Tag Archives: Managing People

New insights for INTP brains

As a management trainer and INTP, I have devoured many MBTI books in my quest for helpful understandings of myself and others. The INTP by Dr A.J. Drenth, is the best book I have found for explaining and illuminating those mysterious processes that go on in an INTP’s head, in very precise ways that an INTP can really appreciate. It has helped me to clarify the mental functions and the dynamics between them.  Instead of being perplexed about the dynamics of dominant and secondary, I can now understand and track the patterns of my thinking and feeling and look out for the danger signs.

For example, this morning I was reading an article (not by Drenth) and I came across two terms that were clearly defined in relation to each other.  There was almost a ‘purr’ of pleasure from my dominant mental function (introverted Thinking) “ahh, that’s a really helpful distinction”.  Then in the next sentence, the author used a term without clearly defining it and I noticed a ‘hiss’ of distaste, “stop, that word is not defined properly”, my  introverted Thinking said, “I’ll have to go back and check my understanding of the term”.  To which, quick as a flash, my secondary function (extroverted iNtuition) piped up with “no worries, we can go check the original book, or the new one you downloaded last week, or we could go back and check that profile you did on the topic 10 years ago, or we could Google the latest research, or …”

At this point, “I” noticed what was happening and laughed.  “So this is how extraverted iNtuition operates, it keeps me looking at more and more possibilities, which seems really helpful, but I can’t get any work done”.  That insight was gold for me and gives “me” back the control – I can choose to follow the extraverted iNtuition trail of delicious ideas, or a can give the power back to the captain of the show, my dominant, introverted Thinking to say something along the lines of: “thanks for the offer I know it’s not perfectly clear, but the definition is obvious enough, so I will continue with the task at hand, becase we need to finish this before lunch time, but if we are stil interested we can have a look at the new book over lunch!”.

Drenth also hits the nail on the head regarding career angst: “Much to their dismay, INTPs don’t (normally) get paid merely for thinking, questioning, or experimenting. This leaves them with two basic options. The first is to work a day job for income and forgo commercializing their primary interests. The second option, which we will now discuss, is to develop marketable skills that can be used to enhance, market, or commoditize their work.”  E.g. write a blog or book.

Thanks AJ.

Retrench the role, respect the person

I’m working with a management group at present where there have been a number of retrenchments and we all agree there is no easy way to do it.  The key is to show respect for the person and their feelings and allow them to be shocked and hurt.  I’m not sure the value of explaining “why” the role can no longer exist, because the ‘why’ is only ever in the organisation’s interests.

It reminds me of the “bad” ole days when I was retrenched twice in two years.  The first was known well ahead of time, in fact they wanted me to go so they wouldn’t have to make a payout and I was too young and green to know my rights.

But the second was a complete shock.  I had worked hard on a merger only to be told the night before that there was no role for me in the new line up the next day.  Yes, he said kind words, and yes he explained the company’s position but ….. “its not fair” I wanted to yell, as I was shuffled off home with a cheque and told don’t come back tomorrow.

These days large organisations have outplacement services but for smaller organisations that often isn’t possible.

As a colleague or friend, or a great manager, the best thing you can do is to sit with your and their discomfort and just listen, not so solve, but so that the person feels heard and respected.