An example of MBTI/KTS in actual practice at one
company will demonstrate its use. In the Kickoff Workshop for the
Advanced Instrument Teams, members participated in the KTS type
indicator test. Results were accompanied by a lecturette explaining
the meaning, and usefulness, of the resulting temperament sort. Team
members met in groups and discussed their individual indicators. The
objectives of the discussions were threefold:
• to better understand self
• to better understand each other
• to provide a better informed basis for task/team assignments
Does it work? A resounding Tes!" And at every
level. But one caveat: the people involved must put the necessary
• learning about themselves
• learning about others and their relationships in working with
combining this learning for proactive/
synergistic teamwork action
The key point is to learn to appreciate the value added in others.
Look for a win/win even when values, ideas, attitudes, even
cultural norms are different. Capture and exploit the synergy.
But also look for performance—push back gently,
diplomatically, sincerely, when contribution and value added is
both below par and team expectations. Now you're a real teamwork
The Listening-Adjustment Approach
Conflict in team action or workaday business life is common. Our
diversity and human imperfection lead us into differences of
opinion, varying degrees of conflict, prolonged adversarial
positions, and even open warfare. When the differences are
constructively put forth and received, true value is involved. On
the other hand destructive conflict is the enemy of teamwork. It
results in a waste of human effort and a loss of organizational
energy, both precious, limited commodities.As the name implies, the
Listening-Adjustment (L-A) technique puts a premium on that key
element in communications—listening.
It is a powerful approach to resolve conflict,
particularly when accompanied by dysfunctional attitudes/actions on
teamwork activities. The classic case is the person who presents a
proposal which is not well received, then digs in their heels and
clings to that position—even when all hope of winning the battle is
lost. Most of us have experienced this "painting yourself into a
corner" syndrome; we feel that we will lose face if we
retreat!That's where the L-A technique comes in. L-A is built on the
cause/reaction principle for understanding behavior— to understand
the reaction find and understand the cause. In discussion with the
person who persists in being a road block, another team
member/leader uses a four step approach:
• listens for the reaction
• listens for the root cause
• helps the person to associate the reaction with the cause
• helps the person to self-adjust by sincere listening/ prompting
which allows the person to "hear" their own words—to work toward
Needless to say, empathetic listening is no easy
task. It is an acquired art that requires both patience and
practice, along with a good deal of sincerity and integrity. The
listener must suppress the usual reactions of blaming, arguing,
telling or castigating. In place of these the listener uses "w"
questions, restatement and neutral replies to helpthe person towards
their own insights. The goal of L-A listener is to act as a
facilitator in helping someone else to help themselves.
Acknowledging our own shortcomings ourselves is the surest way to
get people back on the teamwork track.
The basics of the L-A technique can be learned in
a few hours. However, it is the practice which perfects sound
listening habits. So we use a series of role plays to replicate real
life and provide an L-A practice arena in the safety of the training
room. Best of all, Listening-Adjustment is a technique which can be
effectively learned and practiced by people at every level in the
organization. This changes the culture as the listening organization
becomes the learning organization!
Given the universality of diversity and its
potential for divisiveness, the Listening-Adjustment approach
provides a productive vehicle for getting folks back on the team.
But no free lunch. People must be trained in the L-A tech nique—and
they have to use it professionally for it to be effective.