Today I’m going to discuss the impact of working from home on various personality types and how best to deal with people depending on their psychological make-up.
Now, over the years I’ve taken a few personality tests, whether its been for job interviews or for jobs where they have been keen to create the perfectly balanced team. Many of the tests will, rather than just listing your personality traits, give you colours or letters that you can use. Some people then add to their email signature. This will, theoretically, allow people to see what sort of person you are and respond accordingly. The most widely used of these personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI.
After a number of questions it assigns (unsurprisingly) four letters depending on your answers and these relate to the following personality traits:
E or I for either Extrovert or Introvert
S or N for either Sensibility or Intuition
T or F for either Thinking or Feeling
J or P for either Judgment or Perception
This then aligns you with one of sixteen personality types. The thinking is that after you have the personality types for all your team then you “should” be able to assign work and communicate with the team in ways which works to their strengths and should therefore create a better and more efficient team.
If you want to try it out for yourself you can take the test over at the MBTI website here.
So what does this mean for teams who are currently working from home? Well, as we have found out over the last few months, some people have dealt with working from home better than others. Some have taken it their stride and are even happier working around their own schedule and some prefer the buzz of working in the office environment alongside their team. How best then, to deal with each of the sixteen MBTI personality types?
ENTJ – These people tend to be logical, efficient, structured individuals. They will be confident and able to motivate colleagues to work towards department goals.
More “big picture” type people they will not concentrate on smaller details and therefore may alienate people they work with who are more detailed orientated. Ensuring they bring everyone along with their decisions after consultation should keep everyone “onside”.
ENFJ – Natural leaders driven by feelings rather than logic they tend to be quite inspirational as well as empathetic to their fellow team-mates. Unsurprisingly you can include Barak Obama amongst the ENFJ personality type.
Great on-line meeting hosts as they will bring together ideas without being judgmental or enforcing their own ideas. Will be more concerned with other people than their own well-being so may have to be kept an eye on to ensure their not struggling themselves.
ESFJ – Kind, considerate and sociable these personalities will put others first and be the ones who will try to keep the teams social sides active, whether it be by organising on-line meet-ups or by checking up on individuals.
They are great for keeping people “on side” and their caring nature will ensure people like working with them. Make for ideal project managers. They would also be good to work with new-starts.
ESTJ – organised, hard-working and methodical these team-mates get the nickname The Guardian for their steadfastness and loyalty.
Although well-organised and straight down the line, they may, in a remote setting, come across as being a bit bossy which may rub people up the wrong way. Best to direct them to be pragmatic, think carefully before issuing work requests and to re-read their emails prior to sending in case they come across as too dictatorial.
ENTP – extrovert, intuitive, thinkers – include many CEO s in this group who like to think big and who are not keen on the routine.
As many CEO s they will happily have discuss moving things forward and so good dealing with customers and creating new business. They may get carried away so may need to be reminded now and again to let others participate.
ENFP – people pleasers who enjoy company and put feelings in front of logic.
Would be great working in a team, and will excel at coming up with ideas. Working on their own however from home may be more of an issue for them. Not the best at starting or finishing work therefore may require some nudging in the right direction to complete tasks on time.
ESFP – life and soul of the office who will be a natural performer, full of energy and enthusiasm. They will also be sympathetic and generous.
Need to work in a team to allow them to shine, therefore working from home may be draining for them. Get them involved in zoom calls and projects that allow them to show off their skills, especially remote client interactions.
ESTP – problem solvers who want jobs done now. Longer term projects may bore them.
Keep them interested by setting short term goals and any problem solving issues that arise.
INTP – lone problem solvers will love being in lock down more than most. They will be quick to find problems and work competently and logically on their own. Albert Einstein is a good example.
Just let them get on with their work as they will thrive in the environment. Keep them involved however and get them to share their working so that others may benefit from their smart solutions.
INFP – ideas orientated daydreamers. Their enthusiasm will be really helpful but may be difficult to sustain on longer projects.
Could have issues with remote working as they may allow problems to fester due to their deep-seated beliefs. Encourage them to get issues sorted out quickly and reinforce the importance of what their contribution is.
ISFP – they love creating things for other people, friendly and avoid confrontation. Love exploring and experiencing new things.
Can get so focused on work they forget to take breaks or finish at a reasonable time so they need to be reminded to do so.
ISTP – they are the direct, to the point people you know in the office, loyal but not overly keen on rules and regulations.
Will miss the office life so will appreciate frequent catch ups to be kept up to speed. Likely to be that one person who will lose focus during a zoom meeting as they are doing something else.
ISFJ – focused on balance and co-operation within the team, conscientious who will relish keeping those remote team members happy.
Their attention to detail will make them great checkers to ensure work is being done by other team members. Putting them in charge will reap benefits for everyone.
INTJ – natural problem solvers who will be happy working on their own.
Will be happy to work remotely with little to no interaction so will sometimes need to be reminded to join in. May need to be reminded to check with colleagues before rushing to decisions.
INFJ – creative types although concerned about their workmates feelings. They will come up with loads of ideas after some deep thinking.
Great judges of character so would be helpful to have them involved in any online interviews. Would prefer working in the background though so they would prefer to be included in the interview but not run it.
ISTJ – duty-bound, routine loving and hard-working. Think The Queen and you wouldn’t be too far off.
They will be quite happy working away on their own and can be trusted to get on with it.
So that sums up the different personality traits and the styles and issues that may arise working with each remotely. I have certainly come across all of the personalities mentioned during my career so it’s interesting to see them mentioned and easy to recognise.
Do you agree with the Myles-Briggs Type Indicator method of personality identification? Have you come across it in your career before or do you have another method? How do you find working from home and have you come across any specific issues?
As ever I would love to hear from you so please get in touch by emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org or by submitting a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.