovert and introvert continuum is one of the four continuums highlighted in this model. 

 

Different shoes forming a circle

The Myer Briggs type indicator defines our differences across these four continuums.

Extrovert – Introvert: How we get our energy – Where do we draw our energy from? Internal reflection, or group energy?

Sensing – Intuition: What drives us – Are we little picture, detail orientated, and driven by what is possible today, or big picture dreamers driven by possibilities of tomorrow?

Thinking – Feeling: How we make decisions  – Do we focus on what is logically the best decision or are we influenced by the impact (particularly on others) of our decision? Ie. are we analytical or humanistic? 

Judging – Perceiving: How do we organise our lives – Are we planned, methodically and like being ready/finished early or do we arrive/finish last minute, pressure prompted, flexible?

Looking at these four key defining areas on a continuum, helps us to easily draw comparisons between ourselves and others. It can help us to understand why we come to different conclusions when presented with the same information. It also explores why we may work in very different styles, or go about problem solving in different ways. In a team and leadership context, awareness of how we differ can help propagate enhanced team performance. 

 

There is no correct, or better combination of the above preferences.

Black and white coloured hand touchingThose preferring to operate more in line with the perceiving end of the continuum can help those more aligned with the judging side to respond to last minute changes to client requests, or changes in circumstances. Meanwhile, those preferring the judging side can help the perceiving people to stay on track and not leave things too late. Extroverts are good at getting in a room and sharing ideas. However, introverts are more adept. They actually listen to what those ideas are and sift through what is good and what is lousy. Those driven by big picture and “the possibilities” are great at setting a vision and goal. However, those more driven by reality (sensing) and the process, help put those ideas into action and see them through. 

It’s essential to have an understanding of how these differences can be utilised to a team’s advantage to be a great contributor and leader. Getting annoyed at your colleague because they’re seeing things differently or being quiet is ineffective. This will invariably break down your team’s performance. 

Open discussion within your team about the differences that exist, each individual’s strengths and when these apply can help define and utilise these differences effectively. This is more constructive, rather than letting them splinter and divide your team. This also helps assign the appropriate tasks to the appropriate people setting them up for success. There’s no point asking the perceiving person to organise the conference and there’s no point getting the intuitive person to write the to do list. 

 

More Information

Our Psych Up! resources in January are based on The Art of Understanding People. Make sure to stay tuned for our weekly blog post updates, as well as our podcasts and webinars.

For more information about performance psychology, the MBTI, managing team differences or anything else mentioned, get in touch with our team today.

Send us an email, give us a call on (02) 9929 8515, check out our LinkedIn and Twitter or find more Psych Up! resources here.