Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Situational Awareness, or the ability to pay attention

Paying attention is something we can control. It is actually an awareness skill, according to Deepak Chopra. According to him paying attention is a form of total engagement with the situation and lists four steps that are involved:

  • Impartial observation – Look and listen with your senses
  • Analysis – Look and listen with your mind
  • Feeling – Look and listen with your heart
  • Meditation or Incubation – Look and listen with your soul

Developing awareness on all four levels strengthens your potential for success.

I can’t say that I look at this the same way Dr Chopra does but these 4 steps still resonated with me and made connections to what we talk about when we discuss situational awareness.  It is as simple maybe as paying attention to what is going on around us.  Then without really digging into the deeper meanings of his list, I discovered my own meanings and connections.  I guess that is a part of who I naturally am.  For me it connects to the 4 temperaments inside us all like this. 

Impartial observation - Look and listen with your senses – Artisans/Improvisers are all about the details and using their senses to be in the moment.  Using this temperament is about seeing things as they are, while feeling alive through their five senses.  Those with a preference for the Artisan/Improviser temperament tend to be very observant to their surroundings while recognizing people’s motives, making them very good negotiators.   Stress comes from being forced into a narrowly specific way of operating, especially if they are not a part of the solution and not given free rein to meet the standards in their own manner.

Analysis - Look and listen with your mind – is very much at the root of the Rational’s/Theorist’s temperament style. Using this temperament allows for precision and competence in everything they do.  Their need for knowledge usually assures that they are always looking for more information, but can get stressed if they feel that they are not competent in the things they do for whatever reason. This is even more of an issue if there are others around that see this happen or call them out.       

Feeling - Look and listen with your heart – this is the realm of the Idealist/Catalyst. These are the people persons. Decisions will always include concern for the others on the team.  Are they OK with the decision, are they a part of the decision, are they going to be affected by the decision. The idealist is a natural mediator or arbitrator, being able to see both sides of a conflict with a natural empathy.  It is that same heart that drives the idealist to take on causes that match their own values.  Stress is significantly increased when others could possibly be affected or harmed in some negative way especially if it is because of the idealist’s decision. 

Meditation - Look and listen with your soul – a good decision for a Guardian/Stabilizer can be said to follow this simple (common sense) rule.  If it is legal, moral and ethical it is a good decision. This is more than a mantra, it is something that is deep down at the core.  Guardians seem to be natural leaders and will typically work for the good of the group or organization. Decisions however, often come without consulting with others because they already know that they make good decisions using objective and logical reasoning. Stability being their strength, in an organization they can become stressed when change is introduced and the Guardian is not given a good explanation why or it does not seem to meet the common sense rule.  They can also be stressed when others on their team do not follow what they know objectively to be right or rules are broken or severely stretched. 

This does not mean that we have to act in one specific way.  I talk all the time about the fact that we are all of these temperaments.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  We naturally prefer some over the others and when we focus on our most natural or preferred ways of doing things we can often overlook a better way if there is one. We should work to be comfortable being uncomfortable.  When we need to act a different way, a way that may not be most natural for us, we should be able to get out of our own comfort zone, or most comfortable temperament and switch to a more appropriate way of handling the situation. What this means to leadership can be significant as we look at why one person or another may not make what the leader feels is a natural decision. Instead they don’t seem to recognize what others see as obvious.  Our natural tendencies may draw our attention to decisions that only meet one or two of the four techniques for paying attention and making good decisions. 

What do you think?



Saturday, February 16, 2013

Continuation of Leaders in Military and Business

The next question is logically what do the other personality types provide to an organization if the xSTJ's tend to be the ones that succeed the most.  Or at least they are the ones that stay in business or the military and move up.  As the previous blog discussed (leaders-in-military-and-business-same.html) it would seem that the personality types, ISTJ and ESTJ have an advantage in business and the military that allows them to do better and move toward the higher ranks in both business and military organizations at a faster rate than other personality types.  As I stated in that post the dominant and auxiliary functions for these two types is Introverted Sensing (Si) and Extraverted Thinking (Te). 

In fact the functions in order for ISTJ and ESTJ are shown in the table to the left and are compared to my own type code INFP.  I often read about people comparing personality types strictly by way of the 4 letter code.  This is how it was introduced to me also.  While there is some validity and I imagine some people have been helped by this comparison it is just too simplistic and I do not believe it is the way the MBTI was originally meant to be used.  The MBTI was supposed to get us to Jung's theory.  When we look at the Jungian functions in their archetypal positions for both xSTJ's and compare them to my personality type of INFP you can see some striking comparisons that may be overlooked when comparing the 4 letters. As you can see I share my 4 conscious functions with the xSTJ's.  This is sometimes called complementary type codes and is  OVERLOOKED when you compare just the four letter codes, and probably why I was told during my first introduction to type (and also later in my career) that I probably will never really be able to communicate well with a majority of Army officers.

When I was a junior officer in the Army there came a time when I had to specifically decide to get out of my comfort zone and make some drastic changes in how I preferred to do things.  This was more of a survival instinct since I knew nothing of personality type at the time.  Later after becoming certified in the MBTI I looked back at some of these decisions and realized that what I had done was to bring my tertiary and inferior functions to the foreground in support of my dominant and auxiliary.  I discovered that providing a well organized, logical presentation allowed me to present things to senior officers that supported my values but talked their talk.  That is I was getting better at talking the language of Te to support my dominant Fi values.  I will admit that in my early days of getting out of my comfort zone I was not always successful.  OK I stumbled a lot. I think I spent a lot of time trying to guess at what I needed to do next.  I did not have the knowledge of type that I have now or even a hint of this theory. 

So how do others survive in this xSTJ world?  Mainly by drawing on their other functions to provide the same thing the rest of the community are looking for.  Everyone of us has all 8 functions within us and it is the ability to access our lesser trusted functions that allow everyone to go beyond their initial potential.  Learning to access this potential is called development.  We do not have to stay stagnant.  I have seen many times someone who has the functions and abilities desired in a specific industry as their dominant function.  More often than I care to remember I saw them do well as junior employees because they naturally do and say the things that get them noticed and make them successful.  As they progress they may continue to do well but struggle with changing conditions or the need to be more well rounded.  On the other hand the individual who was forced out of his or her comfort zone early in their career in order to survive, and continues to develop their secondary skills, may hold an advantage due to the ability to now bring to bear not only their lesser trusted functions which they used to keep pace with their cohorts, but their more trusted functions at times when they may be needed.  This developed flexibility could easily mean the difference between individuals selected to higher levels of responsibility.  These individuals can also provide their bosses unique insights they may not get from others especially when the boss understands the need for well rounded employees. 

So who is a better hire?  Neither or both, the hiring / promotion systems need to look at abilities and how well the employee is able to take on different and more varied responsibilities at higher levels. How do they deal with change, how do they deal with people and if they are expected to lead then how well do they take care of their people.   


Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Look at Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs using Function-Attitudes

I was watching some reruns of NCIS lately that I happen to miss and in a few episodes of TV's NCIS there was a character named Samantha Ryan, a Naval psychologist, played by Jamie Lee Curtis. At the end of one episode she called Gibbs an introverted intuitive feeler.  This is a term used by Carl Jung when talking about one of his personality types, the MBTI type code that corresponds with this Jungian type is INFJ.

His type code as function attitudes breaks down to Ni, Fe, Ti, Se, Ne, Fi, Te, Si

Ni is shown through Gibbs gut feelings.  In most of the episodes Tony or someone else refers to Gibb's gut feeling as the reason they need to continue searching.  Or they need to look for a specific person.  But it is this "sixth sense" that always works for him.   He uses this as his fall back, his hero and has learned over the years to trust in it when the facts don't always support it.  Through association his team has learned they can trust it also even when there is no evidence. 

His good parent is Fe.  Jethro does not demonstrate Fe as you might expect from someone who has it as his hero.  Instead as his good parent his concern for his team takes on a parental look.  He will do anything to protect his team and others.  He always puts others first.  His relationship with Abby is a great example of Fe.  Always bringing her supersized CAFPOWs and saying the right things to her, his simple kiss on the forehead as a thank you.  All speak to his Fe coming out in a very parent like manner.  Even his slaps on the back of the head when a member of his team does or says something stupid.  the good parent chastises but in a way that the team can learn from and even emulate when he is not there. 

As his tertiary he uses Ti.  Jethro's internal order comes out in the show as his set of rules that his team learns usually by breaking one of them.  These rules support his good parent by protecting his team.  We also see this function attitude as his eternal child when he does his famous head slap.  Kind of childish but it gets his point across.  I added the head slap to the good parent above but I think it could be used here also. 

His inferior function is Se.  Supporting his hero is his anima/animus using his senses as a marine sniper and in his building his sailboats by hand.  His senses allow him to pick up on small details that are translated by his Ni into conclusions.  These conclusions often require additional proof which is what the team spends most of the show trying to find in order to convict.  I also see the possibility that through this function he is able to access his unconscious functions.  When he works on his sailboat he allows for other thoughts, possibilities and functions that are often times considered more negative, he accesses through self-reflection and the detail work of building by hand. 

I have to wonder if the writer used Jungian psychology to originally develop Jethro Gibbs and only now gave us a hint of this or maybe modeled him after someone he knew.  Whatever the case when I heard Dr Ryan call Gibbs an introverted intuitive feeler I was able to see it instantly using Type dynamics and function attitudes. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Leaders in Military and Business the Same?

Did you know?

  • That of the 16 different personality types identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ® or MBTI® over 45% of Army Reserve leaders reported type was either ISTJ or ESTJ (xSTJ) compared to 24% for the national sample*. 
  • Male Army Reserve Leaders selected xSTJ 47% of the time and female Army Reserve Leaders 37% of the time**.
  • In the national representative sample, male small business leaders selected xSTJ 49% and female small business owners identified with one of these two types 37% of the time according to the national representative sample. 

On The other hand...

  • The least represented personality types in Army Reserve leadership are ISFP and ESFP (xSFP) with only 2.3% compared to the nation representative sample of almost 18% published in 1998 in the MBTI manual. (That number changed to 3.4% in the MBTI manual supplement published in 2009)
  • Male Army Reserve leaders are at 2.0% and Females Army Reserve leaders at almost 2.8%
  • Male and female small business owners in the national representative sample reported xSFP at 4.3% and 4.9% respectively

Before I retired from the Army at the end of 2006 I was fortunate enough to end my career as the chief of leadership training for the Army Reserve Readiness Training Command.  From this position and as the chief instructor for the battalion and brigade pre-command course I had the privilege to bring personality type to senior leaders of the Army Reserve.  Now that I am retired and working with business leaders I looked back and discovered this similarity.  It really should not have surprised me since what makes these leaders successful in the Army Reserve also makes them successful in their civilian jobs also. 

ISTJ and ESTJ share their dominant and auxiliary function - archetypes (FA) - extraverted Thinking (Te) and introverted Sensing (Si).  I call these two FA's the military functions.  This is nothing more than my name for them based on my experiences.  Let me explain.  Introverted Sensing (Si)  is all about knowing where they have been and looking at missions knowing what has worked before as they develop their current plans.  This is especially important and is the reason why there is an after action report after every mission.  It also explains why so many military leaders seem to know history well.  It is also well documented that commanders that fail often fail because they do not remember their history of the area, or the enemy unit or maybe even their own failures in the past.  Likewise positive mission results often come by understanding what has worked well in the past. 

Extraverted Thinking (Te) to the military leader is all about making a logical decision justified by defensible facts.  Mission planning (especially for the Army leader) includes the use of the 5 paragraph operations order, and the military decision making process.  Well developed tools for ensuring logical decisions are made.  Although Te is considered not very flexible, (This is the function that many people refer to when they discuss the "J" in the type code as not being very flexible.  And yet the Army leader through these tools develops additional plans called "Branches and sequels".  Again based on past experience, the current situation and knowledge of the enemy, the Army planners and leaders create branches off the primary plan to deal with as many possibilities as they can work out.  Sequels deal with changes due to completion of the current mission and movement to a new mission.  This is the planned flexibility built into operations orders that is different than the unplanned flexibility often exemplified by those with a preference for perceiving functions, the "P" at the end of the type code. 

I see much of the same type of planning in business plans and business leaders.  Logical decisions made after evaluating facts and past experiences, using the strengths of Te and Si.  While the tools in business may be different than those in the Army both worlds are designed to win with minimal loss of assets. 
The significance of the least representative type codes as shown above as well as the other codes is the value brought to a fairly biased community of leaders.    I will talk more about this in my next post.  Thanks for reading. 

* Briggs-Myers, I., McCaulley, M.H., Quenk, N.L., & Hammer, A.L. (2003).

MBTI manual: A guide to the development and use of the Myers-Briggs type indicator (3rd ed.). Palo Alto, California: CPP, Inc.
**Cerney, K. (2008). Unpublished data collected from several leadership classes between 2004 and 2008, US Army Reserve Readiness Training Command, Fort McCoy, WI

Monday, March 21, 2011

Common Sense is a learned trait using both Sensing and iNtuition functions

I have heard it said that common sense is not common. I have also used the concept of the "common sense test" many times as an officer and leader in the US Army. So I started thinking lately about common sense and which Jungian function (or functions) tend to be engaged in order to help an individual to use or access their common sense. To get started I needed a definition of common sense. So doing what my daughter taught me to do, I turned to the internet for answers, I got a lot more than I was looking for but it was so enlightening here are some of the answers that seemed most useful to my thoughts.

Mirriam Webster's online dictionary says simply -
"sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts" - Dictionary - n. Sound judgment not based on specialized knowledge; native good judgment. - Thesaurus - noun, The ability to make sensible decisions: judgment, sense, wisdom. Informal gumption, horse sense.

From Wikipedia
Common sense (or, when used attributively as an adjective, commonsense, common-sense, or commonsensical), based on a strict construction of the term, consists of what people in common would agree on: that which they "sense" as their common natural understanding. Some people (such as the authors of Merriam-Webster Online) use the phrase to refer to beliefs or propositions that — in their opinion — most people would consider prudent and of sound judgment, without reliance on esoteric knowledge or study or research, but based upon what they see as knowledge held by people "in common". Thus "common sense" (in this view) equates to the knowledge and experience which most people allegedly have, or which the person using the term believes that they do or should have.

The Encyclopedia Britannica on line states -
18th- and early 19th-century Scottish school of Thomas Reid, Adam Ferguson, Dugald Stewart, and others, who held that in the actual perception of the average, unsophisticated man, sensations are not mere ideas or subjective impressions but carry with them the belief in corresponding qualities as belonging to external objects. Such beliefs, Reid insisted, “belong to the common sense and reason of mankind”; and in matters of common sense “the learned and the unlearned, the philosopher and the day-labourer, are upon a level.”

"Common sense is the measure of the possible; it is composed of experience and prevision; it is calculation applied to life." - Henri Frederic Amiel
"Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done." - Josh Billings
"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18."-- Albert Einstein

I like the two definitions provided here from Webster's online dictionary and also from dictionary. Both are saying basically the same thing. That common sense is simple, without special knowledge and that it is a perception of what is going on. They also address the other half of the Jungian functions in that this common sense perception leads to a judgment or decision maybe even an action on the part of the person that acts on that common sense.
My desire in this post is not to look at the action or decision but instead focusing where common sense comes from or how we gain it and learn to use it. In the next post I will discuss the judgment or decision making side of common sense.
I was talking to several others who are considered experts in personality type theory about common sense. The consensus as well as the definitions from above seem to point to common sense as a skill usually associated with Sensing and most likely Extroverted Sensing. Several definitions talk about common sense being sensorial or of the senses. This would then seem a correct assumption. For my own part I do not think it is that easy to define. I also do not think that common sense is something exclusively associated with the sensing functions.
I tend to hold to the idea that common sense is a learned behavior. It is not something that we are born with. OK, having said that, I do think the ability to access your common sense may be the aspect that we come by naturally. For instance,I know individuals with similar backgrounds and personality, but while one seems to be able to access their common sense, the other does not seem to have any common sense what so ever. If common sense is learned then we are talking about perceiving functions of which sensing is at least half the story. The other half of the perceiving functions is iNtuition which I believe also contributes to common sense.
Intuition, by its very nature, allows the individual using those functions (Extroverted and Introverted iNtuition or Ne/Ni) to see connections, patterns, ideas far quicker than through the use of the sensing functions. This would seems to allow common sense to be revealed even when that individual may never have attempted or learned something before that moment. This lends credence to the idea that this is knowledge that is shared or may never have been learned.
An example in my life: in 1996 I left active duty and got a job in northern Michigan managing a horse ranch that did trail rides and boarded other horses. While I had grown up working on and around farms, worked with my father in his handyman business, bailed vast quantities of hay, and had a degree in biology with a great interest in large animals, I had never in my life work directly with horses, fixed a fence, or driven a tractor that had a bucket loader and a manure spreader that I was expected to use almost daily. It was my handyman skills from working with my dad, my tractor skills from working for Green Giant as a teen, and my general knowledge of animals that gave me the common sense I needed to succeed that summer. I was able to see connections from what I had learned years before to what I was doing in the present. While I drew upon memories and experiences from year before that could be attributed to introverted Sensing (Si), these were not memories directly since most of what I was actually doing was very new to me. I was pulling up memories of skills learned long ago (Si) and then making connections, seeing patterns and similarities through the use of Intuition (probably Extroverted iNtuition, Ne).

In other words, my COMMON SENSE was directing me to approach and accomplish my new tasks in a way that was both effective in getting the current job done and allowing me to learn completely new skills without guidance. I was learning without someone teaching me simply because I was able to connect something similar that I had already learned, to what it was I was doing at that moment. This is what I would call gaining common sense. It is a combination of the Sensing functions enhanced by Intuitive functions and is another example of why we should be careful of labels like "sensors or intuitors, Feelers or Thinkers" as some might do because of a letter in their personality type.

I have been working with John Beebe's 8 mental functions and archetypes for several years now and despite their complexity to explain at times, they remain, for me, the absolute best model for discussing Jungian personality type. Before I go any further I want everyone to understand that I am not blogging like this merely to sound philosophical. If you cannot get something from this series of posts on common sense that you can apply to your own life then it is probably not worth your time. What I will share I have already looked at from my personal perspective and it seems to be the most effective model to talk about situations that I personally have been through. Whether you like what you read here or not, it is perfectly alright for you to disagree with me if you wish. New posts coming soon.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stereo Typing using Personality Type - or Why do we Label Ourselves?

When I was doing some work with a high school class one of the students was very vocal about the fact that she did not like the idea of labeling ourselves. She was referring to the fact that we were working toward finding their "Best-Fit" personality type code. As most of you know this four letter code was developed for the well known MBTI® or Meyers Briggs Type Indicator®.
After I had spent the first day with them, she was much more at ease because I showed her how I get away from the labeling as fast as possible and moved on to the theory. The theory showed how having a basic idea of peoples personality could help us understand how we interact. I also offered to her the ability to challenge what I was telling her. I told her that as we look to understand how we interact we interact with each other, if it ever sounded like I was putting labels on someone she should call me on it.
This is something that I have tried to deal with ever since I have become aware of my own Type preferences. I too have felt that labeling someone with their type code is (for lack of a better term) wrong. Some examples - The Baltimore APT international convention 2 years ago was my first taste of the type community other than what I was taught. It was an eye opening experience. When I registered for the conference I did not include my type preferences so when I arrived I discovered that they were not on name tag like they were for most everyone else. Very quickly I noticed that not only did people look at my nametag to get my name but more importantly they were looking to see what my type was. Since I did not have my preferences displayed several people asked me why and I simply said I did not want people assuming something about me that may or may not be true. This is what that young high school student was having a problem with also.
Near the end of my first day in Baltimore I had my first conversation with someone who, when I finally told her my type, she could not believe it based on what I was telling her about my military career. What she told me rocked me back on my heals since she claimed to have been using the MBTI for 20 plus years and yet her statement told me that she did not understand it. She told me that if I was a helicopter pilot and spent 28 years in the Army there is no way that I could have the type code that I claimed. A couple of days later when discussing again why I did not put my type preference on my name tag, a gentleman with years of experience said virtually the same thing and then when I added that I was an instructor pilot he got pretty adamant that I was not the type that I claimed.
Why are we as "type practitioners" so hooked on four letters. We explain that we should never label or "pigeon-hole" anyone and yet that is all we seem to be able to do. We are told and we tell our customers and clients that we should never use type as an excuse. And yet every speaker at the Dallas APTi convention, this past fall, had their type preferences posted and almost all of the big speakers and even those introducing them, began their speech with some comment about their own type and why some other type in the audience may or may not like something they say or do. They were making an excuse for them self and using a label to do it!
Type is a great tool for understanding but one thing I have figured out more than anything else about using type is that we are working with people. And people will always find ways to prove you wrong. We may be able to put them in general categories but despite our best efforts, labels will never fit perfect, and often times they do not seem to fit at all.
So why do we label then? This is pretty simple really. When discussing communications issues, differences in decision making processes, conflicts, team dynamics and so much more, we need to start at a point where we can look for common ground. Without common ground you might as well be arguing which football team will go to the world series, what flavor of ice cream makes the best concrete or what size knitting needles should I crotchet a leather baby blanket. It won't make sense.
Our type preference code is a starting point only. It gives us a common starting point to discuss our differences so that we can better understand them. Do not jump to any conclusion about what to expect from this individual because you run the risk of being wrong and as type practitioners we need to always remember that the individual is the only one that can put that label on themselves and then it is only a best fit. That individual also has the capability of stepping outside the stereotype at anytime and as much as they like, or need, to be who they are or who they want to be to accomplish their goals.
We are talking about people and people will never fit perfectly into any kind of category.
When I get the energy I will continue this discussion comparing type dynamics to type codes.

Friday, April 3, 2009

How Reported type can be misleading, Use Best-Fit instead.

I recently found a copy of my Step 2 MBTI report that I received when I became qualified in the MBTI. I was very surprised to see how far it was wrong. This particular report was for an INTJ, while as you can see at the bottom of this blog I feel that my best fit type is INFP. It was through using the eight functions that I truly discovered how easily that can happen. When you look at it from the dichotomous, either/or, perspective I agree with the Introversion, and iNtuition. But obviously I do not agree that Thinking and Judging as my other two choices.

Looking through the lens of type dynamics I understand that my preference for Extraverted iNtuition (Ne) which is my auxiliary function can often come out as dominant since in certain circumstances where I am in charge or teaching a class or working with others, being my preferred extraverted function it seems to take over when others are around, or "how I orient to the outside world". I have also discovered that while I orient to others through this extraverted function, I allow this to happen as long as my true dominant, intraverted Feeling (Fi), feels safe and my values are not being compromised. I often joke that in my house I am in charge and my wife allows me to be. In truth because I try to treat our relationship in that way, we have had some rocky times but overall it has been a great 26 years. Fi in effect is allowing Ne to be in charge, and Ne being the good parent will try to remain faithful to the desires of Fi. Just like I remain faithful to the desires of my wife.

Now, looking at the T and J and using type dynamics, the T and J together tells me that in the INTJ type code the preferred T is extraverted Thinking (Te). Using Type dynamics again I know (and personally agree) that my fourth or inferior function is Te. According to Beebe, the inferior supports the dominant function like the spine supports the body with the dominant the head and the inferior the feet. With that analogy in mind, I might say that Te is the protector of my Fi value system. Like with Ne above it remains hidden behind the extraverted Thinking so that when I am not willing to share my values, or through experience I know that my values are not going to win an argument, I switch to Te to provide a logically supported reason that meets the needs of my values that I then do not have to share.

Te is the epitomy of what makes the J stand out over the P in the J-P dimension, Logical decision making, using lists and tools to demonstrate a decision and remain organized. At the time I took that instrument I was the senior instructor for a senior level Army Reserve course and was tasked to re-develop the entire course. At the time I was up to my eyeballs in organization, lists of tasks, and reporting to several very senior leaders on its progress. Logical decisionmaking is what the Army is all about and I learned to do it well. So it is no surprise that I was probably reflecting what turns out to be a very comfortable function for me and it showed in the instrument that day.

For this reason more than any other, using best fit type and allowing the person to decide without influence from the practitioner as to their preferred best-fit type code is so important in helping that person understand themselves. It truly was for me.

What do you think?


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Confusion about these positions

Lately there has been some confusion about the numbering of the 8 functions and what these positions are all about. Often times people feel that this number indicates a hierarchy, 1 then 2 then 3 and so on. While there is some sense of that and looking in a very simplistic way you can use it that way, these 8 functions are so much more, especially when you look at them as below, in their archetypal positions.

Having started out this way I will tell you that in a very real sense, the 1st and 2nd position, or your Hero and Good Parent Archetypal functions are usually the most developed functions of the group. I also find that the 3rd and 4th are often times the next most developed. I do not believe this is due to a time frame of development as some say (although time and experience plays a role in this). Instead it is simply that these functions tend to reside in the conscious mind of an individual and therefore these individuals will use them to their advantage more than some of the others but not as often as they may use their Hero or Good parent functions. There is a comfort level here that comes into play in all these functions and that comfort level more than anything else I have come to believe will tell us which functions we are able to work in with some enjoyment.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fi in the 1st (Hero) Position

Introverted Feeling (Fi) for me was the most confusing function to figure out on my own. This was also the function that when finally explained to me in detail made my life “make sense”. It is this function that often times remains hidden behind something else and yet it is this function that truly makes me who I am. It is also this function that is so difficult to explain because I believe that more than any other function this one is the most difficult to talk about. This function is all about my core values. Another way to think about Fi and how I use it comes from Popeye, “I am what I am.” To me this makes absolute sense and I never understood why people had such a hard time understanding me. I thought my values were plain to see since I did not think that I hid them. Unfortunately this was really not the case. It was not until I understood more about this function and its place in my life that I started to understand why I am such an enigma to some. I discovered that Introverted Feeling likes to remain hidden (or more precisely protected) behind other functions so what I tend to show others is something else completely. This usually for me consists of my auxiliary (good parent) function Extraverted iNtuition or my tertiary (animus) function Extraverted Thinking.

Dr Beebe describes this function with the term “evaluating”. Fi is like a filter through which decisions are made. When using Fi everything is evaluated through the lens of the values, ethics, and principles of the individual. I often say to people when I teach leadership “if the decision is legal, moral and ethical it is probably a good decision”. If those values are met in the decision then the decision can go forward. But if in the process of evaluating the decision the values of the individual are compromised then the decision becomes a stumbling block. For me with this function in my hero archetypal position this can literally be a wall that is insurmountable. Or more precisely this compromising of my values and principles can be the line in the sand that I WILL NOT CROSS.

When growing up I discovered that once in a great while there was a point in a discussion or argument that I could become exceedingly angry and throughout my life and especially as an adult I fought often with myself to not allow this point to be reached. I was literally afraid of my anger. When I would get to this line in the sand, more often than not, I would literally shut down, walk away, go to my office, or get away from the person and internalize the fight where I could control it and manage my anger. I made it a point to never confront the individual until I had a nights sleep if I was able to do so. This allowed me to come back under control and actually change how I presented my case and almost always from a different function. Typically the new argument would come from the logic of Extraverted Thinking or the multiple possibilities of Extraverted iNtuition to get the individual to see my point. Arguing from the Fi function doesn’t work very often and leaves me vulnerable. I think that “Falling on one’s sword” with your boss or associates is a decidedly Fi concept.

On the other hand when in charge of an organization I now feel that it was my Introverted Feeling that allowed me to be successful. I believe that this was due to me ability to see that others did and thought differently than I and that was OK with me. To expect everyone to have the same values and thus believe exactly the same as I is a ludicrous concept as we are all individuals. Therefore for an organization to succeed we all have to contribute in our own way and yet within the structure of the organization. Balancing these two needs is done through the climate or culture that is inherent in any organization. The Army called this a Command Climate. A climate or culture that meets the needs of the leader as well as all the others is one of the most powerful team building tools available.

In school the climate that is set by the teacher in the classroom is important for students to feel that they can succeed in the classroom. How do you feel the climate is in your classroom? Which classrooms do you feel most students are given the ability to succeed in? I strongly feel this is also the function that protects an individual from peer pressure. Having strong values, which you are not willing to compromise, provides protection from the need to fit in. It certainly did for me. Have your values protected you from peer pressure? Was it easy? Share an example if you are willing?