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ENFJ Preferences at Work


ENFJ Preferences at Work

“Warm, supportive, and friendly, ENFJs work well when they can focus on people’s aspirations, develop organized plans to meet goals, and maintain integrity as they work.”(1)

With every new project I work on, every new team I meet in a workshop, every new client I coach with, I try to establish a connection. I open up, heart on sleeve. I may share private information, in an effort to make the other people comfortable to share a bit of themselves with me, too. I hardly even think about it. It’s not a calculated attempt to manipulate, it’s an expression of my extraverted Feeling function wanting to harmonize and connect with others.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it backfires.

As a young Executive Assistant in Spain, I received this piece of advice:

“You really shouldn’t be so friendly with everybody. You should be guarding (your boss) a lot more! You can’t just let anyone in who needs to see him. You need to say “no” more.”

That was a tough pill to swallow, because concentrating on the needs of only one person on a team of, say, 20, significantly narrowed my mood barometer. It’s true, at the time, before learning about emotional intelligence, self-regulating, and simply becoming more mature, my moods often depended on the people around me. When you’re a sucker for positive feedback (and a glutton for punishment), putting all the connection eggs in only one basket is dangerous.

More recently as a self-employed coach and trainer, I find that I indeed find tremendous joy in making plans on how to reach goals. My friends make fun of how many notebooks I buy (I have 3 paper calendars on the go right now, plus Charlie Gilkey’s blog and project planners online), but I use all of them – and even keep most of the information straight. It’s fun to map out what I want to be doing over the next 30, 60, 90 days. What seemed overwhelming looks a lot less daunting and more doable once it’s divvied into action steps, black (as well as red, green, purple, orange, and blue) on white. By the same token, what seemed simple in my mind becomes a lot more concrete and tangible once I try to pin down and describe all the moving parts. 

Again, the tone of my self-talk often depends on how much I got done. If the day or week were spent on emergent tasks, I might write down what I already did just to be able to cross something off. The rest will get postponed. 

Of course I get a sense of satisfaction once something is done, no doubt about it. But it’s also true that the older I get, the more easily distracted I seem to be. It’s hard to get motivated by myself: although I know the work I want to offer is valuable and helpful for people, I still need accountability to get things done. Deadlines, actual clients, my accountability teams, and my coach are helping me with that. It truly takes a village.  

Still, the integrity piece I find most important of all.

During my apprenticeship to become a Foreign Language Secretary, I rotated through various departments. I liked HR best, because I loved how fellow apprentices would pop their heads in with questions or issues, and I was able to help them on the spot. Instant gratification and happy customers – what’s not to love? That’s when I decided to study HR Management, motivated in part because I thought I could do it all better than the department was doing things at the time.

I know, that’s an ENFJ cliché right there, but it’s true.

Once I studied HR and started working in recruitment, however, it became clear that my idea of what an organization should be doing for its employees, and what was actually happening in business, were worlds apart. As Otto Kroeger wrote,

“Inevitably, as they accept promotions, they find themselves at odds with corporate realities: profits, productions, cutbacks, and the like. The more ENFJs rise to the loftier positions within the organization, the more they may be setting themselves up for a struggle between their personal demands and organizational demands. (…) Hence, when an ENFJ is present, no matter what the product or mission, the people involved will be important and human dynamic will be made a central part of the process.”(2)

I know now that taking time to reflect on my values and critically analyzing other potential stakeholders’ goals can save me a lot of worry and doubt. Staying true to myself while continuing to maintain harmony with others is a lifelong quest, and one that I love exploring in the world of work and careers every day - for myself and my clients.

If you have ENFJ preferences and these descriptions resonated with you, why not join me in a webinar specifically for ENFJs and how we can fall in love with our jobs again. You can learn more and sign up here.

(1) Hirsh, Elizabth, Katherine W. Hirsh, Sandra Krebs Hirsh: Introduction to Type® and Teams, 2nd Edition, CPP Inc., 2003

(2) Kroeger, Otto with Janet M. Thuesen: Type Talk at Work – How the 16 Personality Types determine your success on the job, Delacorte Press®, 1992

Image: Vintage National ad, flickr, Creative Commons, by pds209


Be true to yourself and ace that job interview


Be true to yourself and ace that job interview

Vulnerability is... worrying if they'll like / hire / marry / call / promote you.

Do you want to ace that job interview?

Here are 5 simple steps, written from my NF perspective:

1. Know yourself

If you're not sure where or how to start thinking about your strengths and skills, there are plenty of assessments that can help. Please please please always talk with a certified professional to debrief the results and don't just believe everything you read black-on-white.

Email me for any of these, investment is about $120 to $150 for extensive material and debrief:

Myers-Briggs MBTI(r)



Thomas Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument TKI


or try

StandOut - $15

Strengthsfinder 2.0 - $9.99

Strengthsfinder 2.0 can be analyzed in combination with the MBTI(r) tool, again, email me if you're interested in a thorough conversation.

2. Only apply for jobs you truly want to do

Yes, we all live in the real world and have bills to pay.

It's also true that what the world needs is happy. You'll be a better leader if what you do makes you happy. You'll have more energy at home to care for the people you love when you're happy. If criticizing and gossiping and bad vibes make you happy, give it a couple sessions with a shrink to see if you're not actually compensating your shitty childhood. You can defend your country and protect your community from a balanced happy place without playing into the tough-guy stereotypes. I dare you.

3. Get clear on what you need

Know your expectations for salary, benefits, work environment, team work, and individual freedom, and be prepared to discuss them. Be equally clear on what environment you want to work in. Does your ideal company have community outreach, charity components, a people policy? Does the industry align with your values? Will you be proud to hand over your business card for them? You'll make it easier for the HR rep and hiring manager to say "yes" to you when they get the feeling you know what you're getting into.

4. Research the company

At the very least, know their facts, figures, values, vision, mission, major portfolio and competitors. You'll stand out, because you'll be able to knowledgeably discuss what's happening in the industry and the challenges they're facing. It's not just what they can do for you, it's also what you can do for them. You'll get the vocabulary to describe your skills and contributions in a non-sucky way from Step 1.

5. Be yourself

Go in and have a conversation. By consciously acting and showing them what you think they want to see, telling them what you think they want to hear, you are making yourself vulnerable. You are placing your own worth and value on a lower level - theirs is more important. Don't fall into that trap, no matter how seductive. Show up. Be yourself. Dare greatly! If they hire you based on a show, you'll have to keep performing and risk feeling like a fraud.

OK, that last one is geared towards FJs, those of us who lead with extraverted Feeling, because we tend to adapt to our surroundings and the people we're with. I've done that in jobs and relationships too many times, and am here to share it's not sustainable in the long run.

Other advice you have? Leave a comment!

Image by photologue_np, Flickr, Creative Commons License.



Career Coaching

work1The job we choose and why we choose it says a lot about ourselves and our attitude toward work in general. We are more likely to accept a fulfilling and deserving position when we believe in ourselves and in our strengths. At the same time, limiting beliefs like “time is money,” “only the early bird catches the worm,” and “hard work never hurt anyone” influence our attitudes.

Career planning, not having a job or wanting a new one are all situations that cause stress. The levels of stress can be significantly reduced by an appropriate coaching process. During coaching, a client has the time and space to explore personal and professional situations in a confidential and respectful environment and analyze them from different angles. The client’s position in various surrounding systems, his own and outside perceptions can be reflected. The client clearly holds the expert position and is solely responsible for the shaping of his future. The coach supports and accompanies the client through the process of identifying needs and wants and making future-oriented decisions. (cf. Richardson, Nussbaumer)

Does this sound like you?

Question: How can I make the best use of my time abroad?

“My spouse has been offered an international assignment and we have decided to keep the family together and move abroad together. I’m giving up a career that I have worked many years to establish, I’m not sure whether I’ll even have a work-permit in the new country, and I’m anxious to find out what not contributing to our family’s income is going to do to my self-confidence. Goal: I want to explore the options I have of applying my skills and strengths in a new environment, find out how to thrive in a new culture, and expand my repertoire so that my career can continue its path in the most suitable direction when we repatriate in three years’ time.”

Question: What is my dream job and how can I get it?

“My job doesn’t make me happy anymore. I don’t feel fulfilled, but I depend on the monthly cheque and am scared to consider a change. A new company would probably turn out to be the same anyway, and I’ll surely find myself stuck in the same rut before long. Goal: I’d love to find out which profession would keep me motivated and looking forward to getting out of bed for in the morning! Isn’t there a way to discover what my passion is, how I can use my strengths, have fun, and make a decent living?”

The focus of a career coaching process depends on the client. Sometimes questions are more future oriented, sometimes they are more reflective of the past, drawing on experience that in turn influences possible development goals. Depending on the age and lifestyle of a client, there are countless different scenarios and priorities. However, it is recommended for all life- and career chapters to define personal development emphases. This is especially the case for the recently laid-off or otherwise unwillingly unemployed.

We recommend expanding the coaching process to include cross cultural topics whenever an international or even cross-country move is involved. Like with any Coaching process, the client defines the scope of the assignment, gives continuous feedback about the effectiveness of the Coaching, and takes sole responsibility for his decisions. The Coach places all of her available resources at the disposal of the client to ensure the goal can be reached as soon as possible.

Contact me today to find out how I can help you find the answers to your questions!

Til next week, have a good one! Thanks to Timur for the free pic.

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