“What’s your type?” may seem like an awkward question for the office, but
in the right context, it can be an especially helpful one.
Knowing our personality type helps us appreciate our own strengths and
identify ways to work smarter. They’re shorthand for describing your unique
style at work: how you solve problems, what motivates you and how you do
your best work.
The power of personality types in the workplace shines when it’s time to
work with others. Knowing your own tendencies allows you to
communicate effectively, work efficiently with others and use everyone’s strengths to their best
advantage. One measure of personality that can help communicators know
themselves is the
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This particular personality test assigns each person a four-letter type
(like INFP) and focuses on four dimensions of personality: energy source,
cognitive style, values and self-management. Each dimension has two
styles—one at each end of a spectrum—and each person falls closer to one
end or the other.
As an introductory primer, here’s how the dimensions and styles break down,
and how they apply to the workplace:
Energy source: extroverted or introverted?
The energy dimension refers to the way you interact with people in your
environment. What gives you energy and what drains you?
Extroverts at work gain energy from others.
Their vision is more likely to be directed toward their experience of the
outside world rather than the inner life of the mind. Extroverts are the
social butterflies of the office and are most productive and engaged when
the mood is lively and interactive.
Introverts at work gain energy from focusing inward.
Introverts find energy, peace and refreshment from within, either in
solitude or in the presence of a few trusted individuals. A busy workplace
with a lot of chatter can be a drain on an introvert.
Cognitive style: sensory or intuitive?
The cognitive dimension refers to your preferred manner of taking in
information: on a sensory level or an intuitive one.
Sensors at work are factual, practical thinkers
They focus on facts and raw data they can perceive with their five senses.
They think literally and live in the present.
Intuitives at work are abstract, creative thinkers.
They see patterns, connections and potential in the world around them. They
are future-focused and can be great visionaries on a project.
Values style: thinker or feeler?
Values style refers to how workers approach decision making, either through
the filter of logic or personal implications.
Thinkers at work value logic and objectivity.
They are analytical and rational—and tend to act decisively and
definitively. They value truth and fairness above public opinion and
believe the facts should speak for themselves.
Feelers at work value relationships and compassion.
Feelers prioritize how decisions align with their personal feelings and
values. They are generally team players and aren’t driven by tangible
achievements. Instead, they like knowing that others are pleased with their
work or feeling that they’ve been helpful.
Self-management style: judger or perceiver?
Self-management refers to how workers design their time and generally
approach life, either with order or spontaneity.
Judgers at work prefer structure and order.
They are the type that has a five-year plan and approach time head-on,
making the most of every possibility. They find comfort in predictability
and are natural self-starters.
Perceivers at work prefer freedom and flexibility.
Rather than making definitive plans, they prefer to continue putting off
plans until the answer becomes clear. They can find decision making to be
stressful and are more focused on the journey than the destination.
When you understand your personality type, you can better articulate your
own talents and strengths. Being aware of how you prefer to operate allows
you to play up the qualities your personality type offers and can help you
make better choices in your career.
Most important, understanding the personality types of your colleagues can
help create a stronger and more effective team.
What is your personality type and how does it influence your PR work, PR Daily readers?
Wesleigh Mowry is the senior graphic designer for
FrazierHeiby, a full-service communications firm. A version of this article ran
on the firm’s blog.