If you know me for any length of time, the question is bound to come up. Out of the blue, I’ll ask you, “So, do you know what your Myers-Briggs personality type is?”. It’s kind of nosy when you think about it, but I’m a little Myers-Briggs obsessed. I find people fascinating – I’m always trying to understand them – and me – a little better. Just so you know, if I ask you your type, I’ve probably already been trying to figure out what type you are anyway. I’m just looking for confirmation.
That fits right into my personality by the way. I’m an INFJ
- which has been nicknamed “The Contemplator.” Truer words have never been said. That’s me for sure. And that’s what has been so surprising for me about Myers-Briggs typing - how well my type describes me – and my friends and family too.
You may be one of those people who says “Don’t put me in a box” and I sympathize! No personality test can capture all the facets of a unique human being and sometimes you don’t fit exactly into one bucket or another, but with sixteen separate Myers-Briggs types, they can capture quite a bit of nuance.
So what does personality have to do with work? How can understanding personality help you on the job? As much as I’m a fan of Myers-Briggs in particular, I think understanding personality and improving the way you work with people isn’t about sticking a label on each other. Whether you ever take a personality test or not, you can still benefit from some basic ideas
The first and most critical principle: Accept that people are different. They see things and approach things differently. And accept that it’s okay that everyone’s not like you and they don’t all have to be like you. Stop trying to change them to be like you and meet them where they’re at.If you apply nothing else, this one thing can improve your interactions with people you work with, your kids, your spouse, your friends, and random strangers.
At work, for instance, some people are chatty, some withdrawn. Some people like to meet in person, face to face, some like to talk on the phone, others email, or instant message. Some people like to draw things out on a white board, or talk out a problem, others like to think things through by themselves. Some people like processes, routines and definitions, others hate them and like to keep things loose. Some people like shiny, pretty presentations, others think only the value of the content matters and see packaging as artifice.
I could go on describing the ways we’re different, but you get the idea. The evidence is clear – people are different. If you don’t accept that people are different than you, they’ll be driving you crazy – because they’re not doing things the way you would. This can be a recipe for stress – at least if you’re the sensitive “Feeling” type like me.
But, if you accept that people are different, you can expect it, learn from it and use it to your advantage. You can start to improve outcomes by adjusting the way you work with different people. And you can even start to see it as an asset – a good thing. All our strengths and weaknesses can complement each other.
I’ll be talking more about applying personality in the workplace in future blog posts so, if you haven't done so already, subscribe to my RSS feed. I’ll talk about:
Know thyself – understanding what makes you tickAnd more!
Know the people you work with – observe, understand, adjust
Innies meet Outies – no, not belly buttons - Introverts vs. Extroverts
Fire meets Ice – Feelers vs Thinkers
Spontaneity meets Schedule - Perceivers vs. Feelers
Understanding the executive mind
Learn more about me and make me one of your colleagues on My developerWorks profile
Follow me on Twitter
In another blog post I shared tips on finding other people on My developerWorks.But that's only half the story what if someone is looking for you?
Get discovered - You can make it easier for people to find you:
- Edit your profile and share your role, skills, and interests in About me section of your profile
- Join My developerWorks groups related to your interests and abilities - this is a natural place to find people with common interests.
- Add tags to your profile this lets someone find you when they do a Keyword search of profiles.How do I add tags to my profile?
Consider what they'll find on your My developerWorks profile when they get there.Do you have a blog or are you on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, LinkedIn?Link to it in your favorite links, so your colleagues on My developerWorks can connect with you there.
Take a little time to polish up your profile it's like making a first impression.
Add a photo to your profile or if you'd rather not, you can add an image that represents you!How do I update my profile photo?How do I add additional photos to my profile?Do you have any tips for getting discovered on My developerWorks? Let me know in the comments!
Take a little time to polish up your profile it's like making a first impression.
Do you have any tips for getting discovered on My developerWorks?Let me know in the comments!
- Share what's relevant about yourself in this community.Do you have certain skills, talents, passions, or achievements other developers or IT pros would want to know about?Don't leave them out!
- Share your bio and professional expertise in your profile.The more people know about who you are, projects you've worked on and what makes you tick, the more they'll be interested in connecting with you.
- Your profile is also a key place to promote other social media you're involved in and related work that you've done.Just by linking to my Twitter page on My developerWorks, I've gotten new followers! How do I add favorite links to my profile?
Have you written articles on developerWorks?Have you written a book? Do you have a web site? Include the title and the link in your professional expertise section!
- Do you have a blog or are you on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, LinkedIn? Link to it in your favorite links, so your colleagues on My developerWorks can connect with you there.
Add a photo to your profile or if you'd rather not, you can add an image that represents you!How do I update my profile photo?How do I add additional photos to my profile?/a>
I’m still a little green when it comes to social media. I’m still learning and I’d be crazy to call myself an expert. But isn’t that what makes it fun? While I haven’t been writing one myself, I’ve been an avid reader of blogs for several years. I have an RSS reader full of ‘em. And I’m completely amazed at the number of people blogging, the wide range of topics, and the vast difference in quality. When I find a blog I love, it’s like finding gold.
But mining for gold, can be tedious. Not that I know about gold mining personally, but those little tourist operations where people pan for gold in a stream have always looked kinda fun. It can be fun on the web too--spending hours browsing, jumping from link to link, seeing what’s out there. But sometimes I need something specific and I need it fast, and it’s annoying not to be able to find it.
So on that topic, I want to share some tips on how to find people on My developerWorks. That's one of the things I think My developerWorks has to offer – the ability to connect with real people who have real-world know-how and technical expertise. My developerWorks is designed with that in mind – this isn’t just a place to network with people you already know – it’s meant to help you meet new people you can learn from and network with.
5 ways to find the people you want to know on My developerWorks
1) Use “Find people” on the My developerWorks Connect page.
Okay, this is a killer spot, I really like to use to find new people… Go to the My developerWorks: Connect page and look under “Find people”. You can search by Keyword, Role, Skill, or Interest.
2) Search Profiles in My developerWorks
Go to Profiles. Click on Advanced Search and then you can look by city, country, name and keyword. This is good to use if you're looking for someone in your area.
3) Look for people with similar interests in Groups
Are you already a member of a group? Groups are an ideal place to look for colleagues interested in similar topics. And if you haven’t joined a group, you can easily browse them for topics you’re interested in by using the tags. Interested in Java? Click on the Java tag, find groups tagged with Java, and find new people you may want to get to know in those groups.
4) Get to know your local, friendly blogger!
If you’re reading blogs on My developerWorks, don’t be shy about getting to know the blog’s author. Bloggers blog because they want to share their thoughts and because they want to hear what you think in return! Just click on their virtual business card and send them a request to add them as a colleague!
5) Take a peek over your neighbor's fence at their bookmarks
One way to find someone you have something in common with is look at public bookmarks and browse them by tags. Find bookmarks you like, and you’ve probably found someone new you may want to connect with
Oh, one last thing… Now that you've found someone, how do you make contact with them on My developerWorks?
On their profile page, or from their virtual business card request to add them as a colleague. Once they’ve accepted your colleague invitation, it’s easy. Just go to their profile page and how you’ll see “Message this colleague” available as an option. Click on that link, type in your message and it will reach their email inbox.
In my first post on "Personality on the job"
, I talked about the first principle - Accepting that people are different! The second principle is "Know yourself".
A relationship is a two-way interaction, and you are one half of that interaction. It does no good to merely observe and understand others, if you don't understand the role you are playing too. One way to get to know yourself is to take a personality test. There are many out there, and I'll include a list at the bottom of my post. But taking a personality test isn't required - start by looking in the mirror!
Here are some questions to help you explore who you are on the job:
- What do you enjoy working on? What activities make you "lose time", looking up and realizing hours have gone by?
- What makes you energized? What are you most passionate about?
- What drags you down, sucks your energy, bums you out?
- What makes you see red?
- Do you like to work in quiet solitude? Or frenetic activity with lots of people around?
- Do you jump in and solve a problem on the fly, or think about it first?
- Do you feel compelled to work through every detail? Or do you prefer to look at the big picture?
- Do you tend to plan things out in advance? Or go with the flow?
- Is it natural for you to lead a team effort? Or do you like to join in and follow someone else?
- Do you like a defined roadmap? Or do you like to blaze your own trail?
Cut yourself some slack
Remember the first principle was accepting that people are different? Now, accept that you are different. You can change some things about yourself, and probably should, but many things are just the way you're hardwired. Don't fight it - work with it.
For example... I work with people alot, but I'm an introvert and I can get worn out. As much as I wish this wasn't the case - but it is, so I have to work with it and schedule in down time when I'm not in meetings. Make the most of what you've got
Once you understand basic things about yourself, you can start to put those to use. If you enjoy working on the start of a project, conceiving it in the brainstorming phase - try to find areas where you can apply that. If you're passionate about perfecting things with testing and trouble-shooting, look for opportunities to do that. If working on detailed reports drives you nuts and slows you down, see if you can pass that on to another team member who eats spreadsheets for lunch.
For example... I've discovered, I enjoy analyzing data. That might sound dry to you, but as a kid, I loved Nancy Drew books, and I think something about putting together puzzles and playing the detective gets me going! So I volunteer to do a little data analysis when the need comes up. Know your hot buttons - then cool down
We all have hot buttons that short circuit logic and go straight to our gut. They might make us feel frustrated, angry, or deflated. Many times, these hot buttons aren't serious, just the kind of thing that irks you because of your particular personality! Unfortunately, the instant emotions hot buttons evoke can cause a meltdown over something minor. Pinpoint your hot buttons, so that when they get triggered, you can remind yourself that this isn't worth arguing about - it's just a personality quirk.
For example... Years ago, I received a flaming ALL CAPS email that was very pushy and critical and it seemed the entire universe was copied on it. I felt like I was being run over with a bulldozer. I received wise advice to just pick up the phone and talk to the person, instead of trying to defend myself in email. Looking back, I can see that this is just the way this person dealt with everyone - it wasn't directed especially at me. And since I now recognize I can be thin-skinned, when things like this happen again, I don't take a forceful style personally and get upset - just focus on solving the problem.
Want to get to know yourself better? Here are three free online personality tests:4 question personality test
(for those of you short on time...)Keirsey Temperament SorterHumanMetrics Jung Typology Test
Have ever done a Google search on your own name?
If you have, then you’re already familiar with the concept of having an “online persona”, even if you don’t think of it in those words. I also think of it like an online reputation or online resume. Your online persona is your representation of who you are in the “online” world, and to a large degree you control it!
Your online persona can be personal, like your Facebook page or Flickr with your latest vacation pics. Or it could be professional, you might be on LinkedIn or have a blog about topics related to your area of expertise. And it's also all the blurry areas where your personal and professional life overlap. When you approach social networking from a professional perspective (which is what I'm focusing on here), building your online persona is like building your online resume.
Your online persona can be negative, neutral or positive. No one wants a negative online persona. So don't go there! Be conservative about what you share and post, what you meant to be private or personal can also get noticed in the professional arena. Social Networking mistakes that can break your career Tips on cleaning up your online reputation
You may start out just wanting to keep your online persona neutral. Maybe you don't want to see anything come up when you do your Google search. It's your choice to stay "off the grid" but consider whether you're missing out on an opportunity. If you choose to, building your online persona can give you an edge in a competitive job market.
How do you start building a positive online professional persona?Find the right sites to participate in
There are general networking sites that don't focus on a specific industry, such as LinkedIn. But you may be better served by seeking out an active site focused on your industry. Vertical social networks target a specific set of users who connect around a specific set of interests. If you’re a developer, IT pro or student, I'd recommend My developerWorks
as the place to start.Set up a "rock star" profile on the sites you participate in
Connect with other people on the sites you participate in
- Add a picture - consider how the picture represents you. Think about the community you're a part of and the impression you want to leave. You may just want to "be yourself". You may want it to be more formal or casual. Think about what you're wearing, your facial expression, etc. There's nothing wrong with a fun, casual picture, as long as it fits with how you want to represent yourself.
- Include as much information as you can about yourself - specifically your professional self. What are you good at? What projects have you worked on? What company do you work at? What's your current role? What are you interested in learning?
- Spend a little extra time on your profile. Someone may be reading this like they read your resume. Edit until you're happy with how it represents you (and don't forget spell check).
- Simple steps to a great profile on My developerWorks
Share what you know (and what you think, and what you care about)
- Look for people you know, people you work with now or in the past, and look for people with similar interests to yours.
- Invite them to be part of your network.
- Join groups based on your projects and skills, and interests to expand your network.
One step at a time
- Find ways to speak out in your community, such as group discussions, comments, and blogs.
- If you're not ready to start posting videos or writing a blog, start out by commenting, rating and bookmarking.
- Sharing your experience and opinions helps demonstrate your knowledge and experience and show off your innovative thinking.
It may seem overwhelming, but you don't have to craft your online professional persona overnight! Take it one step at a time, slowly. Get to know the communities you are a part of before jumping in. Think about what you want to accomplish. Do a little research and learn before you take each next step.Now, I'd love to hear from you... Are you actively trying to build your online professional persona? If not, why not? If yes, what are your challenges or obstacles? What's working for you?
I like to bake.
In my family, when there is a gathering, I get called upon to bring dessert. And I’m glad to do it every time. All this baking got me to thinking about what a cake has in common with social networking, social media, online communities, creating a following for yourself, etc.Making it is a messy job
In the beginning a cake just some flour, sugar, eggs and butter thrown together. It’s raw dough. It doesn’t look like a master creation, but that’s where you start. Starting out with social networking is no different. In the beginning.
You have some raw ingredients to work with:
- Who are you? What makes you special, unique? What do you want to share with the world – or keep private?
- What are you passionate about? Let’s face it, social media and networking can take a lot of your time. If you’re not passionate about something, why bother?
- What are you good at? What do you know a lot about?
- What social networking sites, tools, and applications do you want to use?
- How much time do you want to spend?
- What kind of outcome are you hoping for?
Take these raw ingredients and decide what flavor of cake you want to “bake up” in the world of social networking. You’re not always sure how it’s going to turn out (and sometimes it flops)
If you’ve spent any time at all baking, you know, that sometimes a cake just flops. No rhyme or reason. It just does. Forays into social networking are no different. Making a name for yourself, gaining a readership, and forming connections are things that come over time, with many repeated consistent ongoing efforts. Some of those efforts will flop. Not every blog posting will hit it big, not everyone will answer a question you pose in forum, or join in your group. It’s a process of experimentation – try to learn what works and what doesn’t. Then keep trying. When a cake flops, I don’t swear off baking, I just grab a fork and dig in, then try a new recipe next time. Same thing with social networking – don’t sweat it, just keep trying new things.There are lots of layers
Putting together a fancy cake sometimes involves layers of cake, fillings, frosting and glazes. Social networking isn’t as simple as creating a user id and password. It takes several steps, at least, to start to your social networking foundation. Start by building a solid profile – that’s your first layer. Then visit regularly and see what other people are doing. Start to get active yourself by making connections and joining groups and activities. And top it all off by coming back regularly to see what’s new and interact with your new network.Presentation is crucial
A well-presented cake has that little
extra something like toasted coconut or white chocolate curls. It's not
only pleasing to the taste, but to the eye as well. Successful social
networkers take similar pride in how they present themselves online.
Consider what you’d like your image to look like and whether it’s
inviting. Does your profile represent you well? Do you like your
photograph? How can you use graphics and words to bring extra polish to
your online activities?If you find the right place for it, it’ll get gobbled up fast
Take your cake to a gluten-free convention and you may not have many takers. But leave that same cake in a breakroom at my office building, and it will be gone fast. Same thing applies in social networking. You want to pick the right “virtual place” for your venture. If you want to make professional connections, My Space is probably not the best place for you! But social networking opportunities like My developerWorks
offer you the ability to connect with professionals interested in similar topics, in a learning and sharing environment. Who doesn’t like cake, but you can only eat so much in one sitting
When you bake a delicious cake, it can be tempting to go back for second helpings (and thirds, too). But eat too much cake at once and the enjoyment fades into a sugar hangover. When you’re first discovering social networking, it can be such a buzz that you overdo it and burn yourself out. I've spent many happy, addictive hours exploring new social networking sites (uh, Twitter, anyone?). But you don’t have to eat the cake all at once! There will be more tomorrow. Pace yourself, and plan to spend some time social networking each week. Wishing you all a slice of social networking heaven here on My developerWorks!
p.s. The cake above is an Apple-Spice Layer Cake with Caramel Swirl Icing from one of my favorites - The Pastry Queen, Rebecca Rather
When introverts and extroverts meet strange things can happen. They may end up completely misunderstanding each other. Or they may end up a powerful pair - after all, one talks a lot and one listens a lot - if that's not a match made in heaven, what is? But if you're not aware of the dynamics in play you may find yourself irritated by others differences or misunderstanding them.
What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?You might be an extrovert if...
- So first, you need to be able to recognize yourself. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
- Second, you need to be able to make some observations about the people you work with. Are they introverts or extroverts?
- Third, you need to be able to apply this knowledge at work to have the best possible relationship and outcome.
You might be an introvert if...
- You're the life of the party
- You like to talk (a lot)
- You get bored being alone
- You're energized from interacting with people
- You sometimes feel wiped out after spending time with people
- You need to retreat to solitude to recharge your batteries
- You think about what you say before saying it
- You're energized from time alone
These are polarities, but you can fit anywhere in the spectrum. You may not be one or the other - you could be right in the middle, not really a clear introvert or extrovert. That's okay! Just try to get a feel for where you fit. Now, what about the people you work with? Are they introverts or extroverts?
You can't necessarily know just by looking whether someone is introverted or extroverted, because it's not about their external social interactions, but about how they get their energy - whether they get energy from within, being by themselves or from without, being with others. But you often have clues...
In the extreme, extroverts often seem chatty, talkative, energetic, open, outgoing, uninhibited. They may like to work in a group and meet face to face to talk things through. Introverts may appear to be shy, reserved, quiet, thoughtful and serious. They may like to work alone and meet with others only when necessary.Now, once you understand where you fit and more about the people you're working with, how can you work better together?Working with extroverts:
Working with introverts:
- They like to talk things out and this is part of their process for solving a problem.
- They work things out as they speak, versus working things out before they speak.
- Don't expect them to come up with a fully formed plan right away, but to be working it out as they talk through it.
- White-boarding style brainstorming sessions are a good forum for this.
- Be prepared to spend extra time listening.
- Be prepared to spend time listening about non-work related personal topics, but set boundaries if you need to, if extroverted socializing starts to intrude on getting your work done.
My personal experiences...
- They like to think things out before they speak. This can lead to long pauses and blank looks as they are considering what to say.
- If you ask them a question, they may not be ready to answer right away, but may want to go off and consider it first.
- Realize that just because they're not talking, doesn't mean they're not paying attention or trying to solve the problem.
- Extroverts may dominate group discussions, so don't miss out on the good things an introvert might share. If they're not speaking up, you might ask "What do you think about this, ______?"
- Help them mentally prepare for a meeting by sending out an agenda and meeting materials ahead of time.
- If you need them to share something specific in a meeting, give them forewarning.
- Don't be put off by their reserved nature - go out of your way to get to know them better.
I am an introvert. Others have had the impression that I am shy or stuck up and as a child I was nicknamed "bookworm". Here are some of the things on the job I've discovered that help me out. My work is often full of interpersonal interaction. Sometimes I am overwhelmed and need to regroup. I try to include downtime to think things through. I also try to balance out my workload during the day and the week - so if I have many meetings I also spend time doing solitary work that involves things like writing or number-crunching. I'm learning to be more comfortable not forcing myself to come up with an answer when I'm put on the spot, but instead to say "Let me think about that and get back to you". I find I do better in meetings when I'm prepared for them ahead of time, so if I'm leading a meeting, I put together an agenda, so I can stay focused. I enjoy working with extroverts I've encountered, but it helps to recognize and accept their unique differences. I'm prepared when I'm talking with certain people, for the conversation to be a little longer and range a little further afield, but knowing that in advance makes it easier for me.What about you? Are you an introvert or extrovert? How does it affect your style at work?
I'm excited to unveil the first of what I hope are many interviews with members of My developerWorks. Let me know what you think about it...
This week, we're putting the spotlight on Gary Barnett.
Gary is the technology analyst and CTO at the Bathwick Group
and he's recently started a blog on My developerWorks
. Learn more about Gary in the interview below and you can also find out more about him here: Visit his profile and add him to your colleagues
-Visit his blog
- Follow on Twitter What project are you most proud of ?
I was once put in charge of a post-prod support team of 60 developers, with an 8 month backlog of work-items.
In 6 months we'd managed to reduce the backlog to 1 day for Severity ones, and two weeks for all others.
It was the toughest job I've ever had - the team I joined was demoralised, undervalued and generally unhappy but we got it done with a combination of pizza and coke, reducing the team to 20 people and returning the others to development, weekly prizes (one for the biggest effort, one for the best fix and one for the biggest screw-up) and a really really strict rule about bouncing proper bugs back to the people who'd had the temerity to put them into production in the first place...
Regarding the prizes - As it happens, HR stopped me from taping a giant inflatable banana to the monitor of the person who made the biggest screw-up in the preceding week, because they were worried I was creating a "hostile working environment" - despite the fact that I'd had it taped to my monitor more times than anyone else!Have you ever invented something?
Not quite "invented" But I've just finished the prototype for a circuit board with an on-board microcontroller and GPS chip that can control up to 6 servos either via "autopilot" or radio-modem. A project that began when my son got a radio controlled boat for
his birthday and asked if he could turn the lights on and off and operate the crane remotely.
I often wonder how many projects begin with the words"Sure! How hard can that be?"Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
Not normally a gadget person, but I am a crazed iPhone addict and evangelist. There's very little in the iPhone that RIM or Nokia couldn't have done before - But Apple just out-designed them.... now the best that RIM can do is create an "imitation iPhone" (and IMHO the Storm blows when compared to the iPhone). A very important lesson in innovation - you can't do it once and then stop, you have to keep on doing it.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Too many to list! I have nearly 100 blogs in my RSS feeder, I follow 50 people on twitter. I do have to mention, though, James Governor's "Monkchips" (http://www.redmonk.com/jgovernor/) very smart, interesting guy who I admire a lot (Of course I don't agree with him all the time... but he's worth a read).
I'm on twitter as "thinkovation"Who was your first service provider
In 1988 I snaffled my girlfriend's university dial-up account, then joined Compuserve.When did you first access the internet?
1989 - Don't remember calling it "the internet" back then!Email or text messaging?
Oh lots of both! Love texting tho.Star Wars or Star Trek?
Do you like things open or closed? This is the essence of "Perceiving" vs. "Judging", one of the dimensions in understanding personality in Keirsey or Myers-Briggs types. This preference can have a powerful effect on your working relationships. I should know - I'm a judger, and my husband a perceiver, and it makes for an interesting dynamic, but it certainly helps to recognize our differences. If you don't know what your preference is or you can't spot it in the people you work with, it can lead to misunderstanding.What about you? Are you a perceiver or a judger?
You might be an perceiver if...
- You feel more comfortable keeping your options open.
- You like to gather lots of information and look at things from every possible angle before you're comfortable making a decision, and even then you're not quite sure.
- You like to keep things loose, you don't like definite plans, and you like to decide at the last possible minute.
- Sometimes it takes a deadline or an outside force to make you commit to a path.
- You like to do things on your own time schedule, without lots of rules and regulation.
- You often "lose time" when you get into the flow of something in the moment, and thus you might often be late.
You might be an judger if...
Now, what about the people you work with? Are they perceivers or judgers?
- You feel more comfortable when things are decided.
- You quickly come to conclusions.
- You don't like to sit around and ponder or debate, you like to figure out what the action plan is.
- You like to have a plan and a schedule!
- To-do lists are your specialty and you might be an organization freak who prizes your label maker.
- You may be a little ritualistic and rigid and like things done "a certain way".
- You know exactly what time it is, what you're doing when, and you hate being late so you build extra time in your schedule for unforeseen delays.
Perceivers often seem easygoing and casual and they may have a distaste for anything resembling structure, bureaucracy, processes and deadlines. Perceivers often think about long-range implications and imagine possible pitfalls. A perceiver might bring up every possibility in meetings - "What if this happened? Have you thought about this? Have we looked into this? Isn't so and so doing something just like this- we should check with them?". In their exploration of possibilities, they may overlook critical actions. Perceivers often work well when spontaneously rolling with the punches, jumping from one task to the next without a clear plan.
Judgers are often naturals when it comes to project management because they prefer to have clear plans and deadlines. Judgers often think about short-term actions and defining next steps. A judger often pushes for closure in meetings - they want to know "What's the goal? What's the measurement? What's our time line? Who's going to do what?" In their push for closure, they may miss broader implications. Judgers need everything mapped out before they begin working on it. Now, once you understand where you fit and more about the people you're working with, how can you work better together?
Working with perceivers:
- They may want to gather a lot of data and look at things from every angle before reaching a conclusion. If you're a judger, don't try to force them to come to a conclusion prematurely, instead, use their natural tendency as a strength so your team can gather as much information as possible and have a better plan.
- They may feel uncomfortable having deadlines and tasks assigned to them without their agreement. For instance, they may want to figure out how long they think something will take before agreeing to a deadline. Respect this desire and don't force them to commit to something if they are not comfortable.
- You may need to push for clear ownership, commitment and deadlines, but do so respectfully and give them a chance to be part of the decision.
- You may also need to check in and provide reminders of deadlines, realizing that perceivers can lose track of time.
- Give perceivers tasks that play to their strengths and allow them to shine - you might intentionally ask them to look at broader implications or do competitive research and give them a chance to explore these areas before trying to define an execution plan.
Working with judgers:
My personal experiences...
- They may want to plan everything out in annoying and confounding detail - or at least it seems that way to perceivers! Relax and let them do the hard work - it's what they're good at, and enjoy the fact that you don't have to manage the giant spreadsheet.
- If you're being pressed by a judger to give an answer or commitment you're not ready to give, there is an easy solution. Don't argue, just give them a date by when you'll be ready and ask them if that's okay. Remember - they are looking for closure - so if you can't close it today, give them a date that you will be ready and they will be satisfied.
- If you feel a judger is reaching a premature conclusion, again, don't argue with them. Try to briefly and specifically state your concerns, then ask if you can do more research and come back with more information by a specific date before making a decision.
- If they're over-engineering or making plans or processes too regimented or complicated, don't just show general disgust or frustration, but instead ask them to make specific changes and see if you can reach a mutual solution.
- Give judger's tasks that play to their strengths - you might ask them to manage a project, define a new process, or lead weekly meetings.
I am a judger. I don't have a label maker, but I make a to-do list at least once a day, even on weekends. I hate being late and I know what time it is even without a watch. I like to know exactly where I'm aiming. I get frustrated when things are confusing. Here are some of the things on the job I've discovered that help me out. Because I have such a strong drive for closure and definition, I've learned I have to temper it and balance it. If I'm working on a project with other people, my first inclination may be to define the actions and the owners and move on, and I might get frustrated when a perceiver in the group starts bringing up all the exceptions and problems and what ifs. But I'm learning that if I don't stop and listen, not only am I riding rough shod over a valuable team member, I'm also missing out on valuable information! So I'm learning to allow time in my schedule for this kind of open discussion and debate before getting down to brass tacks.
For me, again, my goal is to make the most of my strengths and other people's as well and try not to impose my personal style and preferences on everyone else! While judgers help move things forward, they can often move things forward in the wrong direction just to keep things moving! Perceivers provide the counterweight and they are always there to keep watching, commenting and critiquing to make sure the direction is right. Sometimes that means a new observation or concern raised by a perceiver completely up-ends a plan already defined by a judger, but if you keep your perspective, you can see how we complement each other.
What about you? Are you a judger or perceiver? How does it affect your style at work?
Welcome to my new, and I admit it, FIRST blog!
The truth and nothing but the truth... I'm not a developer and I'm not a techie, so don't expect any geeky posts from me. But I love geeks! I've een working with all kinds of technical geniuses at IBM for the last ten years, from web developers to ISVs to our brilliant team of people here who made My developerWorks possible. And I find that us marketing professional types (I fall in that bucket btw) have a nice yin-yang relationship with technical types. We appreciate each others' strengths and complement each others' weaknesses. Opposites attract and that's why I've named my blog "Yin meets yang".
This year I've had the privilege of working on the launch of My developerWorks - working with a multi-faceted crew, collaborating on everything. So while I'm no techie, I can't resist blogging out here on My developerWorks, because I want to get to know the technical community up close and personal, plus I want to share ideas about how to get the most out of My developerWorks because that's a topic I'm passionate about!
So what can you expect from my blog?
Tips, hints, and tricks on how to use My developerWorks -- things like how to find people who "know stuff", how to amp up blog readership, and how to build your inner circle.
My explorations, discoveries and thoughts about social media, social networking, and Web 2.0.
What I'm learning about playing nice with others and getting things done in a 21st century, fast-paced, highly-matrixed virtual team workplace.
My thoughts about personality in the workplace (I am a geek about Myers-Briggs testing, okay?).
Discussions about working OTTO (that's what we at IBM call "Other than traditional office) - I'm starting to work from home and still learning how to make it work for me.
I'd love to get to know you better! So please, come get to know me on my profile and add me to your colleagues. And on my blog, please leave comments, and let me know if there's anything you want to hear more about!
This week, get to know Ben Lieberman
, principal architect of BioLogic Software Consulting. Ben is a long-time author of developerWorks articles too numerous to mention, with the majority focused on UML and software modeling. He's also started blogging on My developerWorks. Learn more about Ben in the interview below and you can also find out more about him here: Profile
- Search for articles by Ben Lieberman
Tell me about the biggest problem you've solved...
To date the biggest problem I have solved was the ability to automatically program cellular mobile units in the field. The problem involved integration between three separate systems (billing, over-the-air signaling, and mobile equipment database), and making sure the transaction to the mobile unit worked correctly 99+% of the time!What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on multiple projects for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), putting your tax dollars to work. Of interest to me is the current project to integrate a rule-driven engine for the management of mine health samples with the existing centralized data management system.What inspires you in your work?
Primarily the ability to work with motivated teams, on interesting and challenging projects.
Describe your favorite IT project
My current favorite is the mobile workforce support application (Source-Forge: Maestro) I am in the process of designing and coding; I think this project will totally rock ... as soon as I can really devote myself :-) Learn more about this project in this developerWorks articleHow are you using social networking today?
Not much, I have a partially complete Facebook page, and I am registered in LinkedIn. Otherwise, I'm not a big fan of texting, IMing or other interruptions to my day. On the other hand, I do participate in Blogs, online journals, and discussions!What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I am registered for several Podcasts (try out "This Week In Science"
, very cool), and I like to follow the NASA space shuttle RSS feed
. I am an occasional visitor/contributor to various Java websites (Java Ranch
is one of the best for new Java coders - and even old hands!) Do you know your Myers-Briggs or Kiersey personality type? Care to share?ENTJ (although I have INFJ tendencies).
Of course, if you check out my personality type it reads as "Field Marshal" - so toe the line sailor!
What type of gadgets do you use?
iPod Touch (when my teenage boy lets me use it), MacBook Pro, and your basic cell phone; I am "small electronic gadget" impaired. I am the target of much derision from my more tech-headed friends.What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
The launch of My developerWorks
of course! Well, that and the Hubble space telescope repair.Thanks Ben!
This week I'm highlighting a new member of My developerWorks, Suma Shastry
. Suma has authored several articles on developerWorks
related to DB2 and she's been an enthusiastic presence in My developerWorks
with her new blog.
Learn more about Suma in the interview below and you can also find out more about her on her Profile
and her Blog.
Articles authored by Suma Shastry: IBM DB2 Content Manager security model essentialsHow to go hand-in-hand with DB2 and InformixDB2 performance tuning using the DB2 Configuration AdvisorWhat was your first job?
I joined IBM right after my graduation. I had to design DB2 Database tables and write stored procedures for an internal project.Describe your favorite IT project.
First one was test automation of DB2 Control Center testing. During this project, I got a chance to lead a team and hence learning all the leading activities including scheduling tracking was fun. 2nd favorite project was IDM 4.0.2 release work. Knowledge transition was still going on, when we were asked if we could take up the challenge of releasing the product before the transition end date! We took the challenge and we did release the product successfully.
Describe a normal day for you.
For the past 6 months I have been working out of home. It's kind of difficult to spell out a "Normal Day" for a working mother with 2 kids:-). Every day is different. I am mainly occupied with the following but not limited to - cooking food, getting my first daughter ready for school, testing the product, planning for future releases of product, reviews of plans or test cases, taking care of my 9 month old daughter, couple of meetings, lots of sametime chat with team mates, catching up my friends and recently exploring My developerWorks which has kind of become an addiction :-)How do you use developerWorks?
Since I have been part of projects which used IBM products, I've been associated with developerWorks (dW) for very long now. Be it articles, redbooks or downloading fix packs for the products that we use, dW is the place that I visit most often.What's your experience with social networking so far?
I haven't been using social networking sites until last year I guess. Its been good so far. I mainly use FaceBook on the personal front to catch up with friends and now My developerWorks to catch up with technical stuff. The coolest thing about social networking is...
I can be in touch with as many people as possible sitting in one place. It's like a get together party where every one can pour in at one place, rather me having to go and visit one by one.The biggest problem with social networking is...
Spam friend requests and at times the public image that you may carry.
What publications or websites do you read often?
Mostly, developerWorks. At times, I Google to get what I am looking for and read the resulted web pages.What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
My developerWorks launchThanks Suma!
What makes you an expert?
It's a tricky question we've been thinking about as we consider definitions for what "expert" means in the My developerWorks
community. It's one of the things I think makes My developerWorks so cool - you can find developers who know things, who've already done things, and you can learn from them. But one of the questions that comes up is what it means if we say someone is an "expert".
It's possible to be too vague about it. For example, I could declare myself to be an expert at making desserts (because this is something I know too much about!) But what does this self-declaration actually mean? Without definition it could mean anything. Does it mean I've made a certain quantity of desserts? Does it mean I've mastered certain techniques? Does it mean I have a broad scope of dessert expertise - that I've made a wide variety of international desserts? Does it mean I've graduated from a culinary school?
But it's also possible to be too specific about defining an "expert". I could say I can't declare myself to be an expert at desserts unless I meet a complicated set of criteria. There could be various levels and subcategories of expertise and specific criteria and tests for each one that have to be tested and judged by an impartial third party.
As we think about defining the word "expert" in My developerWorks, we struggle between these two extremes. Should we leave the definition of "expert" loose and undefined risking it being meaningless? Or should we define it within an inch of it's life and make it near impossible to achieve? We don't have the answer yet, but in the meantime, this got me to thinking about expertise itself. Having talked to some (very humble, in my opinion) members of My developerWorks, they have said "Well, I'm not an expert... I don't have anything to share with the community... I'm not that advanced... I like to watch and learn from other people who know more than me." I understand and can relate to this feeling at times!
But what happens if you start to think of expertise as a continuum, instead of a definitive label? You might be reluctant to declare yourself an "expert", but if you think about it as a continuum you may have more to share than you realize.
For example, I've spent countless hours over many years working on Lotus Notes, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications. If you asked me if I was an expert, I might cringe and say no. But I've actually picked up many tips and my own personal ways of working with these applications to make things faster and simpler in the work I do every day. I might not be a textbook or manual on these applications, but when it all comes down to it, I have alot of simple things I can share with other people using them. After all, that's how I learned many of them - from another user who was willing to share what they knew! When I think about it, I've learned alot more about technology from people than from reading manuals.
Maybe what you know is more important than attaching a label to it. Maybe if you think of expertise as a continuum, you have more to share than you think. So I'm happy to declare, I may not be an expert, but I have a lot to share!What do you think? What does "expertise" mean to you? If you're looking for an "expert" in My developerWorks to help you with something, what kind of expertise are you expecting?
This week, I'm happy to turn the My developerWorks
community spotlight onto Tamir Gefen
. He's both a technical innovator and entrepreneur as the founder of GoMidjets
, offering end-to-end solutions in the CM and ALM field with add-on products for Rational ClearCase
Learn more about Tamir in the interview below and you can also find more about him here: My developerWorks profile
- TwitterWhat are you currently working on?
Since founding GoMidjets
a year ago I have been totally involved in developing the product and the business. Right now we are adding new features to our three Rational ClearCase add-on products. We've also been busy, updating our service offering to customers using IBM Rational products so we can give them best support and service possible. We're also active in opening up new markets, not to mention looking after and deepening our relationship with our customers and business partners.What inspires you in your work?
First and foremost is the excited feedback I receive from customers and particularly in hearing how we've solved their problems. Just knowing we have simplified and automated processes to make other people work faster and more efficiently, gives me a real kick. I think that giving my clients a better working environment is my main inspiration.How do you define success?
For me, success is making your dream come true and enjoying every minute of it!What project are you most proud of ?
That would be my largest project to date- the building a large and complex CM \ ALM system, from scratch for a major international customer. I led the project from planning to implementation. This system has been up and running for two years, serving a sizeable population of users.Have you ever invented something?
To date, I've invented five add-on products for configuration and change management systems. That's where I started out. Only after I initiated the concepts did I establish Gomidjets, which I' now certain is going to be a leading provider of such add-ons.How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks
as a focused network to communicate with professionals from the Gurus to the users. Though developerWorks, I get to hear what people have to say, learn new ideas, get technical information and more. I like to think I don't just gain from it but also contribute. More than anything, I use it to answer questions in Rational ClearCase and ClearQuest forums
. I enjoy solving users' problems. Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ...
I've been a blogger
for the last year and a half. It demands lots of effort, but I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts and I find it very enriching. The feedback and comments I receive give me insight into the state of mind of others. I now tweet too - for the last few months. It enables me to write micro-blogging insights, share ideas and help others. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?www.techcrunch.com
(Reviewing new Internet products and companies)www.techpitch.com
(Business Technology Showcase)http://twitter.com/dzone
(Fresh links for developers)
I also like to follow funny people like http://twitter.com/sockingtonWhat type of gadgets do you use?
Well, to be honest, I'm not your typical gadget kind of guy. I only use my mobile cell phone and laptop for working!What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
That would be Modu
, which is claimed to be the world's lightest mobile phone, with a vision of bringing a fundamental change to the dynamics of the personal communication world. For me, that's really cool!Thanks Tamir!
This week get to know a new member of My developerWorks in this interview with Brian Benz
. He's an XML enthusiast who's also a blogger, author, and entrepreneur. Learn more about Brian in the interview below and you can also find more about him here: Brian's My developerWorks profile
- TwitterWhat was your first job?
I started work quite young - my first job was at 14 working in a ski shop installing bindings and lots of maintenance work that ski shops don’t do anymore due to product improvements. Is that far enough off topic? How did you get started in the IT industry?
I always had an interest in computers. My first computer was a commodore 64 with a cassette drive. In 1980/81 I developed a few functions on an Apple II using Applesoft basic, but that was just a hobby. My first real paid tech job was in London, UK, in the early 80’s programming and maintaining business functions on IBM System 32, 34 and 38. In my spare time I started automating some tedious manual tasks on what was an unused novelty in the office at the time - an original IBM PC using Lotus 1-2-3 and dBase. The more I worked on the PC, the faster I could do my job, and the more spare time I had to figure out how to automate more tasks – I was hooked! What are you currently working on?
Several client projects, building some XML, Lotus Notes and Data Analytics products, setting up 2 new companies and Web sites (http://www.benztech.com
), creating a new XML format for sharing unstructured data (http://www.udml.org
), and working on an update to the XML Programming Bible. What's the most fun project you've worked on?
Definitely creating UDML. It’s nice to work with a clean slate and do something that you think could make life easier for a lot of people. What are a few of your favorite development tools and why?
The absolute best tools I’ve ever worked with are the Altova suite of tools, especially XMLSpy (http://www.altova.com
) . Anyone who works with XML, SOA, or even standards-compliant Web content development should try these tools and see why for themselves. Other than that, Eclipse tools are what I work with the most, plus Microsoft Visual Studio, SharePoint Designer, InfoPath, and IBM Lotus Domino Designer. Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
Not a gadget person per se, but I love my iPhone. The apps and music functions let me connect to my music library, friends, social networks, and the Web in ways that I haven’t with other phones. It’s actually changed my life in a few ways, all for the positive. How do you use developerWorks?
Mostly to connect with my fellow developers and share tips and advice. Like most geeks these days, I don’t know everything, but I know where I can find everything quickly. developerWorks is definitely one of the resources I use to learn quickly when I need to. Are you a blogger? Author? On Twitter?
My blog is Software Soapbox at http://ww.softwaresoapbox.com
I’ve published three books - one for IBM and two for Wiley. Also many magazine articles and presentations. My full list of publications can be found at my personal Web site at http://brianbenz.com
I’m also on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/brianbenz
, on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bbenz
, FaceBook at http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Benz/1412015686
, and FriendFeed at http://friendfeed.com/bbenz
. What are some of your favorite Twitter accounts to follow?
It’s a mix of tech, local news, and fun. Aside from @developerworks, I also follow @craignewmark, @davewiner, @forkflylasvegas, @edbrill, @cnnbrk, @WholeFoods, @jowyang, @dsearls, @TechCrunch, @CaesarsPalace, @happn_in_vegas, @xbrlblog Thanks Brian!