Getting Stuff Done - The Responsibility Type

In this last of the four-part series, we will explore the "Responsibility" type. If you haven't already taken the short assessment, check out the post, download the form and determine your personal style. Responsibility may not be your dominant style, but keep reading - I am sure you will recognize someone close to you in this profile.

People whose dominant personal style is Responsibility are typically organized and efficient in most areas of their lives. They tend to be structured, cautious, traditional and have a strong sense of duty and honor and justice. At times, they may come across as inflexible or controlling. Their ability to get things done is one of their key strengths, as is their ability to lead others and provide structure and common sense to a situation. Some example careers for Instinct types are accountant, Human Resources manager, home organizer, financial planner, judge, auditor and air traffic controller. Interestingly, Responsibility types make up about half the population, so if this is you, you are in good company! It's not an exact comparison, but the most similar MBTI types are ESTJ, ISTJ, ESFJ and ISFJ, although others are possible.

What this means for making choices

The most important thing to note about the way a Responsibility type makes decisions is that they will make the decision in advance and it will be carefully planned. They rarely put things off until the last minute, and tend to get annoyed with people who procrastinate. They love to plan and make lists and timelines. They are goal-oriented - they set goals and have a clear sense of how tasks connect to larger actions that lead to achievement of those goals. Their choices will follow a linear path from start to finish, and they will diligently work to see their decisions through to the end.

Responsibility types have a strong sense of what is “right” and “wrong” and what is appropriate behavior in a given situation. This tends to make their choices very black and white, and they are uncomfortable with situations where they must choose a “gray area”. They also get frustrated with people (particularly Instinct types) who are more comfortable bending the rules and or violating social norms. Cooperation types may get their feelings hurt a little by the Responsibility type’s decision process, because much like the Logic types, emotions take a back seat.

They follow rules, policies and procedures carefully. Their choices will almost always be based on a guiding rule – either an external law or policy or one that they hold as part of their strong internal moral compass. This makes it easier to make decisions, since the guideline is already there, pointing them in the right direction. This tendency keeps them safe and secure, but may also keep them from exploring all their options.

This type also tends to make decisions based on tradition or status quo. This means they will sometimes go in a direction simply because that is the way it has always been done, rather than trying a new thing that could fail. They fear failure perhaps a little more than the other types, and because of this, their decisions are less likely to be risky or dangerous.

On the positive side, these tendencies make their choices steady and realistic, and keeps their lives safe and consistent. They can made decisions quickly because their internal guidance is strong and they follow it closely. On the negative side, they may miss opportunities in life because there is often change or risk involved in new things or uncharted paths. It also makes change slow and difficult for them, and they may not change until forced to do so.

Decision challenges to conquer

  • Tendency to deal in “absolutes” – things are either right or wrong, with no in between, and they may stubbornly dig in their heels on their choices

  • Judgement of others who do not view the world the same way – they may tend to criticize or shame others for making choices they do not agree with

  • Rigid adherence to lists, schedules, timelines and plans – this can limit their ability to adapt when things don’t go as planned

  • Tendency to micromanage or make choices for other people when they are stressed

What about Introversion/Extroversion?

eResponsibility: Extroverted Responsibility

Responsibility types are fairly balanced along the E and I continuum. The E types are natural leaders who bring people together to discuss plans, assign tasks, give instructions and follow up to make sure everyone is marching in the same direction. They have strong verbal communication skills, and will pick up the phone to address issues or discuss plans before they will email or text.

iResponsibility: Introverted Responsibility

This type needs time alone to plan and reflect. The organizing, planning and directing that iResponsibility types thrive on is typically done by way of spreadsheets, project plans and checklists, rather talking through the plans with others. They prefer electronic communications to track progress and communicate with others rather than in-person discussions.

Advice for the care and feeding of a Responsibility type

  • Acknowledge their hard work and dedication – it is often through their organization, efficiency and diligence that things get done

  • Show respect for their views on the world – you may not value a rule or policy, but understand they do

  • Encourage them to try new things, start new traditions and take breaks to have fun

  • Do not: Waste their time, insult their traditions, make them late, ignore their contributions, leave behind a mess

Is Responsibility your personal style? How well does this profile describe you?

Remember, there is no best “type”, each has its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to making good choices. We can have feelings and display behaviors that align with any or all of these styles, depending on the situation. The key is to understand what are the predominant personality characteristics driving your decisions and use it to make amazing choices!

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