Should you have an Intuitive or Sensor advise you on a large purchase?
I recently wrote an article discussing the differences between Introverts and Extroverts. It was the first post in a series regarding each pair of indicators used in the Myers Briggs evaluation tool. This is the second of the series and discusses the differences between the second indicator set – iNtuitives and Sensors.
As discussed previously, I am an INTJ. Where the first letter (I v. E) references how a person gains energy, my understanding of the second indicator is that it references how a person processes information.
I interpret intuition as: making decisions based on your “gut” or a feeling. Intuitive (N) per the Myers Briggs, is similar. N’s tend to be able to see the big picture, to identify how the pieces and parts fit together, recognize and value aesthetic appeal, and can visualize things in 3-D. I don’t mean that they can watch a 3-D movie and see the effects. They can, but so can Sensors. I mean that when visualizing a problem, N’s are able to look at it in multiple dimensions. They are also quite likely to make decisions quickly and to be drawn to the Arts. Many naturally creative people, artists, are N’s.
In business, the people that cut you off with the answer to a question that you didn’t ask yet, are likely N’s. Decisiveness can be a great strength, but can also be a weakness when implemented too aggressively that you shut others down. I can be guilty of this.
A sensor is drawn to data. They want to know the details and mull the data over before making decisions; therefore, their decisions tend to be very fact based and well researched. Sensors will always want more data. It doesn’t mean that they are always stymied and can never move forward, just that if given their preference, they would always want more facts. This Myers Briggs indicator aligns closely to Analytical type in the book People Styles at Work. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. My favorite feature is that it gives you specific actions to take when communicating with the various types. For Analytics, and I’ll stretch and say Sensors, one tip is to give them 17 seconds after asking a question before expecting them to respond. Hey, 17 seconds sounds like a blip, right? That’s not even 1/3 of a minute… Just try to sit quietly, not talking, letting the pregnant silence percolate for 17 seconds. It is infinitely longer under those circumstances!
- In worlds of color, Sensors are typically going to see in black and white while Intuitives are likely to be masters of gray.
- In terms of landscape, Sensors are going to see the bark on the trees and Intuitives will be looking at the forest.
All of these descriptions are referring to a persons preferred behavior style. It does not mean that you, or I, can’t learn to operate outside of our preferred style. We can. People do it all the time. However, when stressed, your natural style tends to exert itself and that is when your true Myers Briggs type will show itself. Ideally, we will find careers that cater to our strengths – to our natural style. That is a win-win for everyone. However, there will still be circumstances that call for you to stretch beyond your comfort zone and step outside that natural box for a minute.
So, to answer the first question…
If I were going to buy a new car, I would love to have a Sensor advise me. Why? I expect that they would know the latest Consumer Reports review, have read the accident statistics, know the price to value ratio, and have researched the purchase in great detail prior to making a recommendation.
Next time I will discuss the differences between Thinking vs. Feeling, but so far what do you think of this series? Does anything resonate?
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