People communicate in ways that differ vastly from one another. In some cases, these differences are positive and enable individuals to learn and grow with one another in a working environment. However, in other cases, they can cause miscommunications that are mildly inconvenient at best. Fortunately, Dunning (2003) has drawn parallels between communication styles and Myers-Briggs test personality type indicators. This means that being aware of different personality types can help leaders anticipate differences and therefore challenges in communication before they ever become issues. By doing so, they can help organizations increase their efficiency and spend more time on what really matters – making progress towards the best possible outcomes for a company.
It is important to remember that these communicative challenges are often not just unintentional, but completely unperceived. That said, they are the inevitable result of people with different experiences and personalities trying to achieve a common goal, especially in the modern, fast-paced work environment. For instance, INTJs are “logical and compassionate visionaries” (Dunning, 2003, p. 4). They act on information quickly and efficiently, synthesizing large amounts of information in order to achieve a particular outcome, and often have difficulty identifying with the emotional aspects of others’ decision making. They require concrete, empirical or logical justification for their decisions. They also have a tendency to focus on long-term planning and goals, or prefer to find systematic ways to develop initiatives for improving processes or functions in the workplace. They speak and act precisely, and often find ambiguities that other speakers may not be able to anticipate.
This level of precision can be a source of frustration for more outgoing or emotional individuals, who may see INTJs as quiet, reserved, or even detached in some cases. Because of INTJs’ focus on solution-finding and problem-solving, and their preference to work individually rather than on groups or in teams, they sometimes come across as hasty, disinterested, or self-involved. However, this comes from a high degree of self-reliance. Nonetheless, despite their independence, INTJs are also highly self-critical, and may at times critique others in a similar manner. It is important to remember that they are not intentionally distant. To work with them successfully, it helps to be honest and direct, focused on empirical information, and a logical, linear form of presentation. It is also helpful to be prepared for questions. Know that questioning helps INTJs process information, and it is not generally intended to be overly critical in a negative way.
At times, INTJs can be impatient with explaining details to others. For this reason, they should be aware of building their own levels of patience, though others would do well to keep in mind that INTJs are often insightful about others’ situations or needs, even if they do not empathize or share in them as explicitly or emotionally as do other personality types.
In order to ease communication with INTJs, it is helpful to give them immediate and detailed feedback, and to communicate measurable objectives and benchmarks. However, INTJs thrive on figuring out processes independently, so step-by-step instructions are not only unnecessary, but often counterproductive as well.
When working together with others in a closely-knit work environment, being aware of your colleagues’ thought processes and personality types can help facilitate communication in the workplace. By being aware of possible areas of difficulty, organizations and teams can spend less time and resources on inefficiencies, and focus instead on their company’s output.
- Introduction to Type and Communication. (Dunning, D. CPP, 2003)
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