The story of interpersonal relationships continues…
It was a Monday morning. I walked into my office with a hangover of my trip to a hill station for my honeymoon. I found the white board in the room full, but the room was empty which was very unusual. Though the board was full of English letters, it was confusing. Looked like some abbreviations were pulled out by some permutation and combination, leaving me completely clueless. The abbreviations were weird combinations of carefully picked letters in English.
After a while, all my colleagues, Sara, Reshna and Priya walked into the room, one after the other. I could sense something coming my way when I looked at their curious faces. I was sure, it was all about my honeymoon. In no time I realized that it wasn’t about my honeymoon, but about me. I was their subject for debate. They were loud and yet I just could not get what was the discussion about me. I quickly saw some connection between what was on the white board and what they were busy discussing about me. The no-sense conversation was put to an end when my reporting manager Radhika walked in with a big grin, probably very happy to see me back in the team. Her entry into the room had put the others to silence. She got what was everyone up to, just a glance was enough.
What actually had happened was, while I was away holidaying, the team had gone through a MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) session. From the little what I understood I could say that it was a very powerful tool to discover the DNA of your behaviours. Basically it is about the fact that we all have specific preferences in the way we construe our experiences, and these preferences impact the way our interests, needs, values, and motivations manifest in the interpersonal relationships we have with the people around us and the interactions we have with the world in general.
Later that year
I too had the opportunity to sit through a session by Radhika who is a globally certified administrator for MBTI. And yes, I did discover my type (the four letter combination that I spoke about earlier). I was really amazed at the output I got using the tool. I had not only understood the possible dynamics of my way of being, I was also able to see the other person’s through their type, whatever it may be.
What became possible for all of us at work was, understanding each other better without labelling and judging, which otherwise could have been very counterproductive and proved a disastrous teamwork.
George and Rachel – going back to interpersonal relationships at work
It may sound like Greek and Latin, but believe me when I say, we have gained immensely from understanding the framework and using it in our personal and professional lives. Let’s take the George and Rachel example, for instance, from the earlier part of this story.
That example actually relates to one of the four dichotomies of preferences in the MBTI. The idea is simple really – that some people like structure and organization, have a plan and need things to get done as quickly as possible; while there are others who enjoy the ambiguity and flexibility that the lack of structure or plan offers and perform best under pressure.
Till we know the MBTI, we don’t really see something like this as a natural preference. All of you who were in support of Rachel might have felt George was micro-managing, he over reacted, it was an unexpected situation that of course could not have been planned for. Those of you who liked George might have felt Rachel was disorganized and last minute, didn’t buffer for contingencies and was unprofessional in the way she managed the situation.
If one were to understand it within the framework of the MBTI however, one would know that there is more to it than just the visible behavior. One would also learn to predict it, be prepared and adapt to the other person in way that works, building strong and deep interpersonal relationships, as a result.
Today Radhika and I work together in the same organization Wukilabs which she and her hubby started. All of us know what our types are. The results are excellent: We know what to expect, when to expect it, And how. We know what influences whom, what motivates them. We know the best way to communicate with each other, in a way that the other person easily gets it. The best part is to have a certified MBTI expert guide us to better ourselves for work and life through the application of the underlying theory. Experiences have been similarly positive wherever she has consulted on the MBTI, as she regularly does for companies and individuals.
WukiLabs is a great place to be and work, of course.
As I earlier said, we all spend one third of our life at work, what more could anyone ask for if we enjoy going to the same place and work every day because you find and create the environment through understanding each other.
After all, don’t we all want to feel understood?
By Ferdinand Udaykumar, Marketing Lead @WukiLabs http://wukilabs.com/#ourteam