December 21, 2014

The Nature of Introverted Feeling: A Sword Planted Firmly in the Ground

The introverted feeling function seems to be a collection of strong values and convictions rather than a soft, fluffy sort of function

The introverted feeling function seems to be a collection of strong values and convictions rather than a soft, fluffy sort of function

How does introverted feeling actually present itself?  Is it strong?  Fluffy and accommodating?  What do you think of when you imagine someone who prefers introverted feeling?

Last night, I was Skyping with my friend and colleague, Sue Blair,  about the nature of introverted feeling.  According to Jungian theory, individuals who are INFP and ISFP use introverted feeling as a dominant cognitive function and individuals who are ENFP and ESFP use it as an auxiliary function.  In all 4 of these types, introverted feeling is a big part of how they see the world and how they operate.

Sue Blair will be a keynote speaker at the 2013 Association for Psychological Type Conference in July.   One of her many contributions to the type community is creating visuals to represent the eight cognitive functions.  Recently she conducted a workshop in England that included creating these visuals.

In the workshop, one overall observation was that if the cognitive function was dominant or auxiliary for an individual, the visual representation tended to be positive.  If it was a non-preferred function, it tended to be a more negative visual.  I am not surprised by that because as an ENFP, contemplating introverted sensing reflexively brings up a picture of confusion for me, someone struggling with incomplete thoughts, almost like someone sitting in a care center at the twilight of life not being able to recall much of anything.  Since it’s a blind spot for me, my picture is one of deficiency.

Meanwhile, introverted feeling is my auxiliary function.  In the workshop, introverted feelers used the visual of a sword planted firmly in the ground.  To me, that was exactly IT.  Introverted feeling is definitely not pliable but a way to assess relevancy with conviction.  In fact, I harken back to when I was in coaching classes and someone made this remark about me:  “You are very easy going and playful until someone hits on something that really matters to you.  Your posture changes.  Your face changes.  It’s clear that you feel strongly about that issue.”

It will be interesting to see Sue’s presentation at the APTi conference in Miami on all of the type functions presented in visuals.  I suspect her presentation will spark some interesting discussion. Click  here if you want information about her talk or to access information about the conference in general.


Leadership and the MBTI Step III

Janes bookJane Kise has written another fabulous book. In this newest offerring, she melds together emotional intelligence, psychological type, and brain science to help you discover what matters to you and how to resonate with these values.

The book begins by the reader choosing 10 areas that matter most out of 40 possible options (each one is described). Just a few of my 10 choices were adaptability, mentoring and challenge. Next, these choices are assigned to one of 12 lenses of leadership. For example, adaptability fell into the Planning vs. Flexibility lens. Each chapter explores a lens and shows the reader what optimal use of that lens looks like and what underuse and overuse looks like. Practical suggestions to sharpen that lens are then offered.

I also noticed that the book has some useful connections to my MBTI Step III assessment.   For example, mentoring was one of my values but one can over mentor by offering too many suggestions or by trying to prescribe a path for someone else that fits with my vision.   The suggestion on my MBTI Step III was, “Be sure those individuals need or want this advice.”

Yes true!  ENFPs are full of possibilities, and they often see the potential in others before anyone else.  The key is encourage the path but not dictate the path.  As my daughter once said, “Slow down on those ideas, Mom.  It’s like being in a batting cage but the balls keep coming before I’ve had a chance to swing at anything.’

Intentional Leadership is not only a good read like all of Jane Kise’s books.  It’s a resource to help you optimize your leadership style.


ENFPs: The Ultimate Yes And!

red phone

There are many reasons why people don’t answer the phone.  I am among those who shun ringing phones, but maybe not for the reasons you might expect.  I am not shy nor do see phone calls as an intrusion. It’s just that I can’t resist agreeing to a possibility only to regret having said yes later on. Yes and!…

At the height of my former career as a speech pathologist, I was on the on-call list for at least a dozen facilities at once.  The sheer number of places I worked at gave me the variety I craved but it also tended to overextend me regularly. Moreover, although I had glorious flexibility in my schedule, it also meant that I had to field numerous phone calls asking me to work.   Just about every time, I would say “yes.”

ENFP personality types come out of the womb saying “yes.” As dominant extraverted intuitives, we are game for just about any possibility, especially those that occur as a result of the energy in the moment.  Yes and! is a phrase that is used in improv theatre.  It means move the energy forward on that idea.  No but kills the energy. To say that ENFPs (and our personality cousins the ENTP) are made for real life improv would be very accurate and fitting.

However, there is a downside to this adaptable, move the energy forward approach to life.  A brilliant scheme might have a schedule conflict that was ignored as mere nuisance detail at the time.  Or upon further consideration, you may realize the idea is incompatible with your values (In type-speak we call that Auxiliary Introverted Feeling).  There were many times that I agreed to go to the hospital only to regret that I wasn’t spending the day with my children.  Or what if the idea was perfect at the moment but really perfect for someone else to execute instead of you?

Strategies. Long ago, I developed the strategy to let most phone calls ring through to voice mail so I could control the “Yes And!” energy and make more conscious decisions about what I would agree to do. I really hate disappointing people (one of my introverted feeling values) and I found this was a way to curb that possibility.  I do find that if I have just a small buffer period between when I get a request and when I respond to it, I am more likely to make a good decision. At the same time, it isn’t my only strategy.  Email is another way that I tap into my judgment function.  I have also learned to say, ‘Let me get back to you.”, although that requires a heavy dose of mindfulness, because I can quickly get caught up in the energy of the moment.

Everyone has specific blind spots associated with his/her personality type.   Much of the time, we struggle with these challenges without really understanding what underpins them.  Self-knowledge is a way to learn how to compensate for the areas that are likely to trip us up. Sometimes it’s one of our strengths that can be overdone and actually become a liability.   ENFPs/ENTPs, does this sound like you?