How Diverse Personalities Can Be Better Understood In Your Office

Whether you’re entering the workforce for the first time, looking to change careers, or in a leadership position, one of the most important factors to consider is the culture of your workplace. In fact, according to research from Deloitte, “94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.” It’s easy to understand why.

A positive workplace culture boosts morale, prevents burnout, decreases conflicts, and improves collaboration. It also keeps everyone engaged and inspired. As a result, productivity soars, and turnover is less likely to occur.

While there are several ways to build a more positive culture, it ultimately comes down to the personalities of the people within the office. Just take a moment to think about the people you’ve worked with. Did you ever have the honor of working with a micromanager, a bully, or a critic? How about someone who’s always negative or unable to control his emotions? I doubt you were effective in that role. Even worse, I bet you dreaded working with these types of individuals — meaning that showing up to work each day took real effort.

Understanding the various personality types within your organization is key to improving its culture. Better yet, it can make you a stronger teammate.

Recognizing Personality Types

I feel TypeFinder has a clear definition of what personality types are: “Personality typing is a framework designed to describe individuals according to their unique personality styles: their approach to managing energy, processing information, interacting with others, and organizing their lives.”

Personality typing can be traced back to the studies of psychologist Carl Jung. The theory of personality was later continued by Katharine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Myers. The goal of personality typing is to highlight people’s differences while showcasing their individual strengths and tendencies.

If you want to learn what your personality type is or have your co-workers join you in a typing exercise, there are more than enough personality tests available. The most well-known are Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, Big Five, DiSC, and StrengthsFinder. Some of these may charge you for an assessment, but many sites offer free options as well. Many offer team assessments to bring together the different types under one roof.

Will these assessments always be 100% accurate? No — in fact, some experts recommend that you consider the result you were given, as well as other high-scoring options, to determine which one most closely reflects your outlook and habits. Nonetheless, these assessments can concretely help you identify your and your teammates’ strengths, preferences, and behaviors. Knowing these things will help you better collaborate with others; if you’re a leader, this knowledge can assist in motivating and managing your team.

I would like to add one final note here: I suggest you don’t use personality testing when hiring. Besides prolonging the hiring process, some candidates may be able to “trick” the test to give the result they think you want. More concerning may be some legal concerns, such as violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Instead, you could have new hires take a personality test as part of the onboarding process, which is something I’ve done in the past.

Beyond onboarding, you could also take personality tests as a part of a career development effort or use them for a team-building activity. Our team, for example, took an Enneagram assessment before our biannual meeting and discussed the results and how we could help address each other’s needs.

Taking the test is just the first step. Here’s what you should do next to become a better and stronger teammate.

1. Develop your own self-awareness. 

I’ll be honest: It’s not always easy to admit and embrace your shortcomings. But self-awareness should be the first move you make when it comes to working with teams because it gives you a chance to know yourself better. If you can’t understand your own motivations, how can you possibly embrace others’?

For example, according to the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, my type is ENTP. This type is often referred to as the debater because we have a tendency to be curious and innovative. Not bad for an entrepreneur, right? The problem with ENTPs is that we often love playing devil’s advocate. As a result, others might perceive us as pushy, rude, or dismissive of their ideas.

Knowing this, I’ve had to work on my tone and body language to let others know that I’m not hating on their ideas or feedback. I just want to challenge them and their ideas so we can find the best solution possible.

2. Prioritize time with your teammates. 

Granted, taking a personality test won’t make you an expert. But it can let you know the most common types of personalities that exist within your organization. Those dominant tendencies and outlooks naturally shape your culture.

Of course, the only way you can match these personality types with your colleagues is by actually getting to know them. I get that time can be an issue, but it can also serve as an excuse. There are always opportunities to prioritize time with each of your teammates, like inviting a co-worker to lunch or having a quick chat during a break.

When you get to know your teammates better, you can identify their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their preferences. These one-on-one interactions also give you a chance to ask what their needs are and exchange feedback.

For example, if you have an employee who’s an introvert, don’t put her on the spot during a brainstorming session. A better alternative would be to conduct a brainwriting session so her voice can be heard while respecting her habits and preferences. It’s how you’ll get the best work out of her — and build the best camaraderie among your teammates.

3. Use individual strengths and preferences to your advantage — but don’t be afraid to shake things up. 

In school, English was not my forte. That meant I had to work my tail off in college to ensure I got a good grade. One way I achieved that was by working with my classmates who excelled in English, partnering with them on projects and studying with them before an essay-writing exam.

At the same time, I had no problem speaking in front of a crowd, which carried over nicely into my public speaking career. If one of my quieter writing buddies had to work on a group presentation, he would team up with me. He would structure the argument, based on our research, and I would present it to the class.

The same idea can be applied to the workplace. Whether you’re assigning tasks or collaborating on a project, people want to play to their strengths and preferences. Do you have a coder who works best at home? Grant him the autonomy to work from home as often as possible. Do you have a salesperson who loves talking to others? Find opportunities to let her spread her wings at conferences.

At the same time, shake things up to prevent getting in a rut. Consider rotating positions or asking your teammates to take on new responsibilities. It can help everyone develop new skills, show off previously hidden talents, and gain insight into the diversity of the entire team.

Understanding personality types isn’t a magic bullet, but it can help you discover more about yourself and your teammates. Better understanding your teammates’ preferences and motivations can strengthen your communication with them and help you avoid conflicts. Personality typing can ensure that a diverse group of people not only is productive and successful, but also respectful — and that’s exactly the culture you want.

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John Hall is the co-founder and president of Calendar, a scheduling and time management app. You can book him as a keynote speaker here and you can check out

Source: How Diverse Personalities Can Be Better Understood In Your Office

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Stop Telling Chronically Ill People to ‘Stay Positive’

Have you considered listing all the positive things happening in your life?” my therapist asked me.

I winced a bit at my therapist’s words. Not because I thought gratitude for the good in my life was a bad thing, but because it glossed over the complexities of all that I was feeling.I was talking to her about my chronic illnesses and the way it impacts my depression — and her response felt invalidating, to say the least.

She wasn’t the first person to suggest this to me — not even the first medical professional. But every time someone suggests positivity as a solution to my pain, it feels like a direct hit to my spirit.

Sitting in her office I began to question myself: Maybe I do need to be more positive about this? Maybe I shouldn’t be complaining about these things? Maybe it isn’t as bad as I think?

Maybe my attitude is making all this worse?

Positivity culture: Because it could be worse, right?

We live in a culture steeped in positivity.

Between memes spouting messages meant to uplift (“Your life only gets better when you get better!” “Negativity: Uninstalling”), online talks extolling the virtues of optimism, and countless self-help books to choose from, we are surrounded by the push to be positive.

We are emotional creatures, capable of experiencing a wide range of feelings. However, the emotions that are deemed preferable (or even acceptable) are far more limited.

Putting on a happy face and presenting a cheery disposition to the world — even when going through really tough stuff — is applauded. People who push through hard times with a smile are praised for their bravery and courage.

Conversely, people who express their feelings of frustration, sadness, depression, anger, or grief — all very normal parts of the human experience — are often met with comments of “it could be worse” or “maybe it would help to change your attitude about it.”

This positivity culture transfers over to assumptions about our health, too.

We’re told that if we have a good attitude, we will heal faster. Or, if we’re sick, it’s because of some negativity we put out into the world and we need to be more conscious of our energy.

It becomes our job, as sick people, to make ourselves well through our positivity, or at the very least to have a perpetually good attitude about the things we’re going through — even if that means hiding what we’re truly feeling.

I admit that I have bought into many of these ideas. I’ve read the books and learned about the secret to manifesting good into my life, to not to sweat the small stuff, and how to be a badass. I’ve attended lectures about visualizing all I want into existence and listened to podcasts about choosing happiness.

For the most part I see the good in things and people, look for the silver lining in unpleasant situations, and see the glass as half full. But, despite all that, I’m still sick.

I still have days where I feel most every emotion in the book except for the positive ones. And I need that to be okay.

Chronic illness can’t always be met with a smile

While positivity culture is intended to be uplifting and helpful, for those of us dealing with disabilities and chronic illness, it can be detrimental.

When I’m on day three of a flare-up — when I can’t do anything but cry and rock because the meds can’t touch the pain, when the noise of the clock in the next room feels excruciating, and the cat’s fur against my skin hurts — I find myself at a loss.

I’m grappling with both the symptoms of my chronic illnesses, as well as guilt and feelings of failure associated with the ways I’ve internalized the messages of positivity culture.

And in that way, people with chronic illnesses like mine just can’t win. In a culture that demands we face chronic illness inauthentically, we’re asked to deny our own humanity by concealing our pain with a “can-do” attitude and a smile.

Positivity culture can often be weaponized as a way of blaming people with chronic illnesses for their struggles, which many of us go on to internalize.

More times than I can count, I’ve questioned myself. Did I bring this on myself? Am I just having a bad outlook? If I’d meditated more, said more kind things to myself, or thought more positive thoughts, would I still be here in this bed right now?

When I then check my Facebook and a friend has posted a meme about the power of a positive attitude, or when I see my therapist and she tells me to list the good things in my life, these feelings of self-doubt and self-blame are just reinforced.

‘Not fit for human consumption’

Chronic illness is already a very isolating thing, with most people not understanding what you’re going through, and all the time spent in bed or homebound. And the truth is, positivity culture adds to the isolation of chronic illness, magnifying it.

I often worry that if I express the reality of what I’m going through — if I talk about being in pain, or if I say how frustrated I am at having to stay in bed — that I’ll be judged.

I’ve had others say to me before that “It’s no fun to talk to you when you’re always complaining about your health,” while still others have remarked that me and my illnesses were “too much to handle.”

On my worst days, I started to pull back from people. I’d keep quiet and not let anyone know what I was going through, except for those closest to me, like my partner and child.

Even to them, though, I’d jokingly say that I wasn’t “fit for human consumption,” trying to maintain some humor while also letting them know it may be best to just leave me alone.

Truthfully, I felt shame about the negative emotional state I was in. I’d internalized the messages of positivity culture. On days where my symptoms are especially severe, I don’t have the ability to put on a “happy face” or gloss over the things going on with me.

I learned to hide my anger, grief, and hopelessness. And I held onto the idea that my “negativity” made me a burden, instead of a human being.

We are allowed to be authentically ourselves

Last week, I was lying in bed in the early afternoon — lights off, curled up in a ball with tears quietly running down my face. I was hurting, and I was depressed about hurting, especially when I thought about being bed-bound on a day I’d had so much planned.

But there was a shift that happened for me, ever so subtle, when my partner walked in to check on me and asked me what I needed. They listened as I told them all the things I was feeling and held me as I cried.

When they left, I didn’t feel so alone, and even though I was still hurting and feeling low, it somehow felt more manageable.

That moment acted as an important reminder. The times when I tend to isolate are also the times that I actually need my loved ones around me the most — when what I want, more than anything, is to be able to be honest about how I’m really feeling.

Sometimes all I really want to do is have a good cry and complain to someone about how hard this is — someone to just sit with me and witness what I’m going through.

I don’t want to have to be positive, nor do I want someone to encourage me to change my attitude.

I just want to be able to express my full range of emotions, to be open and raw, and have that be totally okay.

I’m still working on slowly unravelling the messages that positivity culture has ingrained in me. I still have to consciously remind myself that it’s normal and perfectly okay to not be optimistic all the time.

What I’ve come to realize, though, is that I am my most healthy self — both physically and emotionally — when I give myself permission to feel the full spectrum of emotions, and surround myself with people who support me in that.

This culture of relentless positivity won’t change overnight. But it’s my hope that, the next time a therapist or a well-meaning friend asks me to look at the positive, I’ll find the courage to name what I need.

Because every one of us, especially when we’re struggling, deserves to have the full spectrum of our emotions and experiences witnessed — and that doesn’t make us a burden. That makes us human.

Angie Ebba

Angie Ebba is a queer disabled artist who teaches writing workshops and performs nationwide. Angie believes in the power of art, writing, and performance to help us gain a better understanding of ourselves, build community, and make change. You can find Angie on her website, her blog, or Facebook.


Source: Stop Telling Chronically Ill People to ‘Stay Positive’

13 Things Highly Successful People Do Not Waste Their Mental Energy On – Brianna Wiest


Highly successful people (regardless of the variety of ways one could define being “successful”) all seem to understand a few core principles. Chief among them is that it is not your time, but your energy, that is limited each day and therefore, needs to be carefully managed.

This is why you hear stories of extremely accomplished people with odd habits, like eating the same thing for lunch each day or wearing a minimal “uniform” to work. These individuals understand the psychological concept of decision fatigue, which is the way in which the quality of your decision-making capabilities deteriorates over time. Think of it like this: In the morning, your tank is at 100%. As you move through your day, you expend your energy bit by bit. You don’t want to waste it, and unfortunately, most people do.

Often, this happen through something called microdistractions, or issues that are so small that they don’t seem to threaten your stamina, but which are also pertinent enough that they actually exhaust you slowly. Highly successful people do not waste their mental energy on things they don’t need to. Here, some of the sneakiest culprits:

1. Fear of the least likely outcome.

Worrying, though referred to as a “maladaptive trait,” actually has an evolutionary connection to intelligence. This is why highly successful people are often more anxious by nature, Jeremy Coplan, lead author of a study published in Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience, explained to ABC News.

Be that as it is, to function well, you need to be able to discern which fears are worth responding to, and which are just your brain conjuring up the most extreme potential danger in order to “prepare” you to survive. This is an outdated, animalistic mechanism that does not help you in your day-to-day life. Highly successful people do not waste their energy being afraid of that which is least likely to occur

2. Other people’s melodramas.

Anyone can understand how easy it is to get caught up in the intrigue of what’s happening in other people’s lives. (NPR reports that there’s an evolutionary function to this as well, which is that gossip actually helps us predict who is a potential friend or foe.) Regardless, getting caught up to the point of worrying and/or obsessing about someone else’s life status can be paralyzing. Highly successful people prioritize their own wellbeing, and that very rarely includes immersing themselves in petty melodramas that they have no ability to resolve regardless.

3. Microdistractions.

Your push notifications alarm you every time your favorite author posts a new tweet. You don’t lay out your clothes or pack your bag the night before you have to leave for work, and so your first moments of the day are spent scrambling to be on time.

You check and answer emails four times within your first hour of the day. You take a phone call from your mom at 10:15 and it carries on until 11. You scroll mindlessly through your news feeds not to educate yourself on what’s happening on any given day, but as a manner of distracting yourself for a “break.”

It’s easy to see how quickly microdistractions can add up. Before you know it, it’s the afternoon, you feel exhausted and barely anything to show for it. Highly successful people don’t give their mental energy to anything that is not going to have a significant impact on their lives in the long-term. They designate specific hours and times to solely focusing on their most crucial tasks, and then prioritize from there.

4. Ruminating, but not taking action.

The moment when reflecting becomes ruminating is when the intent to act dissolves in place of needlessly replaying certain scenarios or issues through your mind again and again.

Highly successful people are usually very self-aware, or at least try to be. This means that they spend a lot of time reviewing their behaviors and interactions, and evaluating how they can improve. However, they do not waste their mental energy just thinking about what went wrong and not actively changing what they need to make the correction.

5. Getting it “right” the first time.

Highly successful people are often masters of their crafts and leaders in their fields. Their work comes across as innovative, unprecedented, and very detail-oriented. What you might not realize is that it often doesn’t begin that way. People who aspire to be successful often scare themselves into beginning their work just because their first attempts may not compare to someone else’s final product. However, highly successful people do not worry about getting it perfect, they worry about just showing up and beginning. Once the fear of being “wrong” is out of the way, it opens a portal to be more creative and productive. There’s always time to improve later.

6. The opinion of anyone they wouldn’t want to switch places with.

Highly successful people are very aware of the impact that their social circles have on the quality of their lives. They value their mentors, partners and teachers. However, they do not give any weight to the opinions of anyone they would not want to switch places with. In the same manner, they also do not worry about what those people potentially think of them.

7. Feeling guilty about taking time for themselves.

Established people understand that success is a holistic thing. You aren’t able to perform your best if you’re tired, undernourished, or experiencing any other kind of extreme imbalance in your life.

That’s why it’s common to see highly successful people as committed to relaxation and wellness as they are work and productivity. They do not spend time guilting themselves over everything they could have gotten done over a three day weekend, or why they shouldn’t take time off if they really need it.

8. Justifying their place in life.

Often, committing to any kind of work that’s atypical incurs the questions and, at times, judgments of those who either don’t believe in your mission or are skeptical of its future success. However, consistently feeling the need to explain or justify your place in life is not only a tireless pursuit, it’s pointless. You are never going to earn the approval of people who don’t want to give it, and highly successful people understand that.

9. Senseless worrying and unchecked thought patterns.

One of the biggest ways that people rob themselves of their own energy is by worrying. Worrying is the practice of preparing for the worst possible outcome, and then believing it is not only possible, but most likely.

However, worrying does not make you more prepared to cope with life’s difficult moments, it makes you more inclined to actually create your fears. If you were to write down a list of everything you’ve ever worried about in life, you’d find that 99.9% of it was groundless, and didn’t “come true.”

If you were also to make a list of everything you didn’t worry about in life, you’d discover that worrying actually didn’t change the outcome of anything, it only zapped up your energy in the present. And if anything, worrying only made things more difficult and skewed and less enjoyable. It is not productive, and highly successful people train themselves to focus on anything else.

11. Trying to be liked by everyone.

Another striking trait of highly successful people is that they aren’t usually people pleasers. Their worst fear isn’t to be disliked by others, because they understand that they are going to be disliked by some people regardless of what they do in life. Instead, you could say that their real fear is actually not living the way they want and need to be out of fear that it would prevent them from “earning” the love and admiration they are desperate for.

12. Too much positive thinking.

It’s obvious that nobody achieves a great deal of success without overcoming their patterns of negative thinking. What’s less obvious is that highly successful people also don’t engage in an overabundance of positive thinking, as in excess it can often be subjective, skewed, and at times, distracting. Worse, too much positive thinking actually sets them up for failure, or disappointment. Instead, highly successful people master the power of neutral thinking, in which they aren’t trying to filter life to be more or less than what it is.

13. Anything they don’t deem to have long-term value. 

Highly successful people understand that what they put their energy into grows. If they want their worries to grow, they focus on them. If they want their success to grow, they focus on that instead. They are also very focused on the long-term, and therefore, highly successful people do not worry about that which they don’t deem to have value, even if it is something society tells them they should care about. These people are outliers, individualists, and most of all, free thinkers. They do not let their lives be dictated by that which the rest of the world is bogged down by.

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