Stress is such a common part of running a business today, whether big or small. It affects business owners, managers, supervisors and individuals at all levels in the workplace. The good news is that there are ways of better-managing the stress and overwhelm in the workplace by understanding your own and your team’s personality type preferences, triggers and stress responses.
It is no wonder people are getting more stressed in the workplace these days. They are faced with the pressures of multiple demands and a rapidly changing environment, often having to take care of many things outside of their comfort zones and areas of expertise. Then you put together a bunch of different personality types, each of which has its own typical triggers and stress responses.
Interacting with each other in an already stressful environment without an understanding of personality types and their opposite preferences can aggravate the situation even more, leading to frustration, overwhelm, conflict and even burn-out. All of this negatively impacts productivity and business performance.
Stress statistics in the workplace
In a report by Safe Work Australia, it was found that mental stress claims are the most expensive form of workers’ compensation claim. These claims result in workers often being absent from work for extended periods. Work pressure was stated as the cause of the majority of claims in industries with the highest claim rates.
“The loss of productivity and absence of workers is costing Australian businesses more than $10 billion per year.”
“These findings highlight why it is necessary for employers to be aware of stress-related issues and improve current work practices to decrease unnecessary stress in the workplace,” said Ann Sherry, AO and Safe Work Australia Chair.
Better stress management leads to happier, more productive individuals, fewer sick days due to stress-related illnesses and decreased employee burnout and staff turnover. It is beneficial to the individuals and the workplace to be able to understand the four Myers-Briggs Type dichotomies in order to recognise how people distinctly experience and react to stress so they can better-manage their own and their teams’ stressors and stress responses.
In a report by CPP, Inc. titled ‘Indicators of Stress by Top Professions’, they highlighted that “For most people, experiencing severe stress renders them temporarily unable to operate from the familiar aspects of their personality with which they are most comfortable”. While in the grip of stress, individuals’ behaviour can appear out of character and hamper their performance. However, it is actually relatively easy to predict, identify and manage stress by applying type theory and concepts of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Instrument.
The 4 MBTI Dichotomies and understanding stressors for the 8 Type Preferences
In each of these opposite sets of orientations and functions, people have a natural or ‘innate’ preference for one over the other. That is not to say that they cannot use both, but that they are naturally wired for one of these to be their comfort and strength zone. People are energised when able to use their preferences and can get frustrated and fatigued when using their less preferred functions and orientations. Having to do things that don’t come naturally or spending too long in an environment that depletes them often leads to work dissatisfaction and stress.
The opposite ways we prefer to focus our attention and gain energy, of interacting with our internal and external world and our preferred functions and processes for taking in information and making decisions are explained below.
Extraversion or Introversion – these are our preferred attitudes or orientations of energy. While Extraverts are oriented primarily towards the outer world and energised by people and objects, Introverts are primarily oriented toward the inner world and focus and get their energy from concepts, ideas and internal experiences. What this means in terms of typical work stressors for each is that:
• Stressors for Introverts come from too much people contact and not enough personal space and time to recharge and reflect.
• Stressors for Extraverts come from reduced people contact and from having to focus deeply for long periods of time.
Sensing or Intuitive Types – these are our functions or processes of perception. While Sensing types prefer to rely primarily on their 5 senses, concrete facts and practical realities, Intuitive types prefer to take in information by seeing the big picture and focus on the relationships and connections between facts and on the possibilities. What this means in terms of typical work stressors for each is that:
• Stressors for Sensing Types come from not being able to take in information in a precise and exact manner and from change and unpredictability.
• Stressors for Intuitive Types come from being constrained by the past and not being free to use their inspiration and or to focus on possibilities.
Thinking and Feeling Types – these are our functions and processes for coming to conclusions. While a person who relies primarily on Thinking prefers to make decisions impersonally on the basis of logical consequences. A person who relies primarily on Feeling in decision making likes to consider what’s important to them and to others involved. What this means in terms of typical work stressors for each:
• Stressors for Thinking Types come from having to make conclusions based on social or personal values and from having to focus on gaining understanding and harmony.
• Stressors for Feeling Types come from having to base conclusions on logical analysis in an objective and detached way, without considering individuals and interpersonal harmony.
Judging and Perceiving Types – these are our attitudes or orientations toward dealing with the outside world.
People who prefer to use their Judging process in the outer world like to have planned and orderly ways of managing and regulating their lives. People who prefer to use their Perceiving process like to live in a flexible, spontaneous way, seeking to experience and understand life, rather than to control it. What this means in terms of typical work stressors for each:
• Stressors for Judging Types come from not having closure and not being able to act on decisions.
• Stressors for Perceiving Types come from not being able to remain open and adaptable to new information.
Understanding type in the work situation can be a useful way of understanding why some situations cause stress for some but not for others. Knowing the work situations that each type finds particularly stressful allows for a better way of approaching tasks, situations and environments in order to take into account the individual’s preferences and needs and to better tailor and allocate work accordingly. For those running a business, it helps in knowing what to say “Yes” to, “No” to and “Maybe” to, or to consider how things can be done differently. It gives a better idea of what might best be delegated and who would be the best fit.
Personality Type theory does not measure skills, which are learned and which may also be missing in an organisation. However, it can help business leaders and people managers in understanding when it might be more effective to swap, re-assign, or delegate tasks that might be causing stress and poor morale, productivity and business performance if not better managed. If there isn’t a complementary balance of types, it can provide an insight into what’s needed from the next staff hire in order to get the right match of type, along with skills and experience to fill the missing gap.
There are many roles and requirements a small business is required to cover through necessity. If the answer isn’t found within the existing team and resources, or through hiring or outsourcing, there is now another avenue for filling that missing gap. It is an exchange of services based on people’s areas of expertise, which is right in line with my spirit of collaboration and type theory’s intent for devising beneficial and mutually complementary ways of working together, reducing stress and making the most of individuals’ strengths and differences. It is why I have decided to join GiveGet in order free myself to focus on the things that light me up.
This is how GiveGet works: > An expert Gives their skills to you. > You Get what you need without paying cash. > You Give to someone else and earn credits. There is no need for two people to trade directly with each other – you can park your $Getbacks in your Treasury account to use when you need expert help. Give & Get at your own pace.
I recently asked Sam Kurikawa, Chief Connector at GiveGet, to describe the business she had the vision to create and which she is so passionate about. “GiveGet is changing the way business is done by innovating exchange through technology for a tribe of entrepreneurs, freelancers and creatives. We are driven by purpose, not just profit, and through reciprocity we enable more of us to thrive for the longer term, together. It’s barter; 21st century style!” For more information, you can check out their website here: www.giveget.biz or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stress is such a common occurrence in the workplace today and has a huge impact on employee and business owner health and wellbeing. It takes its toll on both people and profits. The costs to Australian businesses are alarming, at more than $10 billion per year in lost productivity due to stress-related illnesses, burnout and staff turnover. Better stress management is a must in any business and particularly in a small business where resources are often spread thin. As part of responsible stress management in the workplace, it is essential to understand how stress impacts individuals differently. What is stressful and draining for one person can be energising and motivating for another, depending on their personality type preferences. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Instrument provides the insights into type theory and concepts which can be used to predict, identify and manage stress more effectively. Knowing and understanding people’s personality type gives insights into the types of environments they need in order to thrive at their best and identifies their potential stress triggers. Knowing how to allocate work more effectively, what environment to create and even how to modify communication method according to type can make all the difference.
Whether you’re an individual wanting to better manage your own stress or a people manager, wanting to create a healthier, more productive work environment and more effective teams, understanding type theory equips you to get the best out of yourself and others.
Follow link to request a copy of my FREE Stressors in the Workplace by Type Dichotomy summary and to find out how insights into your own and your team’s type preferences can help you to build more effective teams and a more productive business.