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OAAPT 2000 Conference: Type, Teams, Leadership and Conflict Resolution

by: Patricia Harper
Vice President – Ontario Association for the Application of Personality Type (OAAPT)

OAAPT held its annual conference in downtown Toronto at Ryerson Polytechnic University’s Oakham House on November 4th and 5th 2000. Owing to the immense popularity of this year’s presenters, the Thomas Lounge was filled to capacity and registrations had to be closed off to the disappointment of many. We were delighted to have participants join our Ontario members from British Columbia, Manitoba and New York.

Otto Kroeger and Janet Thuesen, internationally known consultants and co-authors of three highly esteemed books on psychological type, ‘Type Talk’, ‘Type Talk at Work’, and ’16 Ways to Love Your Lover’, captivated the audience of one hundred and fifteen. Our inimitably entertaining Master of Ceremonies was Paul Huschilt, Career Counsellor, Comedian, Singer and Storyteller.

Type and Teams was the focus of Saturday morning’s session. Otto and Janet opened by determining the distribution of types in the audience, which is key to “knowing your audience”. Throughout the morning, a variety of groups were formed comprised of people preferring Introversion (I) or Extraversion (E), Sensing (S) or Intuition (N), Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) and Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). The groups were sent to opposite corners and answered these questions, “When working in teams, what are your worst fears?”; “What must happen for a team to be effective?”; “What does your preference contribute to a team?”; and “What are the blocks to team building?”. As you can imagine, the debriefings were very interesting and revealed a wide variety of perspectives on the same questions. These exercises and the handouts contributed to our learning how type awareness can help us understand the pathways and pitfalls to teamwork.

After a delicious lunch combined with our Annual General Meeting, we reconvened to learn about Type and Leadership. Leadership was broadly defined as a process that moves a group towards it goals. Using a diagram of an iceberg, task skills (what the group has to do) and maintenance skills (how the group is doing it) were shown above the water line. Individual needs were shown below the water line because they are often overlooked and can be difficult to detect. An effective leader is one who can create a climate that will allow the individual needs to surface and be made public, so that they can be dealt with constructively. We explored these ideas through a number of group exercises and thought-provoking questions.

Type and Conflict Resolution was the topic for Sunday morning. Otto & Janet discussed the dynamics of conflict and strategies to use in dealing with it. Some good questions for experiential exercises were posed: “How do you define conflict?”, “What do you do when you are faced with conflict?” and “What would you like others to keep in mind when conflict arises?”. Given the variety of answers and approaches we heard, it became quite obvious why conflict can easily erupt and escalate. Thankfully, we also gained a great deal of insight through these exercises to better prepare us for facing conflict and dealing with it constructively.

The very talented Paul Huschilt closed the conference on a high note with his singing and story telling. The audience was amazed and enchanted with his ability to capture the events of the previous day and work them so humorously into an adaptation of Cinderella. At the story’s conclusion, the mood of the room was one of joy and camaraderie. As Otto and Janet rushed to catch their plane back to Fairfax, Virginia, the crowd gave them a standing ovation, and spontaneously broke out in song, specifically Kumbaya, in reference to a joke Otto had made during the conference. Everyone left in a very light-hearted mood looking forward to next year’s conference. The OAAPT Board is already working diligently to surpass this year’s success with our 2001 Conference. Stay Tuned!

Pat Harper is a Business Development Consultant with Career/LifeSkills Resources Inc., an Independent Career Coach and Vice President of the Ontario Association for the Application of Personality Type (OAAPT). She can be reached at pharper@sympatico.ca. For more information about OAAPT, call 905-760-1339 or email OAAPT@hotmail.com.

Tiblets Araya

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