Individuals’ Myers-Briggs® personality type (MBTI® Type) often influence the ways that they communicate and interpret others’ communication. As a result, being keenly aware of your own MBTI personality Type as well as those of your co-workers or employees can help you minimize communicative breakdowns and spend more time on what really matters – working together to maximize the productivity of your team.
According to Dunning (2003), miscommunications in the workplace often squander precious time and resources that would be much better spent elsewhere. While some may think these challenges are the inevitable result of working with other people, Dunning (2003) demonstrates that making unconscious communicative practices conscious is not only a worthwhile investment, but is also easier than it seems! Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® ESFP Personality Types are seen as “compassionate responders” (p. 28), and are known for their friendly, outgoing attitude; their calm yet realistic troubleshooting; and their optimism. While on occasion, their positive and light-hearted outlook may seem ill-informed or even naïve, ESFP’s are actually able to assess complex situations quickly and accurately, and use their insights to formulate and implement successful interventions and initiatives. Their flexibility and innovation can be an invaluable strength, if it is understood and utilized in a productive way, though they may need to make a bit of an extra effort to set and adhere to concrete goals and plans.
ESFP’s are highly action-oriented, and it helps them to know how theoretical or abstract considerations manifest in the real world – how will they affect projects or initiatives? For this reason, when communicating or meeting with ESFP’s, try to keep things short, sweet, and above all, practical. At the same time, ESFP Types should be aware of their own challenges in engaging with abstract ideas, and should make an effort to broaden their own perspectives to “include logical and long-term implications” (p. 29).
ESFP personality types are highly social, and often engage their colleagues while seeking human interaction. Their colleagues should make an effort to be patient, and perhaps to gently, yet firmly draw attention to their task at hand. At the same time, ESFP’s may need to take a step back and reflect on the needs of their colleagues as well – are they unconsciously and unintentionally interrupting others while seeking the social interactions they need? As the leader of a team or office, another consideration is if and how outlets can be provided to give them human contact while maintaining others’ focus. The key is being able to find a balance among individuals’ needs and optimizing the function of an entire team or organization.
While Myers-Briggs ESFP Types may consider these ways of communicating to be polite and even natural, people with different personality types may have a very different interpretation of their comments or behavior. Perhaps the most important factor in facilitating smooth and successful communication with ESFPs is having a positive, relaxed attitude. Having a smile and focusing on building a strong relationship can go a long way with making ESFP’s feel valued, and will therefore make communicating with them easier. Without this attention to emotion and affect, ESFP’s can feel drained or under-appreciated, which then inhibits further communications. At the end of the day, ESFP’s value relationships and human interaction, and recognizing those needs will make them an invaluable part of your team.
- Introduction to Type and Communication. (Dunning, D. CPP, 2003)
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