Being the young, fun, progressive company that we are, we take personality evaluations VERY seriously around here. During our onboarding process, we have new hires complete the Myers-Briggs, Gallup Institute-StrengthsFinder, and DISC assessment before their first day.
Why do we do this? A) When you understand your wants, needs, and non-negotiables, you understand how to optimize your workflow to create positivity, creativity, and deeper fulfillment. B) It’s just plain awesome to read about “why you do what you do,” and arm yourself with data-driven excuses for your road rage and other shortcomings. (“It’s an element of my personality archetype!”)
But in all seriousness, the beauty of having access to this kind of self-discovery, is deep-diving into how our differences make us stronger as a team. Today we’re going to take a closer look at the relationship between two very different personality types, and how their teamwork makes the dream work.
As you might imagine, Digital Marketing Firms draw an overwhelming number of artists, designers, photographers, and general creatives; Or in Myers-Briggs terms, ENFJs (aka, the Protagonist). At Elevate United, about 50% of us are ENFJs.
If ENFJs were an animal, they would be a unicorn. Why? For starters, because they dubbed themselves that...but more accurately, this personality type possess an otherworldly combination of golden personality traits such as:
● Very charismatic
● Skilled imitator
● Natural leader
But every silver lining has a cloud, so what’s the flipside to these powerful wielders of whimsy?
● Sometimes too selfless
● Very idealistic
● Often too sensitive
● Vulnerable to criticism
● May find it difficult to make tough decisions
● Highly fluctuating self-esteem
● Always need to have a cause
To recap: We’re in the business of creativity, and we’re well stocked with creatives. But what about the rest of us? How do you navigate the herd when you weren’t born with a magical horn or rainbow tail?
As an ENTJ (the Commander) type, I prefer to think of myself as more of a majestic, barrel-chested, black war horse charging down the hill and plowing through weapons of resistance left and right.
Some qualities of the ENTJ are:
● High self-confidence
● Quick and versatile mind
● Strategic thinker
● Jack of all trades
● Charismatic and inspiring
● Honest and direct
● Very efficient
The downside of the war horse:
● May be cold and ruthless
● Poor handling of emotions
● Loathe highly structured environments
Now you may be thinking to yourself, “this sounds like a disaster.” And you’re not wrong. The potential for disaster is imminent anytime you put two people with opposing views in the same room. But what if we shifted from what’s imminent to what’s possible? Sure, there will be times when the very efficient, honest and direct communication style of the ENTJ takes the rainbow right out of the unicorn’s mane; and when the idealistic, sensitive ENFJ will occasionally put a knot in the war horse’s tail, but let’s look at the top four ways these types benefit each other.
- Energy Conservation - Having a no-nonsense communicator on the team takes the pressure off of those who prefer to create art instead of boundaries. The war horse protects the unicorn’s creative energy from demanding clients and scattered co-workers. On the flipside, war horses consider emotions to be an energy drain when they’re in their productive zone. Unicorns excel in emotional intelligence, and can create a buffer between the war horse and the rest of the team when they’re not feeling all the feels.
- Personal Improvement - The unicorn’s gentle and selfless temperament often rubs off on the war horse over time, resulting in a force field that neutralizes their less positive attributes, and creates a harmonious work environment. Meanwhile, the war horse empowers the unicorn to be bold, and believe in him or herself.
- Structured Creativity - When the creative ideation of the unicorn and the strategic systems of the war horse intertwine in a moment of cosmic collaboration, time stops, the air fills with the sound of butterfly wings, and the work you put out as a team is truly excellent (aka, clients are happy and everyone gets paid).
- Momentum - Unicorns tend to get overwhelmed when there’s a big decision to be made. Often the artist is deeply connected to his or her art, making it difficult to be objective or decisive. Enter war horses, with their surgical approach to decision making, and hard lean towards logic. They can often separate feeling from action and move things forward when they’ve stalled. Then the unicorns coat everything in glitter so no one gets offended.
While all personality archetypes have not been represented in this post, these scenarios represent a universal truth: When a group of people optimize their strengths, and cover each other's weaknesses, the results in the workplace—and in life—are powerful.