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Colour-coded Christmas spreadsheet? "Yes please?" or "Heck, no way!"?

It's officially the middle of October, where the shops are full of that odd mix of Halloween and Christmas paraphernalia, reminding us of all those things we didn't realise we needed. There's a huge difference in the way that we (Clare & Gail) behave at this time of year, and it's a great illustration of two key differences in our Myers Briggs MBTI types.

One of us (not prepared to reveal which!), is sitting back, enjoying the autumn, looking forward to cosy nights by the fire, hot chocolate and mulled wine. Once they've fully embraced the atmosphere of the upcoming Christmas season, they'll visit some festive markets, without a plan of action, and see what jumps out at them as a suitable present for a loved one. These activities could take place as late as 23rd December, after all, that still leaves Christmas eve for wrapping and prep, doesn't it?

The other one already has a colour coded spreadsheet, with ideas and budget per person which is updated after every suitable, planned purchase is made - there are already a number of categories completed. It has several sheets, including one which details every item needed for catering on the big day, where it will be ordered from, the cost and which date it will arrive at the house. This will all have been planned, curated and hopefully finished before 1st December appears on the calendar.

Each of us sees the merit in the other's approach (there may be a few jokes about it too), but this acceptance that there are different ways of doing things is fundamental to finding the benefits of MBTI and different preferences.

We each recognise that for the other to feel comfortable, at the level of control that they need, to be able to enjoy what's coming up, the best way for them to operate is within their preferences and strengths. At this stage, there are no prizes for guessing that we are opposite types when it comes to planning and how we interact with the outside world - one of us is J (Judging), the other is P (Perceiving).

These differences could cause some real challenges when it comes to working together, however, knowing and understanding that these are the circumstances under which each individual works best, means that we have learned to value such differences and if anything, learn to play to each others' strengths. Tools such as MBTI can provide a valuable insight when they're applied well at work. There can be a lot of pressure to operate within the "norms" of the team, and this can be stressful if you find yourself regularly having to behave against type. Rather than believing one preference is better or worse, if you can see them as equally valid, bringing the benefits of a range of views and approaches and a way of someone doing their best, then you're likely to build an environment in which people are truly encouraged to play to their strengths.

If you want to be a #BrilliantBoss work out those differences in approach and needs on your team - what does this mean that each individual needs from you? You can use a tool to help you to understand the preferences, but the most important thing is to spend time listening and observing, then recognising the circumstances that help each individual to play to their strengths.

P.S. if you want a copy of the Christmas Spreadsheet, let me know!


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