Picture this: you've built a successful company from the ground up with dozens—maybe hundreds—of employees. But you are dissatisfied with how your staff are working. You're paying them well, and they all have terrific skills, but they just don't seem to be as dedicated, or as loyal, or as happy as you need them to be. What's going on?
One thing that might be going on is your expectation set and rule structure. Rules and requirements scare some employees, especially Intuitives (the "N" of the Myers-Briggs four-letter code). Intuitives are your creative thinkers; they thrive in environments that allow for autonomy and resourcefulness.
Here are 10 practices that are likely to annoy and alienate the Intuitive employees of your company at any stage in their career.
#1: Time Pressure for the Sake of Time Pressure
Does this project really have to be completed by close of play Friday (a mere three hours away) or are you putting your team under time pressure for the sake of it? Intuitives are first-and-foremost creative thinkers; they explore how ideas fit others imaginatively, and have a habit of taking on lots of new projects, even though they are still working on other projects, because they enjoy stepping away from the routine.
What they don't enjoy, is an unrealistic time scale that does not clarify, or even recognize, what project is the most important. Do they have to pull the emergency brake and let someone else down because you need this report by today?
To manage Intuitives properly, you need helicopter sight; that bird's-eye view from above where you can see everything that is being done and everything that needs to be done in this moment. Are you putting the right priority on the right things? Do you understand what else your Intuitives are achieving? Are you managing effectively—or are you just being too efficient for your own good?
#2: Formulaic and Unfair Performance Evaluations
Few people enjoy performance evaluations but to Intuitives, they are absurd, if not hurtful. Rating someone based on a five-point scale (or whatever the rating system is) is not real and completely misses all the intangibles that Intuitives bring to the table—the new approaches, the creative ideas, the speculating about possibilities that others may have missed. Why would someone want to stay in a company that misses half their skill set?
For Intuitive feelers (INFJ, ENFJ, INFP, ENFP), you have an even bigger problem. These types crave cooperation and experience difficulty working in a competitive environment. How can an Intuitive trust you when you've essentially set him up in a performance-review version of the Hunger Games?
#3: The Need to be Seen
If you like to see people sitting at their desks all day long so you know where they are, and you like to have them follow the company playbook sequentially, then you're going to have a problem with your Intuitive employees. While Intuitives work best in a well-organized environment, they also need full control over how they organize and carry out tasks.
A good worker knows what he should give to the company and is smart enough to assess where it is better to perform his job. Why not respect the fact that he needs to work in a quiet room, or even from home every now and then? Can you negotiate how they can be accountable yet do the work in their own way?
#4: Wrong Priorities
Some people—coworkers as well as bosses—set the wrong priorities. To an Intuitive, the wrong priority almost always is the one that meets an immediate need but does not result in the best outcome in the long term. Intuitives are long-range thinkers; they anticipate the future when planning their actions today.
Most Intuitives are also pragmatists; they will go with the priority you've set because you're the boss and that's their job! But if you ask them to pursue the wrong course of action too often, and neglect to spot flaws and root out inefficiencies that need to be corrected for a successful long-term outcome, they will quickly lose confidence in the company's vision.
#5: The Promise of Interesting Tasks (That Never Come)
Theoretically, there are many interesting tasks, side projects, training programs, certifications, community initiatives and so on available in your organization. You probably described them at length to impress this candidate at the interview stage.
In practice, most topics are thwarted for cost reasons. Result: alienated Intuitive employee.
#6: One-way Communication
If there's one trait all Intuitives share, it's the need to see the bigger picture. Sadly, too many organizations are reluctant to share changing their strategic plans with the "common people." Changing managers, revolving work policies, decisions made behind closed doors—this lack of transparency is endlessly frustrating to Intuitives and results in less and less information flow to the individual employee.
When certain topics are consciously held back by the people in charge, Intuitives will soon grow antsy. They don't expect to have a say in high-level decisions, but they do expect you to be open about what's happening on the bigger company horizon. So, share.
#7: All Doing and No Thinking
Whereas Sensors prefer to follow set-by-step processes that are clear and accurate, Intuitives need freedom and space to explore, see patterns and make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas. They don't want to compartmentalize different tasks and projects; they want everything together. Some feel alienated if they're expected to "do, do, do!" with no time for contemplation, and no people around to help develop ideas through discussion.
Here's the thing with Intuitives: they do a lot when you think they're doing nothing. If you see them kicking back, staring into space, there's a fair chance they're accumulating their thoughts and transforming them into something better.
When businesses are "results driven" or "process driven" all the time—when every minute can be accounted for with disturbing exactness—it tells employees that it's the process that matters and not the outcome. This is appalling to Intuitives, to the point where they may stop caring about your outcomes at all.