Monday, January 09, 2006

From Work- Knowing our Personality Type


Cartoon Picture Illustration by Roger Armstrong (INFJ)

One of my colleagues who was out on vacation till the week after New Year came back to the office today. We went out for a cup of coffee and i was telling her about some of the candidates we've been interviewing for one of our job openings that has been posted for 4 months now. The interview process in our organization is pretty simple and straight forward- We have an Interview Committee of 3 people which comprises of 1 HR person and 2 technical folks(who aren't managers). After our HR person screens the resumes and schedules candidate interviews, the committee meets with the candidates and recommends them to meet with the Co-Directors (our bosses), if they are impressive.
Both are Co-Directors are wonderful bosses to work for; but their working styles and personalities are so different that its hard to reach a final decision. Before, i go off track, my colleague was saying that it would probably help me to brush my grad school books on Organizational Behavior and read about understanding different personality types in order to work with them in recruiting a candidate for that open position.
After going back to Myers-Briggs model and doing other reading, i finally decided to blog some of my understanding on the types of peronalities.
Usually, people come in various personality packages- some of the well known ones are the Type A and Type B personalities. Let me call my Co-Dircetors C and D.
Co-Director C is highly competitive and rushing. She likes to do several projects and tasks all at once. She is often hard pressed for time and watches her clock to make sure that things are done on time. Her schedule is often fixed and finding a meeting slot in her calendar is just crazy for her admin folks.
Her Interviewing Style: She makes sure her interview/meeting with a finalist candidate doesn't exceed an hour. She gets interrupted by the phone during her time with the candidate and often comes across as slightly intimidating to the candidate with her fast demeanor and pace.........................................She is my Type A personality.
By contrast, Co-Director D is less competitive, takes more time and is more flexible with her schedule.
Her Interviewing Style: She doesn't mind if the candidate talks for a longer time and is patient and thorough with her questioning. She doesn't answer her phone or appear impatient when she meets with the candidate. In fact, she talks to them a little bit about their previous job, commute etc before she starts the drill.................................She is my Type B personality.
So, then is Type A bad and B good? I don't think so. Both Co-Directors interview at the same time and there is a nice balance to the candidate. If Co-Director C is too busy on the phone, then Co-Director D makes the candidate feel comfortable and not neglected. Also, if Co-Director D is really taking a long time to warm up with her general talk, then Co-Director C plunges in and changes the pace of the interview. As long as the two of them can understand each other's perspective, they can compliment one another and provide a successful outcome.
Can the same theory be applied to our personal lives too. Is that why folks comment that when opposites often marry, they lead a very full life, since each partner makes up for the other's weaknesses and each brings important characteristics into the relationship.
Would be interested to see your comments......................................................

13 comments:

Anu said...

Mitr,

Nice post...but i think in personal relationships as compared to a job, the interaction is one on one and dunamics are different,so a genralisation cannot be applied... saying that, all i know is personally its a lot more fun

Anu

Raju said...

Very nicely written.. I need to read about the personalities to be in resonance with the HR people I would be meeting later.. :-)

On personal life, IMHO, though opposites attract, the success of totally different personalities as a pair would be very much dependent on how much each understands each other fully. By default, men and women are a lot different.. within their realm, there should be a good overlap. It is like optical waves.. is interference of waves better (which would make it 'full') or resonance? I would prefer the latter..

Ram.C said...

100% agree to your last para on personal lives... opposite poles attract and I had observed it in several instances, including mine as well some of my relativs.

mitr_bayarea said...

Anu:hmm..interesting, although i agree with you that the dynamics at work on dealing with Type A and B personalities is quite different from at home. Both are equally tough and stressful if understanding and tolerance level are low.

Raju: Thanks..you would need to know more than just personality types if you are going to be meeting with HR folks :)

Agree with your correlation to optical waves...

ram: yes, oppposites attract for more than one reason. As long as they know what strengths and weaknesses each partner brings in, they can work it out.

Rising...... said...

YUP, and I think Hum tum had much dialogues in same line as your post.. good one

Me too said...

It sometimes helps when partners(be it business or personal life)have different outlook. If they donot compete with each other, it will definitely help to have a different point of view to arrive at a right decision.

If one is a spendrift and other a kanjoos, won't it help balance the finance :)!!

mitr_bayarea said...

me_too: Good one..if one is stingy and the other is a spendthrift, then there is a chance where the stingy one will stop the other one from overspending. I have seen that in the case of some couple friends.

rudkip said...

I think there is a difference between personality types and core beliefs. A couple could have totally different personality types but still have a great relationship.

However, a couple has to have somewhat similar core beliefs. If there is fundamental difference there, then they will be unable to make progress a whole lot. Imagine two horses tied to a cart trying to pull in opposite directions. Neither the horses nor the cart can get anywhere fast.

If both horses do agree and come to a consensus on a common direction, they will get somewhere. It might not be the right place, but they are getting somewhere instead of standing still which is always a good thing. :-)

Balaji said...

yes opposites do attract(or atleast get "arranged married"!!). have seen enuf couples to understand that. makes life more interesting for sure. but problems arise when they start seeing the differences between them as problems and something that the other person must develop instead of just differences :)

Ash said...

i was wondering why opposites attract ....u gave me the answer .
they make up for the other's weaknesses...

no body is perfect is so renundant a saying that i cant help but typing it down just now...
as my mom always says we dont have time to make mistakes in our lives so lets learn from other's and live happily ...

similarly about our personal life if like poles come together, expert in their respective feilds ..i guess that would add to a lot of unpleasantness if there isnlt any compromise or adjsutment between them and this is not the best way to live a life in a bond like marriage ....

it is better not totally unlike poles but a slightly like and 90% unlikes attract ...

happy new year
Ash

mitr_bayarea said...

rising...:hmm....what occurs in movies is quiet different from real life, however real they try to film it..

rudkip:Interesting concept of core beliefs and personality types.I guess that is another way to look at this whole thing.

Nice analogy on the horses.

Welcome to my blog!


Balaji:Amen for your first comment....Opposites do get attracted and end up in an arranged marriage.

Ash:well thoughts out and nicely written. Liked your mom's saying that We don't have time to make mistakes in our lives and so much learn from thos eof others and live happily.

Welcome to my blog and Happy New Year!

tt_giant said...

I am at a loss as to what to say. Until this minute I am single, so my life is kind of one-dimensional. So, I am in no position to comment about conflict/confluence of personalities.

But wrt profession, I do agree that a team with both A and B types tends to click. A and A would probably fight among each other, whereas B and B would probably be spending most of their time in the cafeteria.

naan said...

In personal lives it depends "how much" one person is different from the other. If two people have entirely different values and morals then even if they are attracted to each other at the first place, in the long run "you are what you are", so it most likely it will turn out to be disastrous. Ultimately, it not about differences or similarities- it about how you choose to deal with them.