Lindsay Oliver, Communications Specialist

In early August, the Cadasta team gathered in Portland to collaborate on larger projects and celebrate the milestones we’ve achieved in the six months since the launch of the organization. It was exciting to have everyone together for the first time, and to get to know my team not just as colleagues, but as people.

While in town, we were fortunate to have our sponsor Omidyar Network facilitate a Meyers-Briggs (MBTI) workshop guiding us through our individually-preferred modalities to improve our working relationships. Previous to this experience, I thought that the MBTI was fluffy, irrelevant, and easily dismissed as pseudo-science. It had always been presented to me as an immutable set of characteristics that a person could never escape from or change.

Omidyar’s approach made clear to me that this representation was far from the truth and intent of the MBTI. It is a useful tool to describe your innate preferences for interaction and information processing, not a proscription of personality. With this new context, I could engage with the MBTI to examine my own internal preferences as a mechanism for better working relationships.

My type, surprising no one who knows me, is ENFP. I was flabbergasted to see the range and variability of my team’s types, and to realize how various types tend to engage with & process information (especially in conflict resolution scenarios). This knowledge gave me the ability to improve communication effectiveness with my team because I know what they need, how to best present it, and how they process it.

We came away from the workshops with a slew of new skills and knowledge to support one another’s unique needs. If you or your organization have the opportunity to participate in MBTI training, I highly recommend it.

Image via Wikimedia.