In this second of the four-part series, we give some love to our Cooperation friends! If you haven't already taken the short assessment, check out the post, download the form and determine your personal style. Even if Cooperation is not your dominant style, keep reading - you surely have some of these folks in your life.
People with a dominant style of Cooperation are at their core relationship builders. They tend to be warm, nurturing, expressive and sensitive. At times they may come across as too tender-hearted and perhaps naïve. Communication is one of their key strengths, as well as their ability to mentor, support and inspire others to improve their lives. Typical career paths involve using their people skills and compassion for others (e.g., nurse, social worker, teacher, motivational speaker). It's not an exact comparison, but the most similar MBTI types are ENFJ, INFJ, ENFP and INFP, although others are possible.
What this means for making choices
The first thing to note about Cooperation types, is that many (or most) of their decisions are made based on feelings – both their own and other’s. They don’t always have (or use) facts or data to support their choices, they tend to act on intuition. This isn’t a bad thing, they are very good at reading other people, so are accurate about decisions that pertain to emotional responses and touchy-feely situations.
They are uncomfortable with conflict though, so will avoid decisions that produce conflict. In some situations, this is a strength. They can evaluate the emotional scene quickly and make choices that create harmony and peace. Because they are seen as fair and kind, other types tend to accept their decisions more easily. However, in cases where disagreement is unavoidable, they may shut down, withdraw, waffle back and forth between options, or make a choice that eases the tension but doesn’t solve the problem.
They find it more difficult than the other types to say no, so may make choices that help other people, but make their own lives more difficult. Along this same line, they can become overly involved with helping others, sometimes to the detriment of both parties.
Cooperation peeps tend to take things personally, so it is important that they not let that sensitivity cause undue stress, or overreact to imaginary insults. If you are a Cooperation type and you took that last sentence personally, then you are reading the right profile. They wear their hearts on their sleeves, and in many ways that is awesome – people come to them for a sympathetic ear, for a shoulder to cry on. They are the ones we seek out when we have a crappy day. They will cry with us, they will laugh with us, and we cherish them for it. They must, however, keep in mind that the sensitivity that we love them for can also cause them to make decisions that are not best for them in the long term.
Decision challenges to conquer
Procrastination when the decision is likely to involve conflict
Tendency to acquiesce (say yes), even though they shouldn’t
Being wishy-washy or waffling between choices
Avoiding confronting issues head on when there is conflict or disagreement involved
What about Introversion/Extroversion?
eCooperation: Extroverted Cooperation
Conversation is one of the favorite past times of Extroverted Cooperation types. Any sort of social outing is welcome, and the focus of the conversation will be on personal topics – relationships, recent interactions with others, and above all, feelings. Choices are made during these interactions – Cooperation types, especially E’s, do not stew over choices on their own. They make the choice as they are talking with others – be aware of this!
iCooperation: Introverted Cooperation
Behind the scenes helping, volunteering and caring for others is the joy of the Introverted Cooperation type. They love to talk about feelings and relationships as well, but in quiet, one-on-one settings. They too, will make their choices during conversations with others, rather than alone with the facts.
Advice for the care and feeding of a Cooperation type
Physical touch is okay, welcome even
Allow them to express their feelings, and try to open up about your own
Listen attentively and let them know they are being heard
Do not: Discount their feelings, be rude or blunt, ignore them, expect them to respond to conflict or disagreement
If your type is Logic or Responsibility, be extra careful that your attention to data and efficiency doesn’t turn off a Cooperation type
Are you a Cooperation type? If so, do you think this captures your personal style?
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!