Once very happy with her company and career progression, Jane was now rethinking her career direction because of how she related to her new manager.
“I just can’t seem to get my point across to him”. “He is very different from me and I feel intimidated and as though I can’t meet his expectations.”
That was how Jane recently reported her frustration and concern about her relationship with her new boss. She was on the verge of quitting and wanted to explore options beyond her current job. One of my tasks as her career counselor was to help her determine her options and ultimately decide if a move was in her best interest.
After hearing examples of difficult interactions with her manager, I decided that she would benefit from a different perspective on her situation—one that considered differences in personality type between herself and her boss.
Developed to better understand the personality theory of Carl Jung, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely used assessment that’s been translated into 21 languages and administered to over 1.5 million people annually. The MBTI is a way to better understand ourself and develop greater appreciation and tolerance for other’s differences.
Jane took the assessment and felt confident about her four-letter type after reading about characteristics and behaviors associated with it. With her newfound knowledge of personality type, she began to understand how she differed from her boss and how those differences impacted her interactions from communication to expectations.
Through the lens of the MBTI and her personality type, Jane was able to consider her less-than-stellar performance review in a way that allowed her to see her work from his perspective.
She acknowledged that her boss was expecting her to stretch beyond her comfort zone in several areas. Type knowledge helped her understand why this was difficult for her, but also helped her see how she could do this in a variety of ways, not just how her boss would do it.
As a result of her increased understanding of personality type, Jane felt determined to stay with her company and challenged to improve her performance.
For those who have taken the MBTI and want to explore its relevance to work, read Do What You Are, by Paul and Barbara Tieger for an in-depth view of how knowledge of one’s type can help clarify appropriate options and shape career decisions.