A. Mutuality of the Types
B. Considerations for Teams
C. See also the following pages:
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Have you ever been odd-ball-out in a group of like-minded people? How did they respond to your input and suggestions? How well did the group function?
I've been part of one kind of work team or another since 1977, when I was a campus minister at LSU. As an INTJ, it seems I've always been the really different one, as well. Given the types of professions I've been involved with, there's been an abundance of extraverted intuitive feeling types; even if they were introverts, they were NF. Some of them had pretty good thinking development in their third functions; often, they did not.
These teams came together because of common concerns -- campus ministry, substance abuse prevention, substance abuse treatment, or retreat ministry. We shared common values and, more often than not, similar educational and spiritual formation. We also generally had good communication skills, and knew how to affirm, listen, confront, and negotiate. Nevertheless, the differences in temperament were often a significant issue in setting priorities and making decisions.
As a thinking type, it's my tendency to get to the the truth of an issue -- if the direction we're going is based on truth and will serve truth in some way. To me, it is the truth that sets us free, and anything less is b.s. that makes us unfree in some way. Snuffing out truth is the gift of the INTJ, and we can do so doggedly and even impersonally, ruffling feathers, at times. This often grates on NF types, who aren't as concerned about truth as they are about whether people feel good about a program, or that what is taught promotes harmony. Ideally, truth and harmony are two sides of the same coin, but getting there can take some time. If people don't know how to communicate well, and if they don't especially value the feedback they receive from another type, you might never come to possess that coin, in which case you will be short-changed.
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One of the implications of typology is that a group of people representing different types will have a fuller grasp of a situation than a group that is more homogeneous. There are powerful spiritual implications here, pointing up even the truth of Christ's being manifest more in community than through a single individual.
Learning to use all four functions in your own life can help you come to a fuller perspective, but your third and fourth functions will never be able to provide the depth of perception and judgment that you'll find in others for whom they are primary and auxiliary. In fact, learning to listen to them and trying to see things from their point of view can help with your own inner development.
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There are no great advantages of one type over another when it comes to complementarity. ST types have the hardest time connecting with others in relationships, but their perspective is one that NF types, who are generally friendlier, need to hear. Without the ST perspective, NF types can set unrealistic goals, get all excited about them, take on too many responsibilities, and even burn out.
Similar examples could be given about other contrasting mixes. I hope you will share some of your own.
1. What questions or comments do you have from this conference?
2. Share an experience of what it's been like for you to work or play with a group of people. How did differences in typology show up?
In a work situation, it is important and helpful to have both those persons who can see the forest and those who can see the tree. We need to be aware of those who are the idea people and those who are the do-ers.
Recently, I was in an intensive two-month program of study over four summers. It was very interesting to notice how each of us would approach the way we study. Some needed to study "out loud" with others; some needed the quiet time to work on their own; some, like me, studied by repetition and memorization. Usually, we each did what we personally needed to do, but would also incorporate another method of study that wasn't necessarily our preference.
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