When Robert Urwiler came on board as the new vice president and CIO of San Francisco-based Macromedia last September, he wanted to get acquainted with his new staff and his peers on the executive team as quickly as possible. He also wanted to save them from the angst of wondering about this new head honcho’s persona. “As a new leader, the more quickly you can understand your colleagues and your staff,” he says, “the more quickly you can become a productive and efficient leader.”
To break the ice, Urwiler shared his Myers-Briggs personality profile with his 105-person IT staff as well as Macromedia’s senior management team. He also invited them to take the personality test themselves and share the results with each other. (For more information on Myers-Briggs and its 16 different personality types, see www.personalitypage.com/ info.html.)
Even though only a few employees ended up actually sharing their profiles, Urwiler says the exercise was valuable. It gave his colleagues a quick read of his INFJ (quietly forceful, hard-working, individualistic and sensitive) personality and has helped him more effectively manage his staff.
For example, Urwiler learned that his operations director is an ISTJ, which means he is hard-working, among other things. However, Urwiler has to keep an eye on him to ensure that he doesn’t take on too much responsibility. “Understanding this fella’s personality has helped me manage how much work he does,” Urwiler says. “This is something I’d figure out naturally over time, but understanding the profiles helps me be on the lookout.”