I am calling it the week of shrinking. We had a team meeting a couple weeks ago and my boss’s boss thought it would be a good idea for all of us to spend some time on the couch. To his credit, we don’t all know each other like we have in the past. There are several new people and some old people in new jobs. It has been a big transition time for us and I guess he thought bringing in a professional organizational behaviorist (aka shrink) would perhaps make us a tighter and more effective team. We all took the Myers Briggs test and then plotted our types on a chart that showed the 16 personality types. We used those personality types as a launching pad to more job related discussions. There were surprises and ah ha’s and an expressed need for black and white next steps and a desperate need for some to crawl under the table and hide.
I am generally pretty accepting of this psycho stuff. I spent a lot of time studying psych in college and have managed people most of my life and certainly think having a shrink in my back pocket once and awhile has been good for me and the MB test didn’t tell me much new about myself, it is the same as the last three times I have taken it. It is fair to say that I am way more worried about feelings, the long view and possibilities than I am about following the rules, sticking with what seems to be working, logic and analysis. My office mates now know why I have learned to sit at my desk with headphones on and escape outside over lunch and that I hate talking on the phone. I now know I have to rein in some of my pie in the sky thinking and I know that doing a spreadsheet once and a while won’t actually kill me. I also know why I make some people nuts especially because most of the people I work with are on the opposite end of the personality spectrum than me. And if I am going to be 100% truthful, I make a lot of people nuts.
I am not sure yet what all of this analysis did for us as a team. It isn’t like suddenly we are going to change the way we operate with each other. We would need the shrink to move into our office for that to happen. But this knowledge is useful and for me knowing and learning more about the people I interact with the most and rub wrong the hardest, has helped. The biggest thing that I took away, though, after a week of soaking it in, is pretty obvious. We spend more time at work than we spend doing any other thing and it would probably really help us to know each other better than we do and to not just know each other but to really understand and interact with each other, with that understanding. Change a bit how we look at our differences and see them not as barriers but as assets instead. Think out of the normal box of how we think we should think and believe that thinking differently about each other is perhaps worthwhile. Think about what that level of understanding would do for a team. Think about what that level of understanding would do for us just as the human team!
Ok, maybe that’s a little pie in the sky.