Personality Type Lenses and Life Influences
Since my introduction to type as a professional in 1992, knowledge about type has proven incredibly valuable in my home and work life. Using the multiple lenses of type (see Figure 1) my personality type code ENFJ, provides shorthand for capturing the following rich information.
The Systems theory of temperament provides valuable insight into WHY people do what they do. Temperament also connects with Type theory by the sharing of certain pairs of preferences. In assessing my best-fit temperament, I identify best with the driving forces of an Idealist/Catalyst (which also correlates to NF preferences in the Type code).
I enjoy developing people, want to feel special and need a purpose or meaning in my life. As an Idealist, my web of relationships is critical for my health and well-being. This was crystallized for me when, at age 29, my father died of a heart attack. At that time, he was the only other Idealist in my life. I was married to a Guardian and neither of my children were Idealists. I had a close network of friends but they also were from the other three temperaments. As a result, my sense of grief seemed to last a long time, as this critical relationship link was broken.
On the positive side, when I first became involved in training and development, it felt like I had found the role I was meant to do. This job really uses my passion for people and my ability to integrate concepts from various sources to make human development relevant for a variety of individuals. I had received positive feedback, on one of my first sales training programs, that one of my talents was in asking open-ended questions, using empathy and being able to present an acceptable point of view. Had I known my temperament at this time, I would have been able to self-diagnose this talent. It corresponds to the Idealist’s innate Diplomatic skill set: the ability to build bridges between disparate viewpoints.
Type Dynamics Lens
Jung’s cognitive processes give us great insight into how we think about the world around us: how we gather information and make decisions. Following the Beebe and Linda Berens model of hierarchy of functions, my Type code also provides the following information about me. (FYI, in Turning Team Performance Inside Out we identified names for each of the functions to make them more accessible to our business clients.)
|Name||ENFJ Hierarchy||What this means to me|
|First Function (Adult)
|Fe: Extraverted Feeling –
|I am able to create a safe learning environment
when running training programs. I have the ability to read the group process
really well and adapt delivery and content to optimize group learning.
On the down side, If there is
|Second Function (Parent)
|Ni: Introverted iNtuiting –
|When designing training programs I get a clear
insight of the complete flow and outcome for the session.
The challenge can be the time
|Third Function (Child)
|Se: Extraverted Sensing –Experiencing||I enjoy music and dancing for light relief. I also have a pretty good eye (better
than my Guardian husband!) for whether an item will fit into a specific
While I can enjoy using this in spurts, I find it
|Fourth Function (Balancing)
|Ti: Introverted Thinking –
|I consciously use this
function to balance my Extraverted Feeling – to step back and dissect
what is really happening and why?
Although throughout my life,
|Unconscious||Please note: Negative behaviors are
described first as this is in the shadow side.
|Fifth Function (Opposing)
– + Back up
Introverted Feeling –
I receive poor customer service, this seems to cross my values about what is
fair. As a result I tend to
react aggressively to poor customer service. As is common with a function in
the opposing position, this belief manifests itself in a confrontational way: the opposite of a productive
|Sixth Function (Critical
– Critical parent
|Ne: Extraverted iNtuiting –
|When I am not able to accept
new work (because I am booked or there is a conflict in dates) I observe Brainstorming
making negative projections about the future: if I don’t respond to this
piece of work, the client will never work with me again. A distorted reading of meaning as you
On the positive side
|Seventh Function (Trickster)
|Si: Introverted Sensing –
|Dealing in practical
realities has always been a struggle for me – tracking large amounts of
sensory data causes me stress. I
have learned to manage all the logistics at training programs – still
the front table looks like a bomb has hit it by the end of the day!
Conversely, I don’t remember
|Eight Function (Demonic)
Extraverted Thinking –
worst job, which left me exhausted and depressed almost every day, was in
managing inventory distribution for a calendar company. This job required me
to use Systematizing and Recalling every day – my seventh and eighth
functions – no wonder I struggled with this.
Interaction Styles Lens
The Interaction Styles is model helps to explain HOW we try to engage with others to meet our needs. I identify with the In Charge Interaction Style (which corresponds to ENJ in the Type Code). My perspective of my approach to life was that I was not a risk taker. After receiving feedback that moving to the US as a conscious life choice could be viewed as a risk (!) I reevaluated this presumption through the Interaction Style lens. I began to recognize my psycho physiological drive to take action in order to get an achievable result, supported by the belief that if things did not work, I would be able to change. This looks a lot like confidence and risk taking.
So using the three key type lenses has given me insights into talents I had that I was not aware of, so I could focus on these. In addition I could anticipate possible challenges to avoiding errors.
Reference Information:Turning Team Performance Inside Out Susan Nash Teamwork from the Inside Out Field Book Susan Nash and Courtney Bolin Be a Successful Consultant Susan Nash Understanding Yourself and Others: An introduction to Interaction Style 2.0 Linda V Berens