Using MBTI to Great Advantage is a blog series in which I’ll do an overview of each of the four Myers-Briggs (MBTI) functions and then in subsequent blogs will dig into each one in more depth with some practical applications for creating better dynamics and better decisions making. Click here to read the Series Introduction.
Unfortunately the two words associated with this function carry a lot of preconceived baggage. We think of the outgoing, gregarious, easy to talk with extroverted type or the shy, quite, retiring introverted type. And while we may see some of those characteristics in this function, that’s not what is getting measured here.
This is your “energizing” function. When you need to get creative, solve a problem, grapple with an issue, deal with alternatives, how do you get energized around the solution?
- Extraverts need to talk. While talking our energy seems to grow, ideas start falling into place, internal decisions get made and finally, right during the conversation our fingers snap and our brain says “That’s it. I’ve got it.” The extroverted conversation energized us.
- Introverts on the other hand need to reflect. They may do just as much talking with colleagues and others to gather as much input as possible and will likely do a lot more reading and studying but at some point, they just need to let all of that information come together in their head as their introverted thoughts process all that they’ve learned and put it into a structure that makes sense to them. At that moment they express an inward (and sometime outward) smile and their brain says “That’s it. I’ve got it.”
Greatest confusion and misunderstanding.
Because of how these two functions work so differently, it has been my observation that this function is at the root of most miscommunication and misunderstanding between team members and one of the biggest causes of wasted effort in team meetings. I’ll be giving you a lot of examples and solutions for making this function work well for you and the team in future blogs.
Don’t assume you know.
One last thought on the Energizing function. Because we think we know what (or who) an extravert and introvert is, we arm-chair psychologists make the most mistakes with this function. I have worked with talkative introverts and quiet extraverts. Do Not make assumptions on this function. You’ll often be wrong and create more misunderstanding and confusion. I’ll repeat the following statement many times because it’s so important: Don’t try to figure out if a person has an extroverted or introverted preference, just learn to balance your process so that both types flourish and contribute to the dialogue and decision making.
Remember, the three rules for using this function effectively:
Learn to process team dynamics in a balanced way and learn to balance your own preferences. You’ll be seen as a better leader and your teams will be identified as high-performance teams.
Share with us some of your experiences with this function both from a personal understanding or a team dynamic impact.