Judging vs Perceiving in the workplace

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 02/21/2014 - 14:35 by Bill McAneny

CoffeeI met with my friend Gary last Thursday for a coffee and catch up. We were really pleased to see each other. We caught up on what’s happening, had a really warm chat about things and then something strange happened as we got down to work. He got out a notepad which had a list of items and said: “OK this is what I’d like to get out of this meeting, what do you want to cover.” Me: “I don’t know, I hadn’t thought about it!” And do you know what the difference was? Yep, Judging vs Perceiving. He needed a list and a plan, and I wanted to just see where it would go.

In the workplace there is often a misalignment between Js and Ps. Unlike Extraversion vs Introversion, which now gets a lot of airtime, has heaps of books and articles written about it and which is probably easier to ‘get,’ the J-P scale can cause friction between those who need to create a plan and stick to it, and those who prefer to see how it all unfolds. And a lot of this is about control: Judgers feel in control if they have a plan, Perceivers feel controlled by having a plan, and they may try to wriggle out. It is not about work rate, or commitment or getting things done. It is about the way that things get done. J’s tend to work systematically towards closure, while Ps tend to work in short sporadic bursts, when the moment takes them. Like all personality characteristics neither is intrinsically ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ they just ‘are.’

So back to my meeting with Gary, do you know how it ended? He said: “So I have a list of seven actions, how many do you have?” And you know what the answer was! So he went off to complete his actions and I went in search of a better offer.


What are your experiences of J-P? How well do you work with people of your opposite type? We'd love to hear your views.

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