Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Personality in the Organization

Last week my coworker and I were chatting when we touched on the Meyers-Brigg personality type indicator. He seems to relate to it strongly; in his family all but his youngest daughter have been tested. After he mentioned his type and pattern I had to stop and think about mine: ENTJ. He perked up and started explaining it to me.

His explanation sounded familiar, yet unfamiliar. So I brushed up on it all the while laughing at its truthfulness. I bit my lip as I recognized some ruthless aspects of the personality type. As Margaret Thatcher, one famous ENTJ leader proclaimed: "If you want to cut your own throat, don't come to me for a bandage." Over the last year I've made a few changes to weed out some negative behaviors and I am now targeting a few more to leverage into positives.

Wild, Crazy ENTJ
I am fairly ambivalent about the MBTI; yet having a common language and resource to understand my coworker better is a boon. I relate this shared language to the cultural frame of an organization. Despite the widespread testing of MBTI and other personality tests I've come across in the government during on-boarding or specialized training, it seems there may be more to the MBTI than I have picked up on. To study it further I felt it would be a good idea to read an ENTJ's biography and see how the leadership style plays out in the organization. Shuffling through my library I discovered I already own one ENTJ autobiography--comedian Steve Martin.

Yet I decided reading a Margaret Thatcher biography is worth my time as well. I imagine it will give me insight into how the Iron Lady came to be and how she mastered the political frame. I have been fascinated this semester to focus on the components of an organization. And now I fasten on my head lamp (reading well past my bed time), dig deeper and look more closely at personality in the organization.