So you made it over the job search hurdle and landed a new job – congrats! Before you start the celebration it’s important to take a moment to think about your career development goals and what’s next. This will help you stay on track once your new job starts. If you’re like most ambitious job seekers I work with, that “next” is: making a really great first impression and being promoted. The quickest path to promotion is giving employers what they need and what your new employer needs might come as a surprise. Employers are often saying that skills can be taught and learned but it’s the personality that determines the “fit”. So it’s up to you to make sure that you are delivering this “fit” with your coworkers. The way you do this is by having the self-awareness to maneuver your work relationships effectively.
Finding Your Fit
Fitting in might sound abstract but there’s an easy way to find your fit through self-assessment. In the case of a new job, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a great tool to apply. While MBTI is most commonly used to help job seekers figure out their career paths, it’s also a great tool for professional growth and advancement. Here’s why: The MBTI allows you to understand differences in personality and behaviors and enable you to act with awareness in different situations so that you are not putting people off or making faux pas.
MBTI is a self-assessment that analyzes 4 aspects or “types” of one’s personality:
- The way you get energy: Extraversion (from the outside) or Introversion (from the inside):
- The way you process information: Sensing (using your 5 senses) or Intuition (using a “gut feeling”)
- The way you make decisions: Thinking (logically) or Feeling (emotionally)
- Your preference for a certain lifestyle: Judging (orderly) or Perceiving (spontaneously)
For each type, you score on a side of a continuum that explains the clarity of your preference. Once you become aware of where you fall on the continuum and the influences that may elicit your reactions to situations, you can become more self-aware. This will allow you to be more in control of your actions. For example:
- You love being with people all day
- You typically need some alone time during the day, but
- You are also looking forward to your dinner plans that evening
What this means through the MBTI lens: Even though you need some alone time to re-energize, you have a preference for Extraversion. For some people, the personality type extremes are rather clear, while others may find themselves close to the middle.
How Knowing Your MBTI Type Will Help You at Work
This self-awareness and your response in the day-to-day is what will help you to fit in and maneuver in the direction of promotion. An awareness of your preferences and an acceptance of differences will help you think about how you present yourself to your co-workers.
Are you the type that likes to start meetings on time? Do you start working on projects as soon as they are assigned? Schedules meetings, appointments, even time for working on projects in your outlook calendar? You may have a preference for judging which explains your need for structure and order. But, this means that you may be frustrated if people are consistently showing up to meetings 5 minutes late. It means that if you are collaborating with someone on a project, you will expect to start working on this project (together) right away and may get frustrated if your partner feels like there is plenty of time. It may mean that you will want to plan out the year as much as possible while others may resist because new things may come up. (Can you relate)?
For those with a tendency towards the other side of the continuum, perceiving, they may find someone like you very rigid and inflexible. They may feel pressured to produce work that will not be their best. They will hesitate to schedule that which they think can wait.
Another BIG Benefit of Knowing Your MBTI Type
Having an understanding of your natural tendencies will allow you to modify your actions and accept differences so that the time you spend at work is not tense but instead more enjoyable. This level of self-awareness will also help you to become a better communicator since you’ll have an understanding of how your messages are being perceived by others with differing personality types and communication styles.
The more self-awareness you have prior to starting your new job, the more you can adapt to the work environment that’s already in place. This will allow you to truly be a great fit and advance down the path of promotion.