The Cult of Personality

Sept. 1, 2020
Consider the possibilities if we took our personalities more seriously in our work environment. 

Human behavior fascinates me. Whether we’re talking megalomaniacs or passive-aggressive tendencies, I’m constantly trying to understand: why is this person this way? How did they get there? And, most importantly, how do I deal with them?

I’m certain I haven’t taken every personality test there is, but I have taken enough of them to know that I’m an INFJ and an Enneagram 1, wing 8. I’m also an Aquarius. Independently, these aspects don’t mean a whole heck of a lot, except they do all have one thing in common: I’m the walking embodiment of advocacy.

You’re probably wondering, Great, Erin, what, exactly, does all of this mean and why should I care?

Well first of all, it means my job and I are a great fit for each other. Both my mother and I agree, I’m the best darn marketer and writer you could find on the planet goshdarnit! Sarcasm aside, it means that I’m all about helping to find solutions to solve the pain points.

When I look at the Food Processing website, all of our content, our inventory of white papers, ehandbooks, videos, etc. I’m not just thinking “wow, that’s a lot of stuff.” I’m thinking: If I’m Person X of ABC Company, am I going to be able to find what I need to help me do my job better? If I can’t answer that affirmatively, then that’s where I hone in on making improvements.

From my bosses’ perspective, they’d tell you I’m normally three of four steps ahead of everyone else. Their jobs become slightly more difficult when they have to reign in my creativity. Total bummer to have to do, but that’s life in corporate America, right?

How Does This Apply To You?

My team knows me pretty well. They know my personality and my affinity for solving those pain points. We work together like a well-oiled machine and we feed off of each other’s strengths.

How many people that you work with could you say the same thing about?

Over the course of working on the Food For Thought Podcast, I’ve talked with two of our three R&D Team Winners. Both Del Monte Foods and Good Foods said a very similar thing about their winning team members: They played off of each other’s strengths.

I have no idea if any of these teams took personality tests or if they walk around with Enneagram numbers taped to their hairnets, but I do believe there’s something to be said for honoring your teammates’ personalities and working with them, rather than against them.

Consider for a second how much more productive you could be if you knew that the hard-to-read guy in the corner isn’t really a curmudgeon, but really an INTJ who has had so many of his ideas shot down in the past that he stopped opening up about them. How would you go about ensuring his voice was heard?

Consider the possibilities if we took our personalities more seriously in how we interact with each other at work.

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