Have you ever taken an online personality test? If there is one I would recommend, it’s ‘16 personalities‘.
Knowing your personality type can be a huge help in seeing your blind spots. For me it was an eye-opener to understand how I may come across at a workplace to the personality types from the other side of the spectrum:
- highly-emotional & poorly-disciplined subordinate
- a manager who struggles to set clearly defined objectives & timetables
- a co-worker who is way too much interested in their colleagues lives
I remember when I first heard “I’m not here to make friends, I am here to work.” from a team-mate. Back then I thought she was weird! Now I know she is just a different personality type. Probably from the opposite side of the spectrum. But it doesn’t mean we can’t get along, we just both need to adapt our communication style and have mutual respect.
One of the companies I considered working for had a huge board with these 16 personality types and pictures of people in their “corners”. Everyone takes the test as part of the induction process and they speak about it with their teamleaders. From day 1 they are helping their new colleagues to be more self-aware and respectful to others. And this company thrives!
Get to know yourself workshops are often provided by companies who shift individual contributors to a manager role. Because knowing yourself is essential, especially when you are asked to lead other people.
Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself, it is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.
– Warren Bennis.
I took this test several times and while my type (Campaigner – ENFP-T) stays the same it’s interesting to observe how the individual traits shift in their balance over time.
The results are divided into several categories and as I was at different phases of my life as I was taking it, there were different aha moments each time. And this time, in May 2020, 2 months under COVID-19 lockdown, I understood why so many of my friendships took a hit.
Here are a few quotes from the Campaigner characteristics:
“Campaigners are less interested in the sheer excitement and pleasure of the moment than they are in enjoying the social and emotional connections they make with others.”
“Campaigner personalities tend to give much more of themselves than most are even capable of giving back. This sort of imbalance isn’t sustainable, as (seemingly) one-sided generosity often leads to criticism and resentment on both sides.”
“Campaigners overthink things. They don’t take things at face value – they look for underlying motives in even the simplest things. It’s not uncommon for Campaigners to lose a bit of sleep asking themselves why someone did what they did, what it might mean, and what to do about it.”
“While emotional expression is healthy and natural, with Campaigners even viewing it as a core part of their identity, it can come out strongly enough to cause problems for this personality type. Particularly when under stress, criticism or conflict, Campaigners can experience emotional bursts that are counter-productive at best.”
Why did I choose these? It helped me understand that my need for social interactions and high level of emotional investment and interest in others is a part of who I am. But we are not the same and I can’t expect this from everyone. Moreover I shouldn’t resent anyone because they have different strategies and coping mechanisms.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
I believe that the lockdown has had some sort of effect on everyone. And I dare to say that (us) extroverts have felt it stronger (or at least sooner…). As I stopped seeing people face to face due to social distancing I started spending more and more time on social media. Observing other people’s lives rather than connecting with them. Making assumptions, comparing and feeding the envy…
Then I decided to take a break from social media. From posting daily and constantly reaching out to my circle of friends I went to complete silence for one month. I stopped sending messages to check in with people. I waited for others to reach out to me instead.
The response was quite brutal. There was one person (besides my family) who reached out, who showed interest in me. One message after 14 days and then there was silence again. Only replies to my messages but even these were often ignored. When I cried on my husband’s shoulder that if I would die nobody would even notice, he showed me this.
On the other hand this digital detox has had some undeniable and surprising benefits but more about that in another post as this is getting way too long.
In conclusion, knowing my personality type has helped me to accept that I am more invested in others than they are in me. It doesn’t make me a better person and it doesn’t make them bad friends.
Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.
Image credits: https://www.16personalities.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/16Personalities/
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