React usefully and with poise when approached with any issue

July 11, 2019 | Roger and Susie Engelau

What’s your usual reaction to the constant stream of questions, problems, and decisions that are the normal part of a business owner’s day?

  • Make a fast decision then find out later that it damaged a customer relationship or hurt an employee?
  • An emotion-charged comment like “Oh my gosh! Another problem?!” or “I’m SO busy and don’t have time for this!”
  • An angry command like “Get it solved and don’t bother me.”

Have you ever made a decision then found out later it wasn’t the best decision because you hadn’t considered all the options?  I’ve wasted a lot of time on more than one occasion because I failed to get all the facts before proceeding. I know some leaders that stew and stress for hours or days then once they get all the facts, realize there was little reason to get that upset. What a waste of precious energy!

Those are all understandable reactions given how busy our business owner days are!

Depending on your Myers-Briggs type (one of 16 personality types, for those unfamiliar), there’re one of 4 preferred, or dominant, reactions you have when approached with a question, problem, or decision:

Sensing —  You look first for more facts, gather available data, and seek to uncover exactly what’s happened.

Intuition – You’ll see it in the context of the bigger picture, consider the chain reaction effects, and begin to brainstorm ideas and possible solutions.

Thinking – This type likes to begin immediate analysis, weighing pros and cons, if/then scenarios, assessing root cause, and formulating a plan of action.

Feeling – Your first reaction is the emotion–frustration, anger, annoyance at the interruption (or occasionally positive ones like relief or humor)—and questions like ‘who’s effected?’ and ‘what will people think?’

These 4 reactions come from the center 2 of the 4 Myers-Briggs continuum’s: the Sensing-Intuition continuum, or how you take in and learn information, and the Thinking-Feeling continuum—how you make decisions.

So how do you react usefully and with poise

One of the many things we love about the Myers-Briggs is it’s inclusivity… it takes ALL the types to create the best outcomes. Isabel Myers’ “Z-Model” insures you react usefully and with poise to problems and decisions when you use all 4 of the center preferences, not just your dominant. Further, its important to use them in order… hence the 4-step “Z-Model.”

Using all 4 means you’ll get all the facts before you make the final decision, you’ll consider all the options, you’ll choose the best option, and you’ll understand the effects on people. It also keeps you from jumping in with step 4, the emotion, first, which can be demeaning and hurtful.

This approach can be used by you as an individual or in meetings with teams.

Use the Z-Model to react usefully and with poise

Use this simple 4-step process any time someone approaches you with a question or problem. You can also use it in group settings:

  1. List the facts with your sensing. If you need more data, get it before you proceed. The key here is to not move forward until you have all the facts.
  2. Use your iNtuition to think of possible solutions. Brainstorm and consider bigger picture implications. You’re generating solutions here, not choosing them yet.
  3. Use your thinking preference to objectively analyze the facts and possible solutions, consider the consequences of each, and choose your plan of action. This is where you do your critical thinking. The key here is not to jump to this step first, for those of us prone to do so.
  4. It’s time for feelings and these can be used in two ways. First, check in with your own emotions which up to now you’ve kept in check. Any annoyance or frustration has probably been minimized by the facts and analysis you’ve done. Second, identify how the chosen course of action impacts customers and employees.

Now you can be confident that your solution’s based on all the facts and all the possible solutions, that it’s analyzed thoroughly, and that the people impacts have been considered. And you’ve arrived there without stress and more quickly than you would’ve otherwise.

React usefully and with poise every time with these 4 steps, which, by the way, are easy to commit to memory. They’ll become second nature in no time.