Our fingers teach us about cohesiveness. Different in sizes and shapes, the five fingers are synergistically capable of playing beautiful tunes on piano.
The metaphor has enlightened me on how to manage human resources within an organization. like it or not, every organization should accept the fact that each employee comes with a different set of characteristics. Ranging from different inherited features (such as gender, height, skin color), to nonphysical attributes (such as trait, intellectual, personality). on the other hand, organizations must be able to harmonize the steps of their employees to achieve organizational vision and mission. We should admit that there are a lot of challenges here.
“Soon, the war to win talents in Indonesia will become more challenging and exciting as AEC is implemented (ASEAN Economic Community)”
The challenges currently faced by a leader are not bound to just business competition and organizational alignment, but also talent war. Soon, the war to win talents in Indonesia will become more challenging and exciting as AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) is implemented. Steps taken by leaders of organizations to to succeed in the talent war will become significant as of now. loyalty towards company may no longer be enough. What are needed now are employees who are strongly engaged to the organization.
Differences, Challenge for all
The challenge to managing differences often times become a matter requiring extra attention. Not only does that apply in a smaller unit such as a married couple, but also in managing dozens, hundreds, or thousands of employees within an organization.
Let us walk down the memory lane, how our love story usually begins. At first, we get to know each other, and then our interest in the other person grows before eventually the chemistry gets deeper. There are personality aspects about the person that attract our hearts. perhaps the attraction comes from similarities, or it could also be from some differences that you both share. Those who are magnetized by the differences, generally feel that the other person can complement some missing elements from within, meaning that they already know who they are as individuals and thus feel that the other person may fill the void. It cannot be denied though, that most couples are drawn towards each other because of the common things they share in their life.
That first connection contributes in making the process of wanting to know much more about the other person possible. And if the relationship continues, some more surprising elements, but tolerable, might be uncovered along the way. Tolerance, acceptance and appreciation towards differences play a massive role here.
A process that is somewhat similar occurs within organizations. Creating synergy among employees usually begins with a spark of ‘attraction’ that incurs connection. one might say : “I appreciate how he dresses. I could sense that he must be structured and well organized at work”. In other words, the forming of connection since the start does play an important role in triggering people to value differences.
Myers-Briggs Four dimensions
In the context of understanding and accepting differences at hand between one and another, myers-Briggs ingeniously proposed a concept that is presently renowned in many parts of the world, which is called the mBTI (Myers–Briggs Type Indicator). The concept explains types of personality based on four dimensions:
Extraversion (e) / Introversion (i)
Extraverts get their energy from other people. Their behavior can be revealed by the following several actions, for instance in times of fatigue, they seek company of others to chat instead of allocating their time to rest. In the workplace, an extravert likes to interact, work in team, talk a lot and appear energetic.
Meanwhile, introverts are the opposite. They conserve energy for themselves. In times of fatigue, for instance, an introvert tends to choose some alone or quiet time. one with introverted personality possesses relatively calmer demeanor compared to an extroverted, contemplates a lot and easily engages within own thoughts.
Sensing (S) / Intuition (n)
People with sensing personality are more likely to seek information using their senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. They fancy facts, details, practicality, and data. Individuals who prefer sensing tend to rely on personal experiences and are not keen on speculating.
On the other hand, intuitive individuals seek information with their intuition. They are used to grasp the meaning behind an event, consider future possibilities, analyze cause and effect, see the big picture and like novelty.
Thinking (t) / Feeling (F)
People with thinking personality make decisions based on what seems logical, objective, and they are, in general, firm. If a decision has been made, they will convey it directly.
In contrast, those who rely on feeling normally wouldn’t rely on logic, but values when they make a decision. They are prone to being gentle, taking considerations thoughtfully. In conveying a decision, these individuals are typically considerate with the feelings of others too.
Judging (j) / Perceiving (P)
Judgers are well organized. They like to make advance preparation. Their principle is to put work above all, only then they can relax. And they stay true to being thorough with what they do, are results-oriented, and prefer if there is a decision made.
On the contrary, perceivers are likely to adhere to flexible and flowing life principles. They favor starting up new projects and are process-oriented.
16 types of Personality
The 4 dimensions, as discussed, are the base of more specific 16 different types of personality derivations. These types are identified by a research that uses questionnaire comprised of pairs of sentences. In filling out the questionnaire, we were asked to choose sentences that strongly resonate with ourselves.
In a number of researches that the writer has conducted, based on the data of respondents in particular, they generally say that mBTI indeed is capable of giving self-illustration with accuracy greater than 80%. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses.
We can discover 16 combinations of personality type of a person, based on myers-Briggs four main dimensions of personality, which are more specific and precise.
Similar to the process of finding out our loved ones, initially people may be drawn towards the dimensions similar to themselves, or instead the ones utterly different. The attraction will compel them to try and build connection which then would lead to the discovery of information about the other person. To put it another way, the concept of mBTI helps one to gradually gain clarity about oneself and how one interacts with others.
Therefore, a good comprehension of various types of personality illustrated by MBTI becomes substantial for those who are concerned with managing a diverse workforce, in order to realize the ideal employee engagement.
Getting To Know The Individual, Challenge For Leaders
Seeing how great the challenge in managing human resources within a company, a comprehension of a variety of personality types becomes so important for a leader. If so, what could be done by a leader?
A research, within its scope, recently conducted by the writer involving 418 participating respondents may help in answering that question. The research portraits types of personality of the 418 respondents, demographically illustrated in the following diagram:
The percentage indicates that the combinations between Extrovert-Introvert, Sensing-Intuition, Thinking-Feeling, Judging-Perceivingare quite distributed.
To be able to engage employee based on MBTI, a leader could use Function Pairsas guide. Function pairs are two middle letters of the personality types in mBTI. The four combinations of function pairs are NT, NF, ST and SF.
For N types, big picture is key. Clear vision, mission, strategy, and the direction of the organization is heading is crucial to N types. N types also care about shaping the desired organizational culture.For S types, what key are the details of implementation, result, execution and real evidence. For T types, every decision must be logical, sensible and provide tangible reward. While for F types, every decision must involve human factor in consideration. Here, determining the balance between task and people becomes a challenge for a leader.
As an outline, to engage employees at all organizational levels, a leader should be able to tackle and navigate balance between great visionand great execution, as well as taskand people orientation.Up to this phase, a leader just calibrates the level of engagement in the organization. To dig deeper, a leader should dive into individual level. Engagement is something personal, engagement between individuals. A leader should first posses a self-understanding, only then one will be able to comprehend leadership style that one leans towards. After that, a leader should be able to comprehend personality types and tendencies of his/her employees.
"Engagement is something personal,engagement between
individuals. A leader should first posses a self-understanding, only
then one will be able to comprehend leadership style that one leans
After all the descriptions that we stated, basically nobody’s perfect, no one is always a perfect leader. In spite of all the efforts towards balancing great visionand great execution, taskand peopleorientation, every leader has certain tendency towards his/her own leadership style.
Thus, a leader with certain character should cooperate with an employee with character that is different from the leader, so that the strengths of the employee offset the weaknesses of the leader, and the other way around. Working with different personality type is prone to causing conflicts though. Nevertheless, conflicts will fuel positive extraordinary performance if they are carefully managed. The purpose of conflict should be about collaboration. A diverse set of personality types, if managed to collaborate between one and another, will serve as a beautiful asset.
Towards Becoming More Productive
The end purpose of personality discovery using mBTI is not about categorizing people. This concept in fact aims to help cooperation or interaction process between individuals for better productivity.
An employee, who feels content with his/her workplace and also is in a conducive and supportive work environment (from subordinates, colleagues and superiors), will feel ‘engage’ with the organization where s/he works.
Building a positive relationship at work can be done by harnessing the concept of mBTI, by first having self-awareness, then understanding about others, identifying the differences between oneself and others, accepting the differences and after synergizing the differences to achieve better results.
So, the mapping of employees’ personality types in order to provide everyone with self-insightis essential. It can be further perfected by offering feedback sessionfrom fellow workers, subordinates or superiors. moreover, employees need to be facilitated by activities leading to self-disclosuretowards people they work with. For instance, favorable ways of working, expected ways of interacting, etc. Consequently, people will have better understanding about a particular employee, so that more optimal work relationship can be nurtured.
Differences are to be celebrated, not debated. In fact, differences make collaboration and synergy possible, like the different fingers that can play a meaningful tune.
By M.A Endang Tatiana. She was involved in high-level program for developing business management capabilities and leadership, which are related to organizational Development, performance management, and Human Development in the form of coaching, mentoring, training, and consulting. She is a Director of Prasetiya Mulya Executive learning Institute.