Last week I was facilitating a MBTI team building exercise at a management offsite.
Before we started with the exercise, the GM showed a short video of Margaret Heffernan giving a presentation for TED on conflict.
We already had a blog entry about conflict, but when we link the theory to MBTI profiles, we can learn more.
The story Margaret tells is the one of a researcher investigating early child deaths.
The researcher works not alone, but has a sparring partner. A position solely created to prove here… wrong.
Indeed, as a researcher the scientist needed to be challenged in every possible way to take up the difficult task of statistical analysis of all possibilities.
Only with the help of healthy conflict, the researcher could be challenged into finding the right reason (remark: it proved to be X-rays on pregnant women).
What’s the link with MBTI?
Humans tend to meet and gather around people who are like them. Equal minded.
Close your eyes and think of yourself for a moment. With who do you have the best connection? With which colleagues are you talking at each reception, every time again? Great minds think alike, don’t they?
If you want to grow as a person, as a team or even as an organization, you’ll have to overcome this pitfall.
Hanging around the same people over and over again will guarantee the most comfort, but will not put you in a position where you have to go into discussion, defend your view-point, your opinion, … Prove your point.
Luckily, there’s help: there’s nothing so easy as finding your exact opposite as with MBTI profiles.
Once you know yours and the one of your colleagues, you know which colleagues think alike and which other ones will guarantee you to have a challenge.
Probably it won’t be such a great eye opener, but more an aha-erlebnis. To quote the GM: “Aha, that’s why life is so stressful when working with others”.
Some tips for you to take up the challenge:
- Go team up with that colleague where it clashes with sometimes.
- Find a different profile to present your findings and results to.
- Try to understand why the other is thinking that way.
- Ask advice from people with different profiles. For example, an SJ will look for details & order, an NP will look for story lines, threads and the bigger pictures.