Judging vs Perceiving - certainty vs flexibility

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 08/22/2013 - 07:41 by Bill McAneny

Railroad TracksJudging vs Perceiving is all about the need to plan and drive for closure vs the need stay flexible and keep options open. Judging types will want to plan the work, work the plan and drive with certainty towards known closure, whilst perceiving types will prefer to remain loose and indeed get energised by last minute pressures and things that don’t go according to plan. You remember at school there were people who prepare and plan in advance for exams whilst others crammed at the last minute, preferring the excitement of the deadline pressure; that is judging vs perceiving.

Given the differences judgers may see perceivers as expedient, careless and even a little lazy whilst perceivers can see judgers as rigid, controlling and rule-bound. So why is there such difference? Well a lot of this is to do with the locus of control: judgers need the plan and the certainty otherwise they can feel out of control whilst perceivers feel any control prevents them considering other options and stifling their natural flexibility.

Both characteristics have good points and not so good points. For example if it all needs rolling into a plan and managing tightly then the judger is the one for the job. They are superb at getting clarity and ensuring that things are delivered on time, as agreed, no surprises and probably tied in a neat bow. Perceivers are great in a crisis, are happy to deviate from the plan and indeed actually need the pressure and excitement to deliver otherwise they will find something more interesting or go off at tangents.

So if you’re a judger how to manage a perceiver

  • Initially allow some wriggle room as trying to force them to do it one way, or plan for closure too early, can lead to them losing interest
  • They work in short bursts of concentrated energy so to force them down the prescribed route will de-energise them send them off at tangents
  • They feel more in control if they can keep their options open so break tasks into smaller chunks so they don’t feel that they are eating an elephant
  • Ensure they are clear on what is required otherwise they might end up working long and hard, but on the wrong things

So if you’re a perceiver how to manage a judger

  • They need clarity about what is required so either give them a clear plan or let them create one for themselves
  • Before they get moving question just to make sure that all options have been fully explored as judging types are so keen to just get it done
  • They need to feel in control and so the plan is their way of doing just that and they may feel uncomfortable if they are unable to have that level of control
  • Once the plan is agreed they will not want to be micromanaged preferring to work through to completion, and they will: as agreed, on time and within budget

Differences will either cause friction, misalignment and an inability to work well together, or they will lead to harmony, alignment and a leveraging of each other’s strengths. The key, as ever with personality traits, is to fully understand our opposites, see their differences as strength and, most importantly of all, not to compare them to us.

Are you a 'Judger' or a 'Perceiver'? How do you approach tasks? We'd love to hear your views in the comments.

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