July 29, 2009 by 8junebugs
An in-house training yesterday had me taking a modified Myers-Briggs test, which I think we’ve all taken at some point. It may have been a scantron sheet after we acted out in school or a typo-ridden facebook quiz — we’ve all been tested.
I usually get typed as INFJ, depending on the day. I’m introverted (mostly). I’m intuitive (and sometimes really, really not!), I’m feeling (except when I compartmentalize and let the the coldhearted bitch take care of business), and judgmental (no comment). I know stuff without knowing why. I’ve had some psychic-seeming experiences (waking up screaming when someone dies, for instance…always fun).
I am The Protector.
And I’m private! I hold back! Except for, you know, talking about my life on the internet. I talk about poop less than I used to, though. That’s something.
I’m an enigma wrapped in a riddle dipped in caramel and rolled in navel lint.
Anyway, in this truncated personality test, I came out as an Analyzer, and the only full-blown one in the room. (One colleague was split between Analyzer and another category, but she played Analyzer so I wouldn’t have to be an Army of One. The other categories were Visionary (big-picture dreamer), Achiever (thing-doer, list-checker-offer), and Facilitator (people-herder, consensus-builder). My “score” for Analyzer was 4 — I tied all the other categories with scores of 2.
Analyzer. Me? I mean, okay. Maybe. Sort of. Data make me happy… Most of accounting was in the Achiever group, though, which indicated that Analyzers aren’t about data.
Here’s how the training company defines Analyzer:
The conscience of the team. He or she reviews the team’s decisions and approaches and compares then to the common purpose to make sure the team stays on track. As such, he or she can often provide the ethical and procedural compass that teams require. However, in doing so, the Analyzer often remains in reactive mode and is often not seen as a self-starter or as someone who can perform a task alone.
I don’t entirely agree with that last bit. Oddly, though, every label other than Achiever carried with it a version of “doesn’t get shit done.”
So we all need thing-doers to carry out the tasks behind our big ideas. We need the big-picture people to give us the big ideas. We need people like me to remind us to stay on track and not go haring off after shiny objects, unless the shiny objects contribute to our mission and embody our values. And we need the people-herders to make everyone feel like they’re on board and involved.
We’ve all got bits of each label in us. I don’t know if I’m an Analyzer by nature or an analyzer right now, when it’s important to synthesize past, present, future, and politics to advise others on the best course of action. Given this definition, though, I can live with it. It’s a challenge that calls on communications skills in a different way than when I fell more into the Achiever role — instead of explaining to people why I’ve changed their words and how that doesn’t mean I think they’re dumb (it actually doesn’t, I promise), I find myself saying things like, “It’s an excellent idea. I can see a few obstacles based on X, Y, or Z. If it’s a priority, let’s talk about how to navigate those obstacles.” It’s solving puzzles using logic and expertise, but also institutional knowledge and elementary psychology.
And, most of the time, it’s really fun.