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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Organization vs. Inspiration: Creative Workers and Personality Types in the Modern Office

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888 and Seventh, Manhattan, NYC (AmericasRoof, WikiC)
— Nicholas Morine

One of the most famous and influential personality tests of all time, the Jungian-inspired Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assigns values to individuals on the basis of various character traits and value judgments. One of the most starkly divergent areas of this personality test comes when people are tagged as either preferring their “intuition”, searching their inner landscape of ideas and values for answers, or “sensing”, searching the outer world for answers to fit into life’s puzzle.

The former individuals generally tend to be less common, and more creative, seeking their own individual and idiosyncratic solutions to problems in the workplace and in life in general — they are what are commonly referred to as “outside the box” thinkers. While sensors are much more common than intuitives, they are also useful as they are quite good at organization and following orders.

You need both types to succeed!

Creative employees bring inspiration, ideas, and excitement to any professional setting.

While many in the industry, particularly experts that have been kicking around for a few years, decry the new generation of labour as supremely disengaged, disinterested, and unable to follow direction, there are several flaws with what boils down to a fairly broad-brush argument.

Firstly, students and young workers are now educated in such a fashion that they are, for the most part, more cognizant of their rights as well as the nature of their relationship to their employers. There is a lack of company loyalty because the company does not provide any incentive for loyalty in most cases; minimum wage, low or no benefits, and increasingly sharp and frequent demands for work at all hours (you’d best have a smartphone!) all lead to a sense of unnecessary bitterness between these employees and their employer.

Large Office Workspace, Pairing Creatives with Organizers (MichaelLaumy, WikiC)

Further, creative workers can be the most difficult to wrangle, always offering criticism or a more novel way forward. At times, this can be challenging, however, it should always be remembered that new ideas can often be new pathways to new clientele. Fast-thinking employees also tend to stimulate other employees nearby, spurring them to greater productivity as well as perhaps unlocking their own potential.

As usual, organization and authority can be a challenge for extraverted, intuitive types — again, they perceive value internally rather than derived from external environments — and this includes external orders and perceptions about what proper organization or process looks like. Guidance and open conversation is the key to getting the extraverted, intuitive creative worker back onboard and moving forward on a common goal.

Organizing and managing millenials, post-millenials, and latecoming Gen-X’ers

There remains a majority of persons in the workplace who, due to their preference for judging or for sensing (those who adopt their values from exterior sources), remain ideal entry and mid level employees given that they are more content with chain of command, status quo choices, and being directed or organized. Far from being antiquated and out of date in the new economy, these individuals are actually even more likely to thrive in traditional business environments, as well as new business environments as long as they function in sync with their creative partners.

Picture of the Modern Open Concept Office (Charles and Hudson, WikiC)
A great metaphor in terms of thinking of how to maximize this sort of business relationship, whether you’re an employee or an employer, is to think of sports like football or basketball — providing “man to man” coverage. This means that for every creative worker in your organization, there should be at least a likeminded partner of a more direct and organizational mentality to gently guide their colleague into deadlines and work output.

Organization in the post-modern workplace looks a lot different than it did even a few years ago; paperless offices, storing documents and files in a dropbox or in the cloud, and an obvious increase in both the pace and volume of business are all factors that, when considered in tandem with the technological wave running wild across the world, add up to a wild environment that benefits a more dynamic, and creative, employee.

Pairing up two team players with a positive attitude benefits employee as well as employer — and if you’re one of those creative types, it might just clue you in as to some of the tricks of the trade when it comes to getting things done on schedule.

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