Do you ever feel like skipping work? If you’re like most, the answer is frequently yes. And if you’re reading this on Friday afternoon, you might be obsessively counting down the minutes to Happy Hour. While I suppose there are some who’re just allergic to work in general, that’s not the case with most of us. Typically if we’re not “into” work, it’s because we’re not doing projects that naturally engage and motivate us. So how do we get energized?
According to the MBTI assessment, the middle two letters of your four letter type play an especially important role in what motivates you. While we looked at a snippet of what motivates each MBTI type in the last blog, a deeper understanding of the two middle letters of your MBTI type and how they work together is like the decadent buttercream filling to the layers of each of the preferences. The more you work within these preferences, the more motivated and energized you’ll be. Unfortunately, it’s doubtful that a boss would come to you with a smorgasbord of activities and say “pick the one that suits you.” If they do, count yourself lucky! More than likely, you’ll need to assert yourself to do things you want to do (or ways to do the things you want to do that are within your preferences). As you consistently vocalize your desire to work on certain projects, and follow it up with great work, your boss will get the message: you like to do this, and you’re darn good at it.
Just like Superman, when a challenge comes along that suits your preferences, people will start to say, this looks like a job for [insert your name]! But before you don a red cape and spandex, take a step back and hone in on what truly motivates you, and how it connects to opportunities at work. Of course the actual opportunities will vary by workplace, but here are some ideas based on the middle two MBTI type letters to get started.
ST: Rev up the “Efficiency Machine”
Those preferring sensing and thinking (STs) are most energized when they get to do things involving implementation or operation. They’re happiest if they can ask a lot of questions, and then implement a program or directive in the most efficient way possible. They want to get it right, and with sufficient information they’re able to create an “efficiency machine” and derive great satisfaction from seeing it work as it’s supposed to. If you have a preference for sensing and thinking, get motivated by:
- Volunteering for things that involve data or numbers, such as a budget analysis, or institutional research
- Asking to be involved in projects that require digging in, figuring out how things work and then making them more efficient
SF: The Voice of the Customer
Those preferring Sensing/Feeling (SF), want to find practical ways to make everyone happier at work. Very often people go to them for advice, and while they do set personal boundaries, they’re happiest if they can be in a counseling and/or supporting role. Known as “practical helpers” they’re energized by opportunities to provide concrete, down-to-earth support, and often serve as the voice of the customer. They may also be the ones that spearhead birthday celebrations, anniversaries, etc.–they enjoy bringing a team together in a personal, tangible way. If you prefer sensing and feeling, get motivated by:
- Volunteering for a committee where members support the outside community with charity activities
- Asking to be on a survey team that finds out the opinions of customers and educates the business on how they can better serve clients
NF: What Good Are We Doing Here?
People who prefer intuition and feeling are motivated at work when they feel that they’re making a meaningful difference–either in the lives of those immediately around them or with people at large. Therefore, they’re often very interested in identifying aspects of the company mission that are servicing humanity in some way. While SF’s tend to focus on addressing more immediate, concrete people issues, NFs want to make things better over the long term, building people’s lives or careers. Get motivated by:
- Volunteering for a product development committee, focused on creating new products that better meet the long-term needs of people or the company’s mission to do good in the world
- Seeking opportunities to coach or mentor others, to help them grow their careers
Note: NFs also tend to enjoy variety, so shaking it up by something as simple as working in a different spot will make you feel more energized.
NT: What can I fix?
NTs are most motivated when they can fix a problem–the more complex, the better. They like to improve the company in some way, and if everything is copasetic they get bored. While NFs want to make a difference with people, NTs tend to focus on making a positive difference within the system. Get motivated by:
- Volunteering for a product improvement committee, where you’ll have the opportunity to identify what’s not working about a product and fix it
- Seeking responsibilities that involve strategic planning and envisioning the long-term direction of the company
Note: Just like NFs, you also enjoy shaking up your routine–look for opportunities to work in different places, and with different people, etc. and you’ll find yourself more energized.
Remember, the more you can work on projects that naturally motivate you, the more engaged you’ll be at work. Yes, even on Friday afternoon!