Decision Making is an essential and very important skill in the business tool kit of professionals in the 21st century. Good managers and executives are more often not recognized for their ability to make good decisions. Being able to properly analyze a situation and make the right decision in the moment will not only advance a manager’s career, but make him or her a key player in organizational success.
Our understanding and reaction to others is a key to both effectiveness and satisfaction at work. Working productively and smoothly together requires that we understand ourselves as well as our co−workers. The learning obtained from a Myer Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) workshop are applicable to a wide range of situations that
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Through their thirty-plus years of working with the MBTI ® instrument, Damian Killen and Danica Murphy have developed a model for applying type to how people respond to conflict situations. Their theory is that the interplay of the last two letters of an individual’s type code has the most significant bearing on that person’s conflict behavior.
Killen and Murphy believe that the dichotomy in which people have the greatest difficulty using their non-preferred function is Judging-Perceiving. Conflict caused by this tension is accentuated when coupled with a difference in the decision-making process (Thinking-Feeling). By understanding the interplay of the last two preferences one can see their way through conflict more effectively.
T-F Dichotomy: Where we focus in conflict
Since our T-F preferences relate to the decision making process, they often determine what our attention is focused on during conflict. Those with a preference for Thinking focus most strongly on:
- What the conflict is about
- Opinions and principles
- Analyzing and tolerating differences
- Maintaining a firm stance
Those with a preference for Feeling focus most strongly on:
- Who is involved
- Needs and values
- Accepting and appreciating differences
- Ensuring give and take
J-P Dichotomy: How we respond to conflict
The J-P preferences relate to our way of dealing with the outer world and influence our responses to conflict. Those with a preference for Judging tend to:
- Seek resolution
- Focus on the past and future
- Be concerned primarily with the outcome of the situation
- Experience satisfaction once the conflict is over
Those with a preference for Perceiving tend to:
- Seek clarification
- Focus on the present
- Be concerned primarily with the input of participants
- Experience satisfaction once the conflict is being addressed
The interaction between these different preferences leads to four conflict pair types. In conflict situations these pairs may look like:
TJ’s decisive, planned, and organized; at times critical and blunt
TP’s objective; searches for what is right; at times stubborn
FJ’s warm; seeks harmony; at times wants to smother with kindness
FP’s sensitive; attuned to people’s needs; at times worry for everyone
_____ by Shawn Bakker
Shaping the culture of the organization is one of the most important and critical responsibilities of senior executive leadership. In meeting this responsibility, executives face many challenges, but among the most perplexing are: one, what kind of organizational culture to shape; and two, how to plan and implement a cultural transformation.
Here are key learning /discovery/ action elements executive coaches should employ in helping executives transform their organization’s culture:
- Understand what organizational culture is, and how and why it impacts the performance of their organization.
- Use a transformational change model and strategy that demonstrates desired results.
- Learn and understand why an unbalanced organizational culture can actually disengage employees and diminish organizational performance.
- Implement a culture change plan that engages others, gains ownership, and guarantees successful implementation.
- Integrate a change model process that overcomes resistance to change.
- Review and change value statements that reflect the positive elements to integrate into the organization to shape the desired culture.
- Assess personal Type (MBTI) preferences to determine the unbalanced culture the leader will tend to create for his/her organization.
One of the most powerful approaches available in leadership coaching is self awareness because self awareness is the first important step in the personal change process. I have used 360 instruments, along with the MBTI to help leaders understand how their personal preferences tend to influence them in shaping unbalanced organizational cultures.
Organizational culture change must begin at the top. This is not something that can be delegated. The top leader, and other associated top leaders should complete the awareness process to learn and understand how each leader individually and collectively are influencing the shape of the organization’s culture.
Upon the completion of this process, the executive coach gives fed back to each executive individually, and then to the group as a whole. If the top leadership team is not willing to complete the self awareness process, then, in all likelihood, they are not sincere in transforming the culture of the organization.
The MBTI and Executive Leadership Coaching: Use the MBTI to Help Leaders Shape an Optimally Balanced Organizational Culture
All leaders have preferences according to Jung’s Theory. The MBTI can be an excellent tool in coaching leaders and helping them understand the unbalanced culture they will tend to shape based on their MBTI preference. For example, an over- stated preference on say the Sensing/Feeling (SF) dimension will influence the leader to over emphasize the Cooperation culture pattern which includes elements such as warm, friendly, empathetic, caring, and sharing. This overstated culture pattern can create a “country club” type of organizational culture that lacks important elements from the other three culture patterns that are necessary for high organizational performance. The goal should be to integrate the positive elements from all four culture patterns to create an optimally balance organizational culture.
Coaching Leaders on What Really Matters
Most leaders really struggle with creating the right culture within their organization, whether it is a unit, team, department, division, or company. Now there is a research-based model that can be easily used in conjunction with the MBTI to help leaders know and understand the importance of organizational culture, and the powerful impact they can have on building a performance enhancing culture that will attain superior results.
The Model is called the L4 Strategy. I have successfully used in coaching thousands of leaders from companies, businesses, hospitals, and non-profit organizations.
Practical and Useful
The L4 model has been widely endorsed by executives, managers, and supervisors who have applied the model and have reported amazing results. These leaders were introduced to the model by using the MBTI, supplemented with information contained in the book. The L4 model contains four culture patterns that have been correlated with successful organizational performance. These four culture patterns include:
Cooperative Pattern: This pattern based on the family/team concept includes such positive elements as cooperation, team work, sharing, diversity, and collaborative problem solving.
Inspiration Pattern: This pattern emphasizes the importance on treating people as individuals who desire meaning in their jobs and in their lives. Positive elements include job challenge, engagement, recognition, career planning, and training and development which enhance worker motivation and inspiration.
Achievement Pattern: This pattern places importance on the need to achieve excellent organizational performance. It includes positive elements of discovery, innovation, competition, being the best, and striving for excellence.
Consistent Pattern: This pattern emphasizes the need for discipline throughout the organization in order to obtain consistent results. The positive elements include order, rules, standardization, planning, follow-through, and measurement.
Shaping the Right Culture
Research shows that leaders of highly successful organizations strive to shape and maintain an optimally balanced culture. In other words, high performing organizations have cultures that include the positive elements from all four culture patterns. The problem is that most leaders have a tendency, or preference, to shape one or two patterns at the expense of others thus creating an unbalanced organizational culture which under-performs when compared to an optimally balanced one.
For example, using the two middle letters of the MBTI, which represents one’s preference for thinking and judging, a strong ST would have a tendency for creating an unbalanced Consistent Pattern utilizing a top-down management approach which emphasizes rules, regulations, autocratic decision making, and tight controls. This type of unbalanced culture stifles team work, worker engagement, and innovation.
Self-discovery using the MBTI helps the leader identify his or her thinking/judging preference and tendency to shape a particular unbalanced culture. Once this is accomplished, the leader is then coached on how to become more adaptive by incorporating leadership practices that represent the positive elements of the less preferred cultural patterns. In addition, the leader is coached on how to implement organizational mechanisms such as policies and practices to shape an optimally balanced organizational culture.
® MBTI, Myers-Briggs, Meyers Briggs, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries (aka meyers briggs or myers briggs).
____ By Stanley D. Truskie, Ph.D. (ENFJ)