Personality Blog

Do opposites attract or do relationships work best with people like us?

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 05/08/2014 - 11:45 by Bill McAneny

Swan love

Well yes and no, and no and yes! There has been a huge rise on online dating sites and many are now offering personality “tests” for ‘compatibility,’ which always worries me. Since time began people have been attracted to someone for a whole variety of reasons, many of them illogical (and rightly so) and, like buying a property, you often don’t know what you want until you see it and then any previous preconceptions get rationalised away: 

Yeah OK I know she’s not what I originally thought would be my type but she’s just so positive. 

But you didn’t have ‘positive’ in your ‘list of requirements.

Well I do now.

Why are first impressions often lasting impressions?

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 05/01/2014 - 11:46 by Bill McAneny

The layers of an orangeThere’s a (very) old saying: “When we meet someone we form an impression in the first few seconds,” I guess we’ve all heard that and it’s pretty scary. However when we hear the full quote it is even scarier:

When we meet someone we form an impression in the first few seconds, then we spend the rest of the time justifying it.

How scary is that, and how does it work? Well our brains want us to be right and so when we make that initial connections and form an opinion, our brain searches out evidence to prove that we were indeed correct in our assumption.

So for example if I am interviewing someone for a job and they walk into the room and I (totally subconsciously) believe they are aggressive then I will, (again totally subconsciously) phrase my questions in such a way that the other person will give aggressive responses thereby proving I’m right.

"Change is a door that can only be opened from the inside"

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 04/25/2014 - 15:09 by Bill McAneny

Open DoorQuestion: “How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?” Answer: “Only one but the light bulb has to want to change.” Sure it’s not that funny, in fact it’s a serious point. We often hold the metaphoric mirror up to people, show them their flaws; but can we change, and why would we want to?

OK first things first: We can’t really change our personalities. Personality is a result of the interaction between genetic conditions (what’s in our biological data) and environmental conditions (what is fed into us during those first crucial 7-8 years and can be represented this way: P=(GxE). So from quite an early age our personalities are roughly set.

But we can modify our behaviour. Behaviour is a result of the interaction between personality and situation and can be represented in this way: B=(PxS). So change the situation we are all capable of modifying our behaviour. When I teach psychology everyone loves these descriptions until they realise the implications: you really can change if you want to. 

But of course we can’t leave it there. I have worked in organisations across the world, confronted some very senior people with some difficult truths and they sometimes say: “why would I want to change?” So there is another dimension, which is the motivation to change.

The ISFJ - often undervalued, usually invaluable

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 16:10 by Bill McAneny
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The scales of justiceBecause their best work usually occurs more behind the scenes as they don’t really like the limelight, ISFJs are often the unsung heroes. They work systematically and assiduously a rare combination of caring and detailed and they are often the protectors making sure the routine is taken care of and that what has been agreed is delivered, on time, exactly as agreed and without fuss. Once they have ‘bought in’ ISFJs will work incredibly hard in the background, often unnoticed by the rest of the team, to make sure that things work and hang together for everyone.

Caring and sensitive to how other people are feeling, ISFJs are superb at remembering names and faces and specific facts, (including those who have offended them), which they store in the pristine filing cabinets inside their heads. They can then draw all these strands together into a plan, which they will quietly carry out to completion ensuring every ‘i’ is dotted and ‘t’ crossed. 

How to ‘get’ people: practical psychology for every situation

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Published on Mon, 03/31/2014 - 10:31 by Prelude Team

How to 'get' people: practical psychology for every situationLife and work are about people and it is the depth and richness of our understanding of other people, of ourselves and the dynamic between the two that will determine how well we can:

  • Spot different types
  • Influence people
  • Better relate to others
  • Develop as a person

This is not an academic exercise, we can all learn to better ‘get’ and work with different types of personality and all learn to adapt ourselves to different personalities and situations. 

"I don’t want to be categorised and put in a box"

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:28 by Bill McAneny

Horizon​How many times do you think I have heard this over the years when the notion of psychological assessment is mentioned? Or just as popular: “You can’t classify me I am different.” The problem is that people, like organisations, are like some other people, all other people and no other people. So why assess? It’s a fair question.

Well assessment is not about ‘putting people in a box,’ it’s about identifying some personality traits that help us understand people, help them better understand themselves and so begin the process of development. So if you record as an ISTJ it means you probably will display some ISTJ-like characteristics and that helps when you dig deeper into the whole person. You won’t be like every single other ISTJ. Indeed it’s almost like putting someone in a ‘box’ so that you can then understand them better and so, paradoxically, take them out of the ‘box.’

Why is it important to understand personality?

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 10:30 by Bill McAneny

RunnerWhy is it important to understand personality? Well from an academic perspective it is just…well interesting. Oh but from a life perspective it is so much more than that. The better we understand ourselves and other people, the more successful we’ll be in dealing with people and situations; and getting it right. Psychology may be an academic discipline, but understanding personality it is a much more practical subject, it is about using psychology to your advantage in everyday situations, to ‘get’ people, to influence, help and support, to get your point across, in a way that's right for you, to better understand and shape decision-making, to motivate and manage people, and deal with conflict and most importantly to understand and manage our own impact on other people.

The Perceptive Functions: Sensing vs Intuitive and how to spot them

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 03/13/2014 - 13:52 by Bill McAneny

Head up in the clouds vs feet on the groundJung was clear that Sensing vs Intuitive are the perceptive functions, ie they make us aware of what is happening but don’t try to evaluate or interpret (these are the functions of the judging functions, Thinking and Feeling). Although a lot has been written about the true meaning of the two scales, it is helpful to see what Jung wrote on the subject.

We kind of know that Sensing types prefer the known, the facts, the actualities. Rooted in the here and now they have a grounded approach taking in information that has practical application and so they can see concepts and theoretical models as a bit airy-fairy. When we look at what Jung actually said it makes so much more sense.

Exploding the myths of Thinking vs. Feeling

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 03/07/2014 - 15:09 by Bill McAneny

BarometerThe most misunderstood element of personality is the Thinking vs Feeling scale. The traditional view is that Thinkers are logical and Feelers are emotional. OK this may be true, but it does not begin to even scratch the surface of the real differences.

Even Jung, who coined the term conceded:

…I freely admit that this problem of feeling has been one that has caused me much brain racking.

So if Jung struggled what chance do the rest of us have? Well we think that Feeling types often get a bad press, as they are more tactful, more in tune and more concerned about the impact on people than their Thinking opposites. So the view is often expressed that Feelers are ‘soft.’ One HR Director I know well always fakes his assessments so that he records as ENTP because he truly believes that being seen as an ENFP may well be career limiting! 

How Introverts Can Succeed on Teams with Extroverts

Guest Blogger's picture
Published on Fri, 02/28/2014 - 16:12 by Guest Blogger

Pen and PaperI’m sitting in the back of the crowded room, near the wall, and it seems like this staff meeting is never going to end.

All the extroverts – the room is full of them – are jumping over each other to debate the finer points of a new policy we’re putting into effect. There are so many differing opinions and rapid changes of topic that I’m not even sure what the central problem is anymore. The conversation is moving so quickly that I couldn’t get a word in if I wanted to.

Suddenly all the talking stops. A decision has been made. I’m still thinking about a point someone made ten minutes ago.

As an introvert working on a team of (mostly) extroverts, this has happened to me more times than I can count.

What’s an introvert to do? Shrink back into the wall and let everyone else make the decisions? Get passed over for raises and promotions because you’re not as visible as your extroverted colleagues?

While we’re never going to keep pace with extroverts in their ability to talk eloquently on the fly or possess (seemingly) endless amounts of energy, we can succeed on extroverted teams, and keep ourselves sane. 

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