Monthly Archives: August 2010

How Knowing Your Co-Worker’s Personality Style Improves Your Work Performance

I’m an INTJ in the four-letter personality world, otherwise known as an introverted, arrogant, geek, or, for a positive twist, “the ‘Systems Builders’ of the types.” (per:

When I first took the Jung Typology Test as an adult (I vaguely remember taking something like it in high school, with forgettable results), and read the results, my life was literally changed.  I finally understood why small talk annoys me, why I’m not the life of the party, and why I analyze everything, to the point of driving myself to distraction.  My personality profile identified me to a T, and opened my eyes to how other people see me.

For years, our company has asked new employees to voluntarily fill out a personality profile questionnaire and share the results with colleagues.  Our goal is to help each employee better understand herself, and also better understand her co-workers.  The profiles have been a success.  We’ve learned quite a bit about each other, enabling each of us to better leverage the other’s strengths, and minimize each other’s weaknesses.   For example, I know who to go to when I need to brainstorm about technical product design, who thrives on the tough problem solving tasks, who loves building client relationships, and who never wants to be the bad guy.  I better understand why one employee seems to be so sensitive to criticism, why another isn’t keen on details, and why another employee becomes extremely bored by maintenance tasks.  As a result, tasks and roles can be assigned to match strengths, and I can be more understanding of employees who are being stretched beyond their natural personality in certain situations, providing tools and backup when necessary.

Personally, I believe the assessment helped me tone down my more abrasive INTJ traits when they weren’t needed.  I stopped trying to debate with someone who viewed debate as a personal attack, and saved my need for a good argument for a later time, with a more condusive personality style.  I’m still working on knowing when to tone down and when to bring out my personality strengths and weaknesses, but overall, learning my traits, and those of my co-workers, has positively impacted my relationships – both at work and elsewhere.

To take the assessment for yourself, visit:


Free to Live

Sometimes we get so wrapped in our to-dos, in perfecting our trade, that we forget what it’s all about.  It’s about living.  Business, technology, human resources, education, all of it is about making it through life with peace, love, grace, dignity, and comfort.

I don’t care how many times I was taught in business school that the primary goal of business is to make a profit, business is not about the bottom line.  Business is about providing a certain quality of life for its employees, stakeholders, customers and suppliers, while maintaining itself through profitability.  Money at its root is trade – we trade the skills and products we have to get other skills or products that improve our lives.  The trade should always be a win-win.

Business should be our slave, our tool to help us live more comfortably, to allow us to spend our time on our strengths and let others help us out with our weaknesses.

Business serves its purpose when it allows us to be free to live.