It’s not that difficult working in a Judging world

I last wrote about how we work in an extroverted world when thinking about how we understand MBTI preferences. In today’s post, I’d like to take a look at how we understand the world of control and lack of control > Judging and Perceiving in Myers Briggs parlance.

As always, it’s important to bear in mind the key about preferences. Please run off and have a read of the post if you need to remember.

So the world of work is an interesting one. We come to work and are told that we need to be set objectives for our probation period. Make sure you have set meetings with your new starter so you can make sure they’re getting on well. Have a review meeting at the end of the probation. Set new objectives for the end of the year. Set more review meetings over the course of the year. Have weekly updates. Create workflow plans. Have to-do lists. Milestones are important. Projects must have clear deliverables. It’s all about hard and fast rules that make sense. And God help you if things aren’t SMART.

This is all about the world of judging. We need to have process, it has to be cold, calculated, and it has to be purposeful. But it’s not as clinical as I make out. There’s a reason for all this pain staking close to OCB (obsessive compulsive behaviour) type stuff. It’s security for the person who has a judging preference. And that security is vital for the person’s sense of ‘getting things done’. It’s not actually about control, or about tight deadlines, or anal behaviour – that’s just a lack of understanding about what makes this person tick.

And we can all do with understanding. Our behaviours are often indicative of some other level of reasoning that we need to be sure we have understood. This is where the MBTI can help (amongst other tools, but I’m clearly plugging for the MBTI here). As I’ve described before, it’s not solely about one set of behaviours. We’re all capable of displaying a complete range of behaviours. We have to first identify preferences, which then allow us to uncover meaning behind behaviours.

What about the kind of person who doesn’t work this way? You know the type. The one who enjoys what I’ve heard referred to as ‘wiggle’ time? I’m that kind of person. I don’t like restrictions. I am as laid back and care-free as they come. Deadlines? Pah! Milestones? *sends shivers down my spine* Planning? Huh? To-do lists? Erm… Yeah, that’s right I AM A JUDGING PERSON’S WORST NIGHTMARE. How can this person possibly work? How can they possible exist? WHAT THE FUCK DO THEY DO?

Well, just as above I’ve said it’s about security for the judging person, for the perceiving person, it’s about being comfortable with ambiguity. That’s the best tag line I can think of. A fuller description is > being comfortable with a lack of structure. What does that mean? It means that if you give a piece of work to someone who has a perceiving preference, don’t shit yourself if they’ve not made a move on it. They will, they’re just not fussed about when. It’s not they don’t care about the deadline, for sure they do. After all, it’s still understood it’s a business model they have to work within. They’re just happy to make it happen in their time.

And that’s where the internal battles arise. ‘You need feedback because’. ‘You’re a slacker because’. ‘You’re too focused on process because’. ‘Don’t worry it will get done’. As much as there is room for argument, there is room for understanding. The unfortunate thing, though, is that not everyone has access to someone who understand things as I’ve described them. If you spot it, hopefully the above can help. If you spot it in yourself, take the time to consider the above better.

As always, please ensure you work with someone who is fully qualified in using the MBTI, and not someone who has had secondary or no training.

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Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

4 thoughts on “It’s not that difficult working in a Judging world”

  1. I’m operating in that world at present – a Perceiver (me) working with 2 Judging People!
    There are meetings galore, every week, at the same time, because there are other schedules and deadlines to meet, and a check list and a diary and god knows what!

    Recently I was asked: ” Lets meet on day x and bring along your plan for the session next week, incl the agenda, how you’re going to structure it, talk about, what you’re going to say, etc…”
    Fine – it’s how they operate, their comfort zone and way of being.

    I turned up, the Perceiver that I am, with no agenda, no plan, no presentation – and proceeded to talk about how I was going to do it. I knew the session wasn’t for another week and had plenty of time to prepare. It was only a 4hr facilitated discussion anyway! Right?
    That went down like a lead balloon! “You’re representing the team and must demonstrate credibly and high standards! I want to see x, y, z…” Wow! Cool your jets!

    Next day, an apology: ” sorry, I was imposing my way of working on you and not respecting you have your own style, which I really want you to bring into the team”.

    Luckily I was able to notice the individual’s Judging Preference…and knowing mine proceeded to explain:
    “I understand that’s the way you operate – it’s fine! We all have preferences and styles, for example, you: judging, me perceiving!” (I was met with a puzzled look – until I mentioned MBTI and things kind of got clearer). ” I want to know when you want it done by and I’ll do it, in my own time and in my own orderly way. Doesn’t mean I don’t respect your need for order and structure – we all operate in different ways! We need to understand, respect and value these differences and make the most of it.”

    Mind you, for all my Perceiving preference I do like my lists…except they too take a perceiving approach! My desk is covered in multi-coloured post-its with mini-lists and dates….!

    1. This is exactly the kind of thing I am talking about! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Jose. Luckily, you understand MBTI to be able to help develop understanding of preferences.

      I’m left wondering what do those folk do who have little or no contact with L&D? Or have had little development themselves, how do they get to hear the same message?

  2. OK are all L&D people perceivers???! Like you I have a P preference and it’s a distinct preference too…

    I have therefore had to learn to build in structure, to do preparation and planning to overcome my distinct preference for the opposite and also manage the expectation of those around me about the impact of my preference. I am very decisive but often don’t like making decisions because what if something else comes up??!

    HOWEVER, there are some distinct benefits that I spend time now and again reemphasising – I am great in a crisis, I can think quickly and be comfortable when variables change and given my bent to leave things to the last minute I can think clearly under pressure.

    The two things I’ve learnt (apart from trying to emulate the J behaviour I see around me) is to be honest about what you are (with +ve & -ve consequences) and put people around you who are different and empower them to challenge you.

    Just don’t get me started about larks and owls…..

    1. I do think there is something that is in the L&D blood that means a lot of us certainly are of the Perceiving preference! In my old team there were three P’s to my boss’s J. He had a hard time keeping us in check!

      Agreed. I too have had to learn how to prioritise and plan effectively in ways that make sense to me. I have also forced myself to learn about project management methodologies so that I don’t fall foul of lack of planning (although this is continuous journey I am on).

      Like your learnings you’ve shared there, thanks Rob.

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