I am a relatively extreme ESTJS -- extroverted, sensing, thinking and judging. People of my type like gathering solid information and making final decisions based on that information. I tend to focus more on the job, not on the people behind the job. ESTJs have the "beaver" type of personality. Beavers are hardworking, organized, and persistent. Getting things done is my strong suit.

Under stress, ESTJs can become condescending and quick to judge (as anyone who's been on my bad side can attest to). That doesn't describe me under all circumstances, but it covers a lot of ground. ESTJs' temperament is dominant Te; we thrive off rules and regulations, lots of data, and concepts and theories. Our inferior function is Fi; we don't understand judgments based solely on emotion and feelings. On the other hand, one of the managers at my firm is an INFPS -- introverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving; that's my exact opposite. People of his type like to take their time to explore the possibilities and gauge the opinions of others who will be affected.

INFPs have the "dolphin" type of personality. Dolphins are warm, personalized, and collaborative. This manager is a big team player who keeps in close contact with the staff, and who sees possibilities and people. Under stress, INFPs can become irritable or suspicious. Again, those words don't necessarily all apply and even those that do, not all the time. INFPs' temperament is dominant Fi and inferior Te; they work off feeling judgments and are more uncomfortable with inexplicable rules and regulations, exactly opposite of me.

These tendencies, when un-checked, sometimes dramatically clash, leading us down a really bad path. When we are working on an audit together, and my manager asks for open-ended input, I might try to circumvent the discussion and jump straight to decisions, which could make him irritable. Not good. I know now, for example, that my manager might be put off by my need to keep things moving along, so I should discuss and brainstorm with him a bit before I start asking for decisions. I need to tell him exactly how I've incorporated his input into my decisions, so that he can see that I was actually listening. I should also recognize that our team is strengthened by his need to look at all of the possibilities before jumping to action, and by my drive to turn those possibilities into final solutions.

I understand that two or more persons can look at the very same situation or issue with the same amount of information about it and come away with two completely different views of what happened. As it turns out, even before we knew our types, we worked relatively well together. We " re grown up enough to know that we have different ways of approaching things and that both ways can lead to good work. But we now have an additional tool to help us along, especially during times of stress when things may turn emotional and could so easily go awry.

I've come away from this analysis having learned that it's not what you say but how you say it that might need some work. When I work with NF temperament types, like my manager, I must keep in mind how I phrase my opinions and feedback to try a softer approach. When giving an opinion, I should intend to emphasize that what I are saying is not fact, just my own personal belief (even though to me it might seem as good as fact). I could start my comments with something like, 'I could be wrong, but in my opinion we can continue to revise this idea.' That way, when I launch into my ingenious plan, I will have an audience that's receptive and not so defensive.