February 2, 2012

Confusing Introversion and Extraversion with Judging and Perceiving

My mom dropped off the latest edition of Time Magazine for me to read. I've only gotten as far as the letter from the editor and I'm already questioning some of what they're saying. (Is it that I'm picky, or that they're just wrong?)

From what Richard Stengel, the managing editor of Time Magaine, says, it sounds like they're specifically looking at introversion and extraversion as it relates to campaigning. (Introversion vs Extraversion is a hot topic lately, by the way, because a new book has just come out called Quiet, by Susan Cain.) Near the end of his column he says, 

No one wants to see a shy candidate on the podium who looks as if he'd rather be in a room by himself. But campaigning is not governing, a task for which a more introverted style might have advantages. Research suggests that extroverted leaders are more likely to make quick and sometimes rash decisions, while introverted leaders tend to gather more evidence and are slower to judgment.

Is that true? Are extraverts (By the way, Jung spelled it extrAverts, so that's the preferred spelling when talking about personality typing. But Stengel spelled it with an "o."  ... just sayin'.) more likely to jump to a quick decision? Or would that trait be better identified with J's (Those with a preference for judging.)? Someone who is judging would much rather come to a conclusion rather than spend extra time researching or studying the problem. J's like things to be resolved. Even if they aren't resolved as well as they could be if more time were given to the situation, at least it's over and done with and whew! I don't have to worry about that one any more. P's (perceivers) on the other hand, like to gather as much information as they can before making a decision. They welcome input from others because they trust that the more input received, the better the eventual decision will be. (Even the fact that a decision could be "eventual" is a rather P understanding.) Herman Cain had a classic P moment in an interview when asked about the situation in Libya. The interviewer wanted him to make definitive statements in judgement of how things had been handled there. Cain, on the other hand, wanted more information, more input, before coming to a conclusion. 

So, are E's really more impetuous than I's? Or is Stengel getting Introversion and Extraversion mixed up with Judging and Perceiving? I think he is. And I think that making such misguided statements causes confusion as people think of introverts that they know that are quick to make decisions and extraverts that they know that couldn't get around to making a decision unless their life depended on it. And what would be the advantages to having a president that's a J or a P? What about a T or an F? Why do we focus on I and E as a society. And why do we have a hard time acknowledging that there are other facets to personality than whether we prefer to relate to our inner world or the outer one? I think it's great that people are realizing that introverts and extraverts are different. I hope that this new found interest in this aspect of personality leads to more research and understanding towards other aspects of personality as well.