Why is it important to understand your preferred processes and how they differ from other people’s preferred processes? This is your preferred way of making sense of the world and reacting to your circumstances and experiences. It is not identical to that of the people around you. As you live in community with people who are different from you, you may find yourself making comparisons and feeling confused or making judgments.
For example, I am very thankful for the S people in my life because they make much better observations than I do. I can count on them to tell me what important facts I have not considered when I want to move into making decisions. But, sometimes I feel frustrated that they can take SO long to make a decision. I mean how much information do you really need?! I find it very hard not to share my N perspective with them in those moments.
Why it is important to be balanced and to develop your non-preferred processes? I think that these gifts fall in the category of greater gifts that Paul encourages us to desire earnestly in 1 Corinthians 12:31. I think that Jesus demonstrated perfect balance in each of the four preferences and that his development in each type was complete. Since we want to be holy as He is holy, I think that we should cultivate balance in exercising our preferences as a part of that process.
Why is it important to invite people who are different from you to assist you in this process? I refer to 1 Corinthians 12 again to respond to this question. In verse 7, we see that “to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Our gifts are meant to be used for the common good which suggests that we exercise them and develop them in community. They are meant for the common good, so we should submit to one another to make sure that we are using our gifts in a way that serves the common good and not just personal good. I cannot be sure that my gift is being used for the common good without checking with the larger group. It will be harder for me to know how well I am operating outside of my preferred processes. But, if I find someone who prefers the process that I am weak in, then they can probably direct me and encourage me in how to grow in that area where they are strong. Hopefully, I can do the same for them as they seek to grow in the processes that I prefer, where I am strong.
I think that it is also good to understand type differences in responding to offense. I think that offense often reveals a difference in type preferences between two people. When we feel offended it is often because we have a different perspective from someone else and we are frustrated that they do not share our view of things. If we take the time to check for a difference in type between us and the person who has offended us, then we may discover that we disagree because we are emphasizing a different process from them. Resolution may come through this conversation. Even if we do still disagree, taking the time to understand the other person and their perspective will often go a long way toward resolving the disagreement because it communicates to the other person that we value them and their opinion.