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ENFJ

Living and working with ENFJ preferences

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Living and working with ENFJ preferences

One of the most common criticisms about personality type theory is that it puts individuals in a box. I don’t see it that way. Jung wrote about “classifications” and how having a name for things helps us group them and understand them better. Our brain, after all, is a pattern-seeking, meaning-making organ. Our brains are lazy at that, always looking for the most comfortable path, the fastest solution

One of the most common expressions in our language is the phrase, “I am” – closely followed by “you are”. These sound rather final and can be quite damning, if you’re not careful about the words that follow. “I am empathetic.” – “You are organized.” Our thoughts create our realities, and often it’s this finite wording, “You’re an INTP” that makes it sound like someone puts us in a box.

A basic representation to describe a complex behavioral and psychic energy pattern, like e.g. four letters, makes understanding ourselves and others easier. So when I talk about ENFJ or any other Types, I know they hide a treasure trove of intricate patterns and systems. Four letters don’t describe a whole person, certainly not without taking also the cultural background, personal experiences, hobbies, education, family of origin etc into account. I try to use verbs – to indicate the activity of the mental process, the energetic tension that is held between the two opposing sides of preferences.

ENFJ Strengths

The literature is very generous in describing the many skills people with ENFJ preferences generally possess. That is handy and helpful, because not many would go out and proclaim their good qualities. Not if there’s a risk to be seen as arrogant or offending someone – and there’s always that risk.

John Beebe developed a model where he linked archetypes to the eight Jungian functions, depending on their position in the Type code. In other words, Jung described eight ways in which we use our brains to meet our psychological needs. All people of all types use all eight functions – but with a different order of preference. The higher up a function is, the more we have conscious access and control – to the point that it may become automatic and we no longer see that process as a skill. The lower down a function is in our Type’s particular hierarchy, the less conscious access we have, and the more likely it is for that process to burst out when we’re stressed.

Good with people

ENFJs lead with extraverted Feeling (Fe). Fe is the hero, or heroine as it were, of our functions, and it’s all about harmonizing and connecting. Establishing and maintaining relationships. Pleasing others. Sharing our values.

People with ENFJ preferences generally not only connect well with individuals, but also with the wider community. Society at large. How to make the world a better place. There is a love and understanding and empathy in our hearts that sometimes makes it feel fit to burst. Until a split-second later someone cuts in line and we’re reminded of why we can’t be friends with everyone.

ENFJ Blind spots

Like every other type, we find ways to get in our own way of development.

Not so good with listening

ENFJ’s auxiliary or second function introverted Intuiting (Ni). Ni takes the place of the “good parent”, the process we use to be helpful and supportive, and it’s all about knowing and foreseeing. Having insights about plans. Knowing what is best for people. Sharing our visions.

People with ENFJ preferences have a tendency to “should” all over themselves. Everyone, including them, should be doing things the right way. Intellectually, we know that there’s more than one way. But each way comes with its own piece of judgment, and there is one way that will simply be that bit closer to the perfection we seek.

Much like parents knows what’s best for their child, people with ENFJ preferences (think they) know what’s best for everyone they live and work with. That can get in the way of truly listening when a friend unburdens himself. When a leader distributes roles and responsibilities to work on the latest project.

Development

Resisting the urge to blurt out “here’s what I would do” takes effort. ENFJ insights generally come from a loving place of “I mean well; I want to help you”, but they can get in the way of keeping harmony in the relationship – which is the foremost goal.

So, in time, it’s worth practicing to bite your tongue. Even though you may have an ample library of evidence where your hunches came true, and even though you know that you could have saved your friend weeks or months of agony if they had just done what you told them the first time.

Tricky thing about adults – your child has to learn from you, but peers tend to want to learn for themselves. 

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Coaching for impact - Leveraging Type

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Coaching for impact - Leveraging Type

Bernie Goldstein, MBA, PCC, gave a presentation at the New York chapter of the Association for Psychological Type (APT NYC) in October. I really enjoyed the session and learned a lot about how different personality types prefer to coach.

Schopenhauer said that people define the limits of their world by the limits of their own vision. What type was Schopenhauer?

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An American ENFJ in Russia

I'm in Miami at the Association of Psychological Type International Conference this week, learning about Type and presenting on how personality type can help expats prepare for international assignments, and how important it is to know your clients' cultural and personality background to coach them most effectively. I'm going to share a new profile each day this week of expats who have filled out my survey or whom I have interviewed.

You shared your experiences so generously, thank you very much, I truly appreciate it.

ENFJ in Russia_world

ENFJ in Russia_world

ENFJ in Russia

ENFJ in Russia

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An American ENFJ in Australia

I'm in Miami at the Association of Psychological Type International Conference this week, learning about Type and presenting on how personality type can help expats prepare for international assignments, and how important it is to know your clients' cultural and personality background to coach them most effectively. I'm going to share a new profile each day this week of expats who have filled out my survey or whom I have interviewed.

You shared your experiences so generously, thank you very much, I truly appreciate it.

ENFJ in Australia_world

ENFJ in Australia_world

ENFJ in Australia

ENFJ in Australia

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5 Words to Describe the USA

Hello! Thanks for visiting and please enjoy the free info below! 

Just fyi, you can find me over at www.dorisfullgrabe.com from now on, where I'm making custom lettering and calligraphy. 

This archive will be discontinued next month. 

Pic Credit: jurvetson
Pic Credit: jurvetson

Culture is to people like water is to fish.

We’re in it all the time, but we can’t see it, and we’re certainly not aware of it. We don’t think about our culture – until it’s not there anymore.

Many expats or international teams going through cross-cultural trainings are asked to define what their culture is. If nobody has ever asked you that before, this question can stump you.

I’ve been asking my clients and research participants to describe their country in 5 words, and here are some of their responses.

5 Words to describe the USA

From an ENTP who grew up in the North East

  • Education
  • Work hard
  • Do your best
  • Fairness
  • Justice

From an ENFP who grew up in the Midwest

  • Reliable
  • Responsible
  • Solid
  • Guarded
  • “Old Suburban”

From an ENFJ who grew up in Manhattan, NYC

  • Freedom-loving
  • Important to protect rights of the individual
  • Success is what you do
  • Land of Opportunity
  • Spiritual Poverty

From an INTP who grew up in the Midwest

  • “Pioneer values”
  • Helping neighbors
  • Very friendly but stays on the surface
  • Honest
  • “We don’t do the stuff that you hear about on Oprah.”

What would you add? :-)

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ENFJ and Graphology

ENFJENFJs are often described as gracious, imaginative, congenial, energetic, idealistic, supportive, and curious. Their dominant function is extraverted Feeling Fe (aka harmonizing) supported by introverted Intuiting Ni (knowing). We had two ENFJs in the room, both Gemini (!), and I was one of them.

Apparently, many ENFJs enjoy writing with a pencil or a light ballpoint. The writing instrument will give you information about the person as well, and in this case ENFJs like to apply only little pressure. Full lower loops in the g's and j's indicate a sociability. If letters are connected and the writing is fluid, that's an indication for making connections with other people.

My sample showed a slightly larger letter size and a script that was not overly right-slanting. In fact, my slant and writing in general was very variable, indicating changeability and chameleon-like qualities. This really resonated because I tend to be who I think the person / client / situation needs me to be. At the same time, the sample showed original thought, creativity, and healthy word spacing.

Many of my letters have straight lower lines instead of lower loops. The straight line, e.g. in the y's indicate that it's ok to be alone, and in fact I enjoy being alone. That resonated, too.

Both our samples showed clear communication in that our capital letters don't have much of a preamble or lead-in stroke. We basically start our conversations like we start our letters: jumping right in.

I hope you've enjoyed the little excursion into graphology this week! I had a great time at the meeting, and if you're open to programs that examine Jung's Type and the MBTI(r) and all their correlations and applications, I invite you to check out your local Association for Psychological Type Chapter. Some of us advertise in meetup groups as well. Either way - join the conversation!

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Step 1 - Get to know myself (again)

Pic Credit teachernz I first wrote about Getting to know myself back in 2008. Here's what I'd like to add: Personality Type and cultural preferences provide a nice framework to begin thinking about where some of my behaviors might come from. My cultural background explains some of what's important to me, and Type is a unique personal and professional development tool, helping me appreciate my own strengths and opportunities for growth, as well as appreciate those points in others.

I best identify with ENFJ preferences. I may not look like an ENFJ all the time, because in my job I'm often dealing with groups and paying attention to details, seeming like an ESFP. When I work from home, I'm quite comfortable spending hours alone, reading and writing online. But the pattern is there:

"mentoring, leading people to achieve their potential and become more of who they are." (Berens, Nardi, 2004)

The first thing I want to do when meeting old and new friends is connect. Holding a space for others is important to me, although I might get too excited and just start blabbering. Staying with myself without getting absorbed into other people's drama or take on their feelings as my own is a continuous conscious exercise. Dipping into a sea of knowing what's going to happen and how someone will react to a certain situation happens unconsciously. Yet when I try to pay attention to the vibe it may disappear. I love going for walks and doing Yoga or Zumba relaxes me; my body may be tired but my mind is usually alert after exercise.

I'm not sure how my extraverted Feeling and introverted Intuiting preferences were nurtured growing up. I remember lots of feeling bad for others and wanting to please everyone and fit in, often without success. At any given time I had maybe one or two "best" friends. Lots of acquaintances, but not many friends, at least by my definition. Still, I remember lending an ear and giving advice on many matters to many people. I remember making mistakes and seeking approval in many wrong places. I know I read a lot; my parents are still sorting out boxes upon boxes of books I left behind.

Growing up in my parents' house, realistic pragmatism (is there any other kind?) definitely dominated the everyday environment. On Hofstede's cultural dimensions, Germany scores high in the Uncertainty Avoidance Index. That means Germans like to know what happens and be prepared, avoiding uncertainty wherever we can. A big part of me wants to know what the future holds, but there are also examples in my past where I jumped in without knowing what was going to happen. None of my international moves were thoroughly planned in any way - that's why I like to share what I learned to save other expats the time and tears.

Flaggen_Still, I'm very German in my approach to communication - direct and straightforward, little to no beating around the bush. Swearwords? Not a problem. I appreciate a good rational argument, but may not be able to follow your logic. On Trompenaars' dimensions, I fall on the Universalist (the same rules apply to everyone) and Achievement (respect for what you've done, not who you are) sides. Competence and expertise are important to me. I couldn't stand it if anyone thought I was an impostor. Over time, my opinion of punctuality has been taken over by a slight mediterranean influence - but I'll still let you know when I'm running late. Keeping people waiting without even the courtesy of a call or text message would be disrespectful.

Unfortunately, self-examination is not always a helpful tool when you really want to get to know yourself. I've recently asked former and current colleagues and friends to choose some adjectives (based on Linda Berens' Interaction Styles) to describe me, and it's interesting and challenging to recognize I may not appear to others as I do to myself. I still think it's a great exercise to engage in from time to time - getting to know yourself all over again.

 

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