Discover Yourself – Adapting to the Style of Others

One of the advantages of knowing one’s own personality type and being aware of the other personality types that might be encountered is evident in a business setting. Those in management positions have the most authority to force others to adapt to their own style – but to get the best from their workers, it actually benefits managers to adapt to others to some extent. For a productive team and a harmonious environment, it is a good idea for leaders to learn techniques to accommodate the preferences and personality types of those around them.

Today I’ll be sharing some practical tips on how managers can adapt to the style of others.

Communication Method

One big differentiator between various personality types in a work setting is their preferred method of communication. Introverted people often prefer to communicate through email, as it allows them time and space to process information and formulate a cogent response in their own time. Extroverted people, especially those who like to think out loud in a collaborative way, will often prefer to stop by someone else’s office in order to discuss an issue and get input on it. People who are highly skilled at multitasking may prefer talking on the phone so that they can accomplish some other small tasks while discussing a topic.

Of course, business necessities will always trump personal preferences. If a manager needs an answer immediately, then they are going to drop by others’ offices or call them to save time. If employees work remotely, then email will be the default. However, outside of these necessities, it is advisable for managers to be flexible. If they know that a given employee will give their best response to a query via email, then it makes sense to allow them to use that communication method where possible.

Communication Style

Another related issue is the complexities of communication style. This is an issue in which many people lack self-awareness, which is why it is important for managers to be proactive in addressing this topic. Some people, particularly those who are strongly focused on tasks, will want to know only the essential information that they require in order to complete their job. Giving these people more detail when communicating will only confuse or frustrate them. Other people, particularly those who are focused on relationships, will want to understand the part that their role plays in the bigger picture. Therefore, they will appreciate being furnished with all of the details of a situation even if it doesn’t directly affect them.

Managers who take note of the personality types of their employees can communicate with them more clearly by giving the appropriate level of detail for that personality type. A manager might choose to give a few key bullet points versus explaining an issue in depth, for example, depending on the preferences of the people they are addressing. When a manager needs to address a number of people, such as when emailing a group, then for maximum clarity they can include both: have bullet points with the essential information at the top, and then a section with additional information at the bottom. This way, the readers of the email can pick the appropriate level of communication for themselves.


A challenge of the modern office is the dreaded meeting. Meetings are essential for conducting many aspects of business successfully, but they can be draining and are rarely enjoyed by all of the participants. When looked at in terms of personality type, this dislike of meetings is unsurprising. With multiple different personality types in one room trying to make progress all together, it is almost inevitable that there will be difficulties.

Managers have the chance to set the expectations and tone for meetings, and to moderate to make them more productive and helpful for everyone involved. The first step to a more productive meeting is to set goals clearly: is the purpose of the meeting to brainstorm, to plan, or to troubleshoot? Knowing the goal will help keep participants on track and allow different personality types to approach the topic in their own way. Also, is a meeting actually required? If the purpose of the meeting is purely to update others, for example, then this is best accomplished by sending out an email instead of gathering everyone together.

The second step is to send out an agenda for the meeting in advance. This will allow introverts to plan what they want to say, rather than forcing them to make off-the-cuff comments. The third step can be accomplished as a part of the agenda or as an in-person introduction, and that is to have a clear structure for the meeting. For example, first go around in a circle to share ideas or opinions without interruptions, and then have a free-for-all discussion session. This structure will help the more rigid team members know when to give input, and the more go-with-the-flow team members can thrive in the free discussion session.

Presenting, Teaching, and Workshopping

When it comes to presenting to a group, being aware of other personality styles can be a challenge. There are distinctly different learning styles as well as personality styles to consider, but a presenter will not always have a lot of information about a group’s styles before talking to them. Learning styles can include a preference for auditory material, written material, group discussion, or active engagement for best learning.

However, this needn’t be an insurmountable problem. Presenters already tend to use different teaching modalities – i.e. they talk to the group which is ideal for auditory learners, and they use slides which are good for visual learners. To make a presentation more accessible for other learning styles, presenters can set aside some time for group work and for practical hands-on work as well. These two new modalities will help those who learn best by talking an issue through with others or who learn by doing. Combining this approach to presenting and teaching with a personality-based approach for communication and meetings can enable managers to get the most from their employees.

To learn more about personality styles and how knowledge about them can benefit managers, visit

Discover Yourself – Cultural Implications on Personality Types

Cultural implications in personality testing

One important issue in the area of personality research is how universal personality traits are. Is it really true that people from Germany are more organized than most, or that people from Canada are more polite? Are US Americans naturally better leaders? These questions are part of a field called cross-cultural psychology, which is about examining how universal personality constructs are. For those interested in personality testing, it’s worth learning about the degree to which information from personality tests can be applied to people from other cultures as well as our own.

Personality Assessments and Culture

Most personality tests are developed in Northern America or Western Europe, and this affects how questions are conceptualized and framed. It might seem like a personality test should work equally well for different people across different cultures, but sometimes that is not the case. The first step in applying a personality test across cultures is to translate the test into another language, but this is already a challenge. The exact translation of particular words can cause difficulties, such as trying to decide how exactly to translate a question about happiness – which could refer to contentment, joviality, positive outlook, or overall life satisfaction. Depending on how exactly the word is translated, it affects how people answer the question. This means it is often hard to compare results of personality tests across cultures, even when the same test is used. This can be done correctly, however, if approached very carefully.

A further problem is with the way that personality tests refer to certain conditions or experiences. If a test asks someone whether they “feel under the weather”, for example, this idiom will not be equally understood everywhere and will be interpreted differently by people of different cultures. Therefore, personality tests are designed to be as clear as possible while still capturing the essential features of experience that are relevant to personality.

Cultural Limitations of Personality Tests

More recently, personality assessment tools from other cultures have been developed and shared internationally, such as the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory which was developed in Hong Kong in the 1990s. This test is specifically aimed at assessing personality among Chinese people by referring to specific constructs which are important in Chinese culture but are not addressed by Western personality tests, such as harmony, modernization, graciousness versus meanness, and face.

In clinical terms, one construct that is present in the CPAI but absent in most Western scales is somatization, which refers to the tendency to manifest psychological symptoms through physical pains, ailments, or disabilities. Somatization is a fairly rare symptom in Western psychiatry and psychology and so is often not included on clinical scales, while it is relatively common in China and so an important factor to measure when looking at personality in this culture.

The reason that we find different expressions of personality, and especially different expressions of mental illness and distress, in different cultures is due to social norms around the expression of emotions and experiences. In China, there is still a degree of stigmatization of mental illness and a general aversion to describing negative psychological experiences. Therefore, when people feel bad they are more likely to say that they have a headache or that they are tired.

In Western cultures, where there is more of an emphasis on psychological self-examination and sharing, people would be more likely to describe themselves as depressed or unhappy. This means that the same experience (such as low mood, lack of motivation, lack of energy) might be described as a physical affliction by a Chinese person (“I have a headache”) but as a psychological issue by a US American person (“I am feeling depressed”). This shows that personality can’t be studied as removed from culture – because culture has a huge impact on not only the formation of our personalities but also the way that we talk about our experiences.

How Culture Affects Personality Tests

Beyond the methods and wording of personality assessments, there can also be big cultural differences in personality types. For example, consider the question: “Do you prefer to work on your own or as part of a group?” In cultures which emphasize individualism, such as the US, people will be more likely to answer that they like to work on their own. In cultures which emphasize collectivism, such as Japan, people will be more likely to answer that they like to work as part of a group. This is both because norms of each culture suggest that one answer is more appropriate than the other, and because people will likely have more experience in working in a style which is concordant with their culture.

This gets at part of the fundamental issue with personality testing, in that it may be true that more US Americans like to work independently and more Japanese people like to work in a group. However, this doesn’t mean that there is something inherent in being born in a particular place which means that a person will develop a certain personality type. Rather, it means that culture affects personality by making some choices more common and acceptable than others.

All Personality Types Can Be Found In All Cultures

Another important thing to realize about personality differences across cultures is that this refers to trends, not exclusive categories. For example, the people in one country may tend more towards introversion and the people in another country may tend more towards extroversion. This means that there will be a higher percentage of either introverts or extroverts in a given country – however, there will always be a mix of both personality styles in any large enough group. Similarly, there are some differences between the distribution of personality traits between men and women – but we could never say that “all men are like this” or “all women are like that”. When working with personality data, we are identifying traits, not rules.

To learn more about how personality assessments can help at work and elsewhere in life, and how the Insights Discovery profile has addressed these cultural assessment issues, visit And next time I’ll be discussing how to use insights from Jungian psychology to work more effectively as a team, so check back soon for that!

Eight Great Psychological Types- Which One Are You?

8 types

We all know that humans can be complicated. Take any office or business environment, for instance, and already you have a wealth of personalities and motivations spinning around the room. From clients to customers, the CEO to the secretary everyone is working together in some way to push their work forward into something meaningful.

With so many personalities and differing psychologies interacting with one another, both friendship and conflict are bound to come up. Understanding what your unique personality type is can help you be the best leader, employee, customer, or employer you can be. Equally, it can help you to understand better the wealth of personalities around you and the times when they may clash.

Foundations of personality

Carl Jung expanded his notions of the four main personality types and mixed them with the two general attitudes, which are extroversion and introversion. We all can imagine a stereotypical introvert and a stereotypical extrovert- one is the life of the party while the other may have retreated to a corner or not come to the party at all.

The realities of introversion and extroversion are more complicated than that, though. Extroverts and introverts can be on a scale from moderate to severe. Some people literally can’t fathom the idea of interacting with others unless they have to; their energy isn’t drawn from social situations, but rather from solitary activity. Extroverts can want to be the center of attention at everything they are involved in, creating a whirlwind of people and entertainment around them at all times. There can equally be moderate introverts and extroverts, who prefer socializing and recharging by themselves in a more relaxed manner.

Combining the introverted and extroverted attitude with the four basic psychological functions gives us eight psychological types, which are:

  1. Extraverted thinking
  2. Introverted thinking
  3. Extraverted feeling
  4. Introverted feeling
  5. Extroverted sensing
  6. Introverted sensing
  7. Extroverted intuition
  8. Introverted intuition

Finding yourself

We’re all somewhere in this psychological personality jumble together! Knowing approximately what our personality type is can help us acknowledge our strengths while also giving us a way to gain insight into other people. In an office setting, for instance, a boss with a particular personality type may be able to cut down on his team’s interpersonal conflict by rearranging tasks and pairing individuals together who can use each other’s strengths to their advantage.

Jung opened up an entirely new world with his discoveries, and discoveries into the psychology of personality and the self are still being made today. Insights Discovery is based squarely on Jung’s theories, and as such, is an invaluable tool in helping people understand themselves and others.  If you would like further help in identifying yourself or others as part of the four color personalities, schedule me, Scott Schwefel, as your keynote speaker. I will come to your group and address the differences in personalities in a truthful, fun, and easy-to-understand way. Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to share my blogs with the color energies you work with!

The Birth of Jung Physiology


Carl Jung is known for being one of the most influential individuals in the fields of psychotherapy and psychiatry. He is perhaps most famous for being the father of analytical psychology, which revolutionized the study of individuals and personality characteristics in relation to the subconscious and conscious minds.

Jung created the theory that individuals are governed by four basic psychic functions that include intuition, sensation, feeling, and thinking. Jung theorized that these unconscious psychic functions could become conscious and influence people’s personalities, which accounted for the wide range in how people think and behave.

The four physiologies

Jung created four physiologies, or personality types as they later became known, that influenced how people perceived the world around them and how they responded to it. These four types could be classified as opposites, although according to Jung they served more as complementary personality traits.

Jung defined sensing as the formation of logical conclusions based on sensory perceptions. This intellectual cognition allows different people to sense and perceive the world in different ways based on how they cognitively process this information available to them using their five senses. Intuition, on the other hand, refers to the process of drawing conclusions and making connections beyond the sensory information.

Thinking refers to the process of evaluating information by objective and logical means. Feeling is a more subjective judgment type, where personal and situational preference and information comes into play. Jung created the four physiologies as opposites: thinking and feeling, sensing and intuition. Although each was created in opposition to the other, all the functions operate within an individual’s consciousness and subconscious to create their world view and inform their beliefs and behaviors.

Jung was also the founder of the idea of the attitudinal types of introversion and extroversion, in addition to the four physiologies. An introvert gets their energy from internal sources while an extrovert draws their energy from other people. Jung used these psychic functions to explore the differences in personality and expression he saw in his work.

Utilizing the four physiologies

Each function provides its own knowledge base by which an individual’s personality is allowed to shine through. Jung used these psychic functions to classify the empirical information he had gathered about individuals and their characteristics; he was less interested in finding the foundations of these physiologies in the human brain. Jung theorized that the four psychic functions could operate equally, but that people sometimes have functions that operate stronger and more consciously than the others.


We all know people who exemplify Jung’s four physiologies in different ways: some people are highly sensory, relying on the empirical information they can gather to make sense of the world around them. Others are highly intuitive, sensing what cannot always be detected by traditional means. Some individuals rely on feeling to make their way through the world while others rely heavily on their thought processes and analytical way of viewing things to make decisions. Jung’s discovery of these essential personality functions has truly changed how we view our selves and others.

Insights Discovery is based squarely on Jung’s theories, and as such, is an invaluable tool in helping people understand themselves, and others. If you would like further help in identifying yourself or someone you know who is one of Jung’s physiologies, schedule me, Scott Schwefel, as your keynote speaker. I will come to your group and address the differences in personalities in a truthful, fun, and easy-to-understand way. Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to share my blogs with the color energies you work with!