Tired of talking all day for work, I passed out on the hotel bed into a deep sleep that evening. During a plenary session of the Commonwealth countries from the global south, I spoke on the first day of a Ministerial conference on the island of Mauritius. The topic? The usual one is how to formulate international trade policy and development patterns to benefit the originators of raw materials.
That means making trade beneficial to the global south and using their resources to end poverty. I gave several interventions then and later in several informal sessions. I talked in the hallways with people from other countries, gauging their ideas for a successful conclusion. The business involved listening and talking about bending intricate policies steeled with colonial attributes. By evening, I needed to recharge my social battery from all this talk shop. Back then, I skewed more on the spectrum of introversion.
During a training course on management in WTO Secretariat, I discovered why I was so exhausted at the end of my workday, even when I had not done manual labor. "You are so sociable and friendly with people!" My colleagues could not believe the results of my Briggs-Myers test. That means I got tired of interacting with many people and talking all the time. I drained my energy to cope. A few people are okay, especially if I know them and I don't have to put on a diplomatic show. But when speaking to 300-plus strangers about the complexities of avoiding a one-size-fits-all type of development policy and aid approach—one of the many multilateral trading topics—I would be depleted by day end.
The Evolution of Our Personality
Recently, I completed the test again. I was curious about what it would reveal, given that I have not done the test for several years, and I am in a different stage of my life, career, and outlook on life far from 15 to 20 years ago. Here is a free online tool to test yourself. You, too, can complete the test and compare your results with mine.
What drives your personality? It’s vital to understand yourself to help you have a fulfilling life.
Here are my graphical results from the test of 16 personalities created by Myers & Briggs.
The written results returned the following for me:
As an ENTJ, you are analytical and objective, and like bringing order to the world around you. When there are flaws in a system, you see them and enjoy the process of discovering and implementing a better way. You are assertive and enjoy taking charge; you see your role as that of leader and manager, organizing people and processes to achieve goals.You excel at logical reasoning and are probably articulate and quick-witted. You are characteristically ambitious and interested in gaining power and influence. You are likely highly motivated by success in your career and enjoy hard work. To you, decision-making is a vocation. You want to be in a position to make the call and put plans into motion.You tend to be blunt and decisive. Driven to get things done, you can sometimes be critical or brusque in the pursuit of a goal. You are typically friendly and outgoing, although you may decide not to pick up on emotional subtleties in other people. You often love working with others toward a common goal, but may not want to find time to attend to their feelings. You are focused on results and want to be productive, competent, and influential.
As I read the above, I realize it is spot on! Working in the US versus the Caribbean and Europe has altered my disposition, especially regarding assuaging people's emotions. In Europe, especially in the United Nations world, one works more collaboratively, paying attention not to denigrate the professionalism of any team member at any level because you will require their support at one time. Respect is essential, even if it is faux respect. In those cultures, you avoid burning bridges. There is also less insecurity about persevering in your career because jobs are more assured.
Different Cultures Make Our Personality Evolve in Different Ways
On the contrary, phrases like "throw your colleague under the bus" exist in America because your team members often will not take accountability for their errors but will destroy someone else, even lying and conniving, if necessary, to save themselves, even in the short run. See my post about violent phrases that give a window into this competitive culture.
I recall a director I had in Geneva. He was from North Africa. He could never get along with his more cooperative and diplomatic colleagues. He was a high-spectrum extrovert, often loudly showing his doctoral attainments to others who were just as or more accomplished but never seeking an audience to praise them. He did not last because he kept bucking against the corporate culture. While his overbearing personality may have been abrasive in Geneva, he would have been at home in a typical American company.
Has your personality had to evolve due to a company's changing societal culture or corporate norms? Have you noticed the change and like what you have become? Take the test and let me know in the comment section below.