Sunday, May 24, 2009

Judging Versus Perceiving – in the Workplace

Disclaimer: This is not about ‘judging’ people. This is, however, about Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality profiling preferences in discussion of the J/P preference.

Ever noticed how some people frustrate us in either their lack of decisiveness or conversely their rigid, unbending sticking to schedule? Or perhaps it’s tardiness on a project, or the opposite extreme of anal observance of project deadlines toward completion i.e. ‘on time and on budget,’ by hook or by crook?

There’s a lot that personality type preferences can explain in all of this. It’s not surprising that neither the ‘overly flexible’ nor the ‘inflexible’ are overtly or necessarily wrong or right.

In their work, those with a judging preference prefer to plan their work and follow the plan; perceivers, however, want to have flexibility in their work. Judgers want issues settled and finished, but perceivers are more comfortable with spontaneity and having decisions carried over as long as possible.

Again, those with a perceiving preference will tend toward enjoying the journey, whilst those with a judging preference focus on timely completion of a project. Reaching the ‘end,’ and not the journey, motivates them.

Some feel constrained by structure, schedules and ‘the process,’ whilst others can’t do without them. Who’s the judger and who’s the perceiver? Of course, the former is the person with a strong preference for perceiving and the latter is the person with a strong preference for judging.

From the above you might be able to tell your own preference. You might also be able to tell what preference your work colleagues exhibit, and importantly, what preference your supervisor or manager has in their work and their (stated and unstated) expectations of you.[1]

This knowledge can be important in our understanding that when people think and act differently to us they’re not necessarily being pig-headed; they just might see the world from a different viewpoint. Neither our viewpoint nor theirs is overtly right or wrong.

So, in noting differences, there’s no need and no reason to become frustrated.

And it’s also timely to point out that these preferences are likely to be combined in quite complex ways, meaning we’ll exhibit bits of both judging and perceiving, further complicating the reading of our personalities (certainly from the other person’s viewpoint)!

Overall, whether we’re (or others are) decisive or exploratory is okay. From the viewpoint of the MBTI judging/perceiving preference, both responses are valid.

It further advocates the need for a wide array of personality types on teams so all possible and relevant facets of experience can be identified and explored.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Isabel Myers-Briggs, Introduction to Type (Registered) – 6th Ed. (Palo Alto, California: CPP, Inc., 1998), p. 28.
[1] If you want to support or “manage” your supervisor or manager it is critically important to know how their preferences influence their perceptions and hence their behaviour.


Paul Maurice Martin said...

Hi Steve, the Myers-Briggs is uncanny. In my master's program for counseling, we had to take a number of personality tests and everyone I spoke to about this one was blown away. You read up on your type and can't figure how the test could produce such detailed insight into what you're like.

It has a wealth of associated material, so that once you know your type you can, for example, see what careers would likely work out well for you.

S.J. Wickham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
loriale said...

I like Myers-Briggs too.