Sunday Morning Sermon - Sep 22 2013
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. One of the most interesting parts of this test is the Feeling 'F' versus Thinking 'T' scale. This scale rates how you make decisions in your life and within the world around you. In other words, when you are making decisions, do you consider facts more than feelings?
Those who rate very highly on the 'T' scale often find it difficult to empathize with others because their decisions are based primarily on rational facts. Thus, at work they can struggle in management positions when it comes to addressing their staff, as their (at times) tactless and abrupt manner often offends. They tend to find it very difficult to sugar coat issues and to truly empathize with emotional problems they cannot relate to. These individuals are unfortunately often completely oblivious to their impact on the health and well being of their staff.
In contrast, this Myers-Briggs scale is particularly interesting when you consider those who rate highly on the feeling scale. Often people who are strong 'F's on the scale assume they are very considerate and kind towards others. However, these very people can be completely unaware of their negative behavior towards other considerate and kind individuals. Because they base their behavior so strongly on feelings, they can fall into the trap of assuming these nice people will simply accept their rudeness, disrespect, lateness and so on. A classic example of this is when they choose to make an effort to please those they are not confident around and thus ignore, pay little attention towards, and neglect friends, colleagues and associates who they assume will just always be there for them. Usually, by the time they realize this person has had enough, the relationship has been tarnished beyond repair.
The most interesting aspect of this type of behavior is that these very individuals are often the first to complain about being mistreated by others (usually by those very people they have tried so desperately to impress). The lesson for those bearing the brunt of this negative behavior is to be assertive, to try to make the 'F' people aware of their behavior and stop it before it completely tarnishes the relationship.
In work situations this happens all the time. Senior Managers who are not aware of, or do not consider, the impact of their decisions on their staff are often left wondering why their staff are not loyal, have a high turnover, or are no longer willing to work overtime to impress tho boss! When treated in a disrespectful manner, staff will eventually become disheartened and lose interest when treated with disrespect.
The moral here is that if you want positive relationships with the people you really care about in life to last - you have to make an effort and give these people the respect they deserve. Don't assume you can return their calls when you feel like it (eg after you've spoken to all the people you're trying to impress). Don't turn up late to social events without advising them or making up a lame excuse that you bumped into an old friend on the way. Don't repeatedly cancel at the last minute because something better came along or you've just lost interest. Don't assume you can get away with making little or no effort and they will always be there.
Life is all about balance and give and take. You get what you put in, so be mindful of those who perhaps you have been taking for granted and take this chance to tend to this relationship more closely.