November 7, 2018

The Danger of Labelling People

Have you ever made an assumption about a person because they have been introduced with their job title?

I’m an accountant by qualification, but that doesn’t make me a tax expert, or even a boring person who likes to read financial statements for bed-time reading.

Are all Marketing Directors experts on Social Media advertising, or Lawyers automatically experts on criminal law?

Clearly not, so why is it that we make these assumptions?

It’s all too easy to pigeon-hole people into job types, and the same is true when we take personality profiles to find more about ourselves.

Take Myers Briggs MBTI as an example, we suddenly have a piece of paper that informs us we are Introverted or Extroverted, Sensing or Intuitive, Thinking or Feeling decision makers, and Judging or Perceiving in our approach to life.

So when MBTI has concluded I am (ENFP and ENFJ, therefore an extrovert who uses intuition and forward-looking, with a tendency to base decisions on values, (for those who like the detail), I can find it very frustrating to be judged as an introvert, looking only at facts and what is in front of me today,  for decision making,  just based on my qualification as an accountant.

But, even worse – there is an assumption that I can’t use those other fact-based thinking preferences when I need to (and believe me, I can when faced with an incorrect set of numbers!!)

Whilst Personality Profiling and Job Titles may give us a few hints as to what we can expect from one another, there is still no substitute for making our own judgements from the conversations we have with people, to find out what they actually do and think, rather than what they might do if they were true to their natural instincts and training

The reality is that as complex human beings, we may have preferences, but we also learn skills that help us to broaden our options and actions. I even know of an Actuary who is a stand-up comedian in his spare time!

So, where is this leading to?  Once handed our MBTI profile, or DISC (or any other personality profile for that matter), we need to take into account that these profiles show our preferred approaches to decision making, communication, learning styles, planning etc., and that we can build skills and habits to help us think and behave in new and exciting ways so that we can fulfil all of our potentials and break free of the labels.

If you want to achieve your greatest potential and write your own label, why not book a free, no-obligation call with me here today.

Louise Seabrook is a Leadership coach helping leaders and businesses develop leaders who are in tune with employees and deliver outstanding performance.  Find out more at, or book a no-obligation clarity call at https://bookme/thesubtledifference.

The Subtle Difference is all about enabling heart-centred leaders to step into senior positions where they can inspire others by creating an environment where people matter, the work they do is relevant and meaningful and that they are making progress for themselves and their organisation.

Happy and engaged employees deliver 20% higher productivity and increase shareholder value for the businesses they work in. (Source: Jackson Organisation Study)

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