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« 15. Understanding the Judging - Perceiving difference »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. MBTI coach with over 25 years MBTI experience, and author of the new book: "INFJ: What's it like to be one."

Have you ever had a partner, boss or customer who seems to be deliberately difficult? No matter what you do they want to do it differently? No matter what is suggested you clash?

Sometimes these conflicts or irritations are due to differences in our personality types and the emotional impacts these have on others.

Here are some examples - do they fit any experiences you've had?

1. EQ example one: Joan's emotions under pressure

Joan was constantly feeling under pressure. She was the manager of a health care centre and thought that her staff expected decisions from her before she was ready. Instead she wanted to keep collecting relevant information and to have plenty of time before coming to a decision. She felt stressed by the pressure applied to her for quick decisions.

Some of her staff also became stressed because of the time it took Joan to make a decision.

They felt overwhelmed by the uncertainty of what would happen. They were keen to proceed straightaway with things and to make decisions on the spot. They complained that Joan was "indecisive", a "procrastinator" and a "woolly thinker".


Was it a problem of emotional intelligence?

These people all cared what type of person they had as a manager and Joan cared about her staff. It wasn't simply a lack of emotional intelligence causing the problems.

What they didn't know was that Joan's personality type was what was known on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as an INFP, someone with Introverted, INtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving preferences. In contrast, many of her staff were ISTJs. These people had Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging preferences.

The J/P difference was causing the main problems here. Js - the Judging types - like to be scheduled, orderly and to get closure on things. They tend to make lists and prefer to know what is happening well in advance.

The Ps - the Perceiving types - in contrast like to keep things open-ended and to be spontaneous and flexible. They get stressed by lists. They get stressed by having to come to closure on a decision without having enough information. They may want to visit six possible car yards, before choosing a car. The Js may want to buy from the first car yard they visit.

So can such different people get on together? It can certainly be difficult and that's why we look at how to work with these and other differences in the "Getting on: MBTI Team building" course.

Different types have different aspects of emotional intelligence they find harder and easier. However, developing their emotional intelligence is vitality important for each type. Come join with me in this exciting new emotional intelligence coaching package and I will make sure it is personalised to you and your type.

Emotionally intelligent ways to make a J/P decision

One of the tips we cover for Js and Ps in the team building course is to recommend that they jointly decide on deadlines for major decisions.

For example, if you're a Perceiving type discuss with the Judging types how long they can go without a decision being made before the stress becomes too severe. As the P, decide how quickly you can cope with coming to closure without it causing you severe stress. Then between you come to an agreed deadline which allows the P time to collect enough information and the J the satisfaction of knowing there is a definite boundary by which the decision will be made. And stick to the agreement.

Do you think this would work?


2. EQ example two: ENFP emotional impact on a J.

I have a friend who is an ENFP living with an ISTJ. They have very different views on "punctuality".

Js can often be exact in their timing. If people say to them, "The party will start at 7.00 pm", they'll be there on the dot, if not a minute before. They often get hot under the collar about people who are late. Late by their definition can be anything from 7.00 onwards.

The people with the Perceiving preference, on the other hand, may have a more free flowing attitude toward time. My ENFP friend, for example, is often heard to use the phrase, "All in good time." To him a party which starts at 7.00 pm may mean he'll arrive at 8.30 pm. The emotional impact on his ISTJ partner is strong and negative.


Is it a problem of emotional intelligence and a lack of empathy?

Is it a lack of emotional intelligence causing the problem? It can certainly cause emotions to build negatively between the two, but more so in the ISTJ. And it can lead to arguments.

If this were you, would you accuse the J of being obsessive or too rigid? Would you accuse the P of being disrespectful or rude? These would be typical of the comments that Js and Ps make about each other.

That's why we have the "Getting on: MBTI Team building" course - because not understanding the genuine reasons for the differences can cause unnecessary irritation and conflict both at work and in personal relationships. How could these two have solved their differences? Any suggestions?


Emotionally intelligent ways to get around J/P timing differences

How would you get around this problem?

This is what they do. The J turns up on time and says, "Steve will be along as soon as he can get here". Steve meanwhile will come in a different car up to 1.5 hours later. Two cars, two times and no conflict. Okay, I hear you say, "What a waste of petrol". However, it's one relationship saved.

As friends we've worked it out as well - we tell Steve as the P, a different time from Brenda his J partner, so we have the most chance of their arriving at the same time. Is it worth it? Yes. Other solutions would need to be generated in the work environment ... what would you suggest?

3. EQ example three: ENFPs' emotional impact on Js.

Let's consider a Perceiving type living with a Judging type and the emotional consequences.

A typical J is well organised, especially an SJ, (Sensing Judging preferences). There is "A place for everything and everything should be in its place", a J may say. His preference is to have a schedule of weekend activities well in advance, the ironing neatly folded and everything in the pantry sorted.

The person with the Perceiving preference, especially an NP, (INtuitive Perceiving preferences) in contrast, may think that it doesn't matter where the food is kept as long as it's in the kitchen somewhere. She may leave the ironing until the last minute and she likes to wait and see what happens on a weekend.


Would more emotional intelligence sort out the problem?

These personality differences are significant and can be the cause of considerable relationship conflict at work and home. They can have considerable emotional turmoil associated with them.

The J/P difference is all about how we want to organise our environment and the way we live. It is hard to live with your opposite. Some people give up even trying and label their partner as, "Impossible to live with". By developing greater understanding of the J/P differences a couple or work team can also increase their emotional intelligence, by reducing the emotional conflict between them.

What the "Getting on: MBTI Team building" course can help you do is to understand why the people you work and live with are different and to find ways to capitalise on each other's strengths rather than to pull each other down. So how can you do this?


Emotionally intelligent ways to get around J/P organising differences

This third couple are working on their differences in a creative way. The P has decided to let the J take charge of the toilet paper and the kitchen. The J has agreed to do the cooking - after all, at least this guarantees it will be done correctly, (according to the J!).

The P has opted to do the shopping while the J puts it away. At least that way everyone can find it. The P is in charge of the washing and in the end decided to pay for a person to do the ironing. There are ways round most problems. What would you have done?

Different types have different aspects of emotional intelligence they find harder and easier. However, developing their emotional intelligence is vitality important for each type. Come join with me in this exciting new emotional intelligence coaching package and I will make sure it is personalised to you and your type.

4. EQ development: How to find out more about your types

The J/P difference is only one type of difference that causes clashes or leaves us perplexed, there are many others. We cover 16 different personalities in the "Getting on: MBTI Team building" course. 

You can also, if you don't know your type, or aren't working in a group, receive 1-1 MBTI personality and communication coaching. You may attend coaching as a couple for the same price as an individual or you may come on your own. This can happen face-to-face in Western Australia or over Skype wherever you are in the world. More details are available by clicking here.

If you find that:
  • Other people irritate you
  • You clash with people
  • You wish people would do it your way
  • Other people seem rude, wishy-washy, emotional, cold, domineering, over-sensitive, airy-fairy, nit-picky, irrational, loud mouthed, secretive or boring ...

then the workshop or coaching will help you discover why these things irritate you and how to get around them.

I personally have found that understanding my own type has helped me immensely and I have a deeper sense of acceptance of who I am. Also, since knowing my own type and that of my husband and vice versa, our marital relationship has blossomed.


Final EQ tip on personality differences

If we can all become more tolerant of our differences and work together on getting the best out of ourselves and each other, the world and our workplaces would be better places.

Understanding our own and other people's types can make a big difference to our relationships at home, to our client management at work and to working well as a team. The more we know our own type and care what types other people are, the more chance we have of getting on together. This is all part of developing emotionally intelligent relationships.

The more we know about ourselves the easier it becomes to accept ourselves as we are, to understand our strengths and therefore not have to compare ourselves to others. What matters is that we enjoy our differences and help each other to use our strengths.


EQ at work, INFJ: Get to know your type, increase communication effectiveness and lower conflict

There is so much that you or your team can learn so that you develop greater understanding of, and skills with, your communication, personality and relationships at work and home. The EI Institute has a number of options to help you:

  1. You may find this book helpful to deepen your understanding of the communication differences between the types. It includes a whole section on bridging the differences, eg. between iNtuitives and Sensates, between Feelers and Thinkers; and it has a discussion on the differences between Judging and Perceiving types such as an INFP and an INFJ, and INFJ and an INTJ: "INFJ: What's it like to be one."
  2. If you are in Western Australia, a high energy, MBTI interactive team-building workshop can be organised for you: "Getting on: MBTI Team building".
  3. Meditation appeals to many introverts and we have a very popular audio-download on meditation called: "Happy Not Hassled". A perfect way to introvert and stay healthy.
  4. There is superior 1-1 coaching; and the MBTI is included as part of our smart leadership coaching package. You can find out your MBTI type and develop the skills you need, with Rachel Green.

For more details or to make a booking e-mail us now or pick up the phone and call us.