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Mother and daughter understanding the type differences of how they manage time

Personality Type and Social Emotional Learning: Self-Management (SEL Series – Part 3)

Apr 04, 2022
Yvonne Nelson-Reid, PhD
YVONNE NELSON-REID, PhD, is the Senior Development Associate at the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT®), the publisher for the People Stripes® website, a mother of 5, writer, teacher (BEd, MA), depth psychologist – Jungian and archetypal studies (MA, PhD), and career coach. Parenting, teaching in a classroom, or on the ice as a figure skating coach has taught her a great deal about relationships and the importance of communication.
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Yvonne Nelson-Reid is a master practitioner for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) instrument and a practitioner for the Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children® (MMTIC®) assessment, who has been helping individuals, families, and children understand themselves better for over 25 years. In the third article of this series, Yvonne integrates her years of experience as an educator with her expertise in personality type to explore connections between type and Social Emotional Learning (SEL). New to Type? Click here!

In part one of this series, Personality Type and Social Emotional Learning (SEL), I explained SEL as defined by the Collaborative of Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) organization. Furthermore, I suggested that SEL teaches an awareness of what we need to know for healthy development and learning personality type teaches how individuals go about doing so based on their natural styles. They go hand in hand. Personality type aligns with and strengthens SEL.

How does learning about personality type support the five core competencies of SEL? In part two of this series, I demonstrated the connection between type and the SEL competency of Self-Awareness. Now, I turn to Self-Management.

Self-Management

CASEL defines Self-Management as: "The abilities to manage one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations. This includes the capacities to delay gratification, manage stress, and feel motivation and agency to accomplish personal and collective goals."1

Personality type does not tell us what we will think, act, or say in any situation. We choose our behavior. According to type theory, we do not choose our strengths or stretches since these are inborn and develop over the lifespan. Type helps us to decide whether a situation calls for us to draw upon our strengths or stretches. Our personality style may be different from other people, but we can learn to appreciate those differences and, when necessary, lean into our stretch to better communicate.

When in situations that require us to go against our natural personality style, it can feel exhausting, and we may feel less capable and competent when using the opposite type preferences. This is the same for all ages but even more so for young people. In the early years, natural type preferences start to develop. For healthy development we all need a comfortable and reliable way to take in information and make decisions. We also need to learn how to engage in our outer world through Extraversion and reflect upon our inner world through Introversion, although most of us will prefer and feel more comfortable with one over the other. Young people can learn about their opposite preferences (stretches), becoming competent in their use, however, is challenging. They are still learning about themselves and developing their natural preferences (strengths).

Many people view the world through the lens of their own personality type believing that their way is the right way, or the only way of engaging with others, leading to misunderstandings and potential conflict. Learning about personality type differences allows us to see the world through multiple lenses, enabling better self-management through our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in our relationships with others. Rather than get into an argument over differences, we can begin to appreciate those differences. However, when young people struggle to use their stretches or find themselves in prolonged situations requiring them to do so, anxiety and stress levels rise. They may feel embarrassed, incompetent, and angry. Communicating with someone who has opposite preferences may invoke frustration leading to an uncomfortable, stressful situation.

Type awareness offers a way to manage stress based upon your overall preferences, which may or may not be managed in the same way as your family, friends, and teachers. Without the words to articulate these frustrations, young people will often act out, lash out, have tantrums, or withdraw into isolation. For example, one of my daughters, who prefers ESFJ, appreciates harmony and values connection in her relationships. She is outgoing and enjoys being with and helping her friends. As a young girl, when conflict arose with friends, she would retreat to her room, isolate, and place all the blame on herself. Excessive criticism internalized, leading to depression and feelings of inadequacy, is typical for her personality type when under stress; it is the complete opposite to her usual enthusiastic and uplifting approach to life. Type awareness taught her that some alone time is good for self-nurturance but talking through these situations with a trusted impartial person really helps her to get out of her self-critical head and back into balance. Over time, she has learned that a lack of harmony is not such a bad thing, and it is not up to her to create another's happiness. Understanding how stress impacts our personality type aids in better self-management.

Another area of self-management that is supported through an understanding of personality type is goal achievement which is often dependent upon our ability to manage our time. The Judging and Perceiving preference pair describes how people manage and approach their outside world. People who prefer Judging live life in a planful and orderly way. They tend to be systematic, early starting, scheduled, and methodical. They like reaching decisions quickly, sometimes too quickly without gathering enough information. Since they often plan weeks, months, and years ahead, last minute surprises or changes can be disarming. Whereas people who prefer Perceiving live life in a spontaneous and flexible way. They often love surprises and like exploring. They tend to be casual, open-ended, adaptable, and pressure prompted. Gathering information is a priority to decision-making, sometimes gathering too much information, and never quite making it to a decision. Since they would rather experience life than control it, they are not thrown off by last minute changes and pride themselves on their resourcefulness and adaptability.

This preference pair often causes the most conflict because they just do not get each other. People often have a bias against the opposite preference seeing their way as the "right" way. This is not the case; both preferences have value. Take meeting deadlines or due dates, for example. Students will approach assignment due dates differently depending on their preference for Judging or Perceiving, as described above. Parents or teachers with opposite type preferences to the young person may feel exasperated leading to arguments and slammed doors!

Adults who prefer Judging may feel frustrated by young people with a Perceiving preference who wait until the last minute to complete tasks. Keep in mind, they are often motivated by an upcoming deadline or due date and produce their best work in a burst of energy at the eleventh hour, although they may need guidance in getting there! Young people with a Perceiving preference might feel micromanaged and constrained by adults who prefer Judging and when forced to follow someone else's timeline, may not produce their best work.

Adults who prefer Perceiving may feel frustrated by young people with a Judging preference when it comes to plans. A temper tantrum may break out if a week ago, for example, the adult suggested that a trip to the zoo would be a nice outing for the following Saturday, and on Saturday the plans shift to a trip to visit Grandma. Even though seeing Grandma would be fun, it is not the zoo as was planned because even a suggestion can be a definite plan, according to the young person with a Judging preference. They like to stick to their plans, and they expect everyone else to as well! Verbalizing their discomfort with a sudden change in plans may be challenging for them, instead they may act out or pout leaving the adult confused and agitated. Young people with a Judging preference might feel like life is chaotic when plans shift spontaneously and may need support in understanding the value in flexibility, along with an explanation, when plans do change. A little notice helps, too!

We need each other! Self-management will look different whether you prefer Judging or Perceiving. We can all meet due dates and manage life changes, but how we get there may look quite different.

These are some ways in which personality type awareness supports an understanding of Self-Management and why our individual approaches may differ. Part four of the series will focus on personality type and the SEL core competency for Responsible Decision-Making.

1. "What Is the CASEL Framework?" CASEL, October 11, 2021. https://casel.org/fundamentals-of-sel/what-is-the-casel-framework/#self-awareness.

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