Understand Individuals, Not Personality Types

Despite the millions of dollars spent each year on trying to figure out what personality label fits a co-worker, a boss, an employee, or a supplier, the number one complaint inside virtually every organization is communication.

People feel they are not heard, not respected, and not listened to.

Why does this happen? Too often it’s because people try to communicate to a personality label instead of to an individual. They follow the advice handed out in workshops on how to “deal with” an ENFP or an ISTJ or an Alpha Male instead of working to understand where the other person is at that moment in terms of emotions and circumstances.

When you interact with other people, listen to where they are at. If they want some time to talk about the weather or their family life, give them that time. If they want to get right to the business issue at hand, then do that. If they need a moment to vent, let them do it.

Don’t try to figure out what label you’re dealing with. Work to understand where the other person is at the moment you are talking with him or her. Then work to meet their needs in order to lay a foundation for an effective business conversation.

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