category deals with how we prefer to interact with the
world and how we prefer to get our energy and
stimulation. Extraverts are energized by other people
and action. They are talkers, often thinking out loud,
interrupting people at meetings, or bursting into a
co-worker's office to ask an opinion, and then not
really listening to it. Extraverts become drained when
they have to spend too much time alone; they need
other people to function. Introverts, on the other
hand, get their energy from their own thoughts and
ideas, rather than heated discussions. Introverts
rarely speak up at large meetings, preferring
listening to talking. Introverts need alone time,
especially after spending a few hours with people.
Introverts are outnumbered by extraverts by about
three to one in America. Extraverts are often rewarded in school, by
participating in class discussions, and at work, because they are
popular and outgoing. Introverts, on the other hand, are often
undervalued because they keep their best to themselves.
category deals with how we prefer to gather
information about the world. As the name implies,
sensors prefer to use their five senses to gather
information. Sensors are quite literal, preferring
facts and details to interpretations. If a hard-core
sensor asks what time it is, he or she expects to hear
"11:07 a.m.," and not "a little after
11" or "about 11." About 70 percent of
Americans are sensors. For iNtuitives, on the other
hand, everything is relative. They aren't late unless
the meeting has started without them. iNtuitives look
at the grand scheme of things, trying to translate
bits of information, through intuition, into
possibilities, meanings, and relationships. Details
and specifics irritate iNtuitives.
iNtuitives see the forest; sensors see the trees. When
working with sensors or iNtuitives, it is important to
remember these differences. Sensors prefer to learn
through sequential facts; iNtuitives through random
leaps. The task- "Please sort through these
surveys" - means something entirely different to
sensors and iNtuitives.
category deals with how we make decisions. Thinkers
base their decisions on objective values, and are
often described as logical, detached, or analytical.
Some thinkers are thought of as cold or uncaring
because they would rather do what is right than what
makes people happy. In contrast, feelers tend to make
decisions based on what will create harmony. Feelers
avoid conflict; and will overextend themselves to
accommodate the needs of others. Feelers will always
"put themselves in somebody else's shoes"
and ask how people will be affected before making a
This is the only personality type category related to
gender. About two-thirds of all males are thinkers,
and the same proportion of females are feelers. There
often are problems in the workplace for those who
don't conform to their gender's preference. For
example, a feeling man is labeled a "wimp."
Much more negatively, a thinking woman is
"unfeminine," she "has a chip on her
shoulder" or much worse. Thankfully, nobody is
100 percent thinker or 100 percent feeler (as with the
other personality types). Everyone, to some extent,
cares, thinks, and feels, but final decisions are
reached through very different routes, based on a
person's true personality preference.
category deals with how we orient our lives. Judgers
are structured, ordered, scheduled, and on-time. They
are the list makers. Judgers wake up every morning
with a definite plan for the day, and become very
upset when the plan becomes unraveled. Even free time
is scheduled. Perceivers, on the other hand, rely on
creativity, spontaneity, and responsiveness, rather
than a plan or list, to get them through the day. They
burn the midnight oil to meet deadlines, although they
usually meet them. Perceivers like to turn work into
play, because if a task is not fun, they reason, it is
probably not worth doing.
Experts say that this personality type difference is
the most significant source of tension in the
workplace and in group work. Perceivers prefer to keep
gathering information rather than to draw conclusions.
Judgers prefer to make decisions, often ignoring new
information that might change that decision. Hence,
the conflict. A
good balance of judgers and perceivers are necessary
for a well-functioning work group. Judgers need
light-hearted perceivers to make them relax, and
perceivers need structured judgers to keep things
organized and reach closure on projects.