Politics and Temperament: Why President Obama Should Love Idealists

As I wrote in yesterday’s entry, we surveyed more than 1800 people last over the past weekend who had completed the KTS-II to find out how the different temperaments sort out when it comes it current politics.  We focused on the current budget debt ceiling impasse between President Obama and Congressional Republicans.  One thing stood out strongly: President Obama, and anyone thinking of retiring some day, should wish for more Idealists.

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Politics and Temperament: Who You Vote for May Be in Your Genes

We have run many surveys over the past 12 years, querying tens of thousands of people who have completed the KTS-II as to their political leanings.  Besides accurately predicting the outcomes of the 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 elections, the results have been consistent in terms of the makeup of the electorate: politics and temperament have a very strong correlation.  According to Pew Research, about 32% of the population identifies themselves as Democrats, 25% as Republicans, and 37% as Independents.  Our survey mirrors Pew almost exactly, at a national level – but the real interest to us comes as we look at the breakdown of each of the four temperaments.  Take a guess before jumping ahead: which temperament is most likely to be Republican?  Which is most likely to be Democratic?  How about Libertarian, Green, or Tea?

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Avoiding Presentation Melt-Down: Presenting Effectively to the Big Boss

No matter what career you have chosen, at some point you are called on to make a presentation to “the Big Boss”. Whether you’re in a corporation, academic setting, non-profit, or government organization, you will be asked to make a presentation about your project, research, team, or class, etc, to the CEO, VP, Director, Principal, or Department Head – someone who has a great deal of impact on your future within the organization.

Most people called upon to make these presentations are reasonably competent in their area of responsibility or expertise. They usually work hard to put together a presentation that, if not captivating, does a good job of explaining what they are working on, and what results they have achieved or are planning. Yet, more often than we would like, the results of the presentation are less than we hope for. Sometimes, the results are catastrophic – the presenter ends up receiving a public dress-down from the Big Boss, or receives less direct feedback that their presentation (and therefore future career prospects in the organization) didn’t measure up to the Big Boss’s standards. Most of the time, the presenter is left mystified as to why this disaster occurred – after all, they were well-prepared, knew their material, had well thought-through conclusions, and a well-crafted presentation.

The key is to know something about the Big Boss’s personality, and just as importantly, about yourself. A prime cause of presentation melt-downs lies in the difference between the two: in key areas you are speaking the equivalent of a foreign language – without knowing it.

The following links are to a series of articles I wrote that are featured in our newsletter this month that directly address the issues each temperament faces in presenting to bosses different than themselves.  Hopefully, after reading your specific article, you will be armed with information that will make your next presentation to the Big Boss your best ever.

Fun With Statistics: Facebook Use by Personality Type

We recently ran a survey to find out what correlation, if any, there is between personality type and Facebook usage.  One of the specific areas we were interested in was whether any types had noticeably more “friends” than other types.  At a superficial level, it seemed intuitive (to me) to guess that “E”’s would have more Facebook friends than “I”’s, or that Idealists would have more Facebook friends than Rationals.  But, in my personal sample space, that isn’t necessarily the case – several of my INTJ friends are prolific Facebook users with more than 800 FB friends (compared to my anemic 106).   The survey did indeed show a large variance in FB usage – keep reading for the results.

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Q: Why do extraverts report to be happier than introverts?

In a recent study conducted by Keirsey.com’s research division, we found that the greatest factor in happiness can be one’s personality type.  74% of extraverts reported that they are happy, as opposed to only 56% of introverts.  And looking at the flip side of the equation, 26% of introverts reported that they are unhappy, while only 14% of extraverts reported unhappiness.  When I look at these survey results, there are two possible explanations that come to mind:

First, I would say that those who prefer extraversion are expressive by nature, and tend to say their words aloud (external-talk), and in this way are much more likely to verbalize their thoughts to those around them.  Those who prefer introversion on the other hand, are more reserved by nature, and tend to say their words to themselves (self-talk), and in this way are much more likely to hold their thoughts in an internal conversation with themselves.  What this means is that ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly’ are either spoken to others, or spoken to oneself.  In general, it appears that when individuals have the chance to share ‘the good’ with others, it leads to an increase in happiness, and when individuals are able to share ‘the bad and the ugly’ with others, it decreases the level of unhappiness felt within.  Talking aloud to others works in a similar way that “Talk Therapy” does—it allows for people to share their elation and their sorrow—to laugh together in celebration, or to simply ‘get things off their chest.’”

Secondly, According to Dr. Keirsey, Introversion is associated with being ‘attentive’ (in addition to being ‘reserved’).  What this means is that those who prefer introversion are more likely to pay closer attention to their unhappiness, while those who prefer extraversion are less inclined to do so.  Whether you prefer introversion or extraversion, all of us have our fair share of unhappy circumstances—the difference is in how much we pay attention to our thoughts/feelings.  And because those who prefer introversion are much more aware of their unhappiness, the results show up the way they do.  In some ways, the phrase, ‘Ignorance is bliss’ is the differentiator here—Those preferring extraversion aren’t inclined to be as aware of their unhappiness (or when they are, they talk about it immediately), whereas those preferring introversion are much more aware of their internal state (and are likely to keep it to themselves—and/or stew in their own juices).  Whether you agree or disagree, I am curious to hear your thoughts/feelings on this issue of who’s happier.

What Dreams May Come?

Number 137.  Was this the key to understanding the Universe?  Or was it an impossible Dream?

It was a kind of Dream Team.  One was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics.  The other was an internationally famous psychiatrist.   They both were interested in Dreams.  Other than that, they are an odd pair.  So was their relationship.

He had felt like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde.  He didn’t know what to do about it.  He was a Rational.  He was a scientist, and the leading scientific skeptic: the gadfly of quantum mechanics.  He had the ear of Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg – the supreme Rationals of the day. They put up with his caustic wit for he was good at finding problems with their theories: the Mephistopheles of Physics. Successful professionally, but his private life was a mess.  What was he do?

By the day he was about Science, at night he had frequented the bars of the red-light district of Hamburg: he knew his relationships with females was out of control. His Mister Hyde — he hid this from his colleagues –  he was embarrassed.  He felt he was in crisis. He decided to consult with that famous psychoanalyst, Carl Jung – secretly.

Carl Jung was interested in the “mind.” He viewed himself as an intrepid explorer of psyche.   He had adopted Freud’s interest in analyzing dreams, but he had his own unique, and lucrative techniques.   Those rich female European ladies of Vienna and Zurich had money to burn and all the time to talk, and maybe other things.  “Archetypes” was his word, and the “collective unconscious” was his game.  What did all those dreams mean?  Symbols, myths, intuition, ESP — what was the truth? The Idealist, Carl Jung was eager explore and analyze The Rational, Wolfgang Pauli’s, dreams.

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Breaking Up is Hard To Do*

They say that breaking up is hard to do
Now I know, I know that it’s true

-Neil Sedaka

We recently (last week) surveyed 7000 people who completed the KTS-II to research the relationship between temperament and the usage of social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc).   There were lots of interesting data, some of which I will follow up on over the next week or so, but one interesting item jumped out in the first cursory analysis.  With respect to Neil Simon, and dozens of cover artists including The Four Seasons, Paul Anka, and The Partridge Family, it would appear that breaking up has become pretty easy, especially for a couple temperament groups.

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"Make it better" is her mantra.

She has had a quite interesting journey in her life so far. A privileged and mostly ignored daughter of one of the most famous actors and a suicidal mother, she grew up not knowing herself. This is a tragic situation for an Idealist, for she hid her excessive Idealist’s guilt and naivety with eating disorders and marrying three times. But, she slowly kept trying to understand herself, as Idealists are wont to do, finally doing so after 60 years. One of the most intriguing parts of this search was it took the frantic and opulent life of Ted Turner, an extremely extroverted and peripatetic Artisan, to make her finally need to say *stop* — “slow down” and then take a good look at herself. It took her almost a lifetime to find her voice and calling: teaching women’s issues — teaching the stuff — Jane Fonda actually experienced and conquered — rather than the political knowledge that she naively tried to pass off as her own, using her fame, and Idealist credulity, as an activist in her younger, reluctant-phony, days.

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Career Growth Strategy (4): Articulate how your unique talent, viewpoint, and approach would be a significant advancement for the enterprise.

In my previous article Career Growth Strategy (3), I stated that if you want to move ahead in your career, the third step to take is to “Learn to articulate ‘your’ story by highlighting how your differences are a tremendous asset.”  The original four steps I introduced to build a long term career were as follows:

  1. Get comfortable in your own skin by celebrating who you are.
  2. Figure out what will get the company ahead.
  3. Learn to articulate “your” story by highlighting how your differences are a tremendous asset.
  4. Articulate how your unique talent, viewpoint, and approach would be a significant advancement for the enterprise.

Today, we look at the final step which serves as the connecting piece that brings it all together:  (4). Articulate how your unique talent, viewpoint, and approach would be a significant advancement for the enterprise.  This is really about making the case for why you and the company are a fit for each other.

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Trust Me

Who do you trust? Who can you trust these days?

Who will give you the honest truth?  Who has good advice?

Are they the same person in your case?

Well, in this case, if you trusted this guy, you could have gone to the bank on his advice.

Banking Billions on his advice.

You wouldn’t have suspected it given the circumstances he was born into.  He was born in the Dust Bowl of America during the Great Depression. However, he came to represent American business, done the right way.  Invest in America. Slow and steady.

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