Debaters (ENTPs) are among the more productive personality types, depending on the nature of the activities involved. They tend to be very energetic if they believe that there is a point to prove, they dislike the run-of-the-mill, and they will question established rules and ideas in the blink of an eye. These personalities are charismatic, but, almost paradoxically, they can also be somewhat contrarian.
Following through can be difficult for many people with this personality type, because they can be detached from the functional aspects of finishing something. They can also fall prey to the diversions of a new thought or idea that feels more compelling to them than the subject at hand. However, if their workplace allows them to explore different ideas, then Debaters have likely found a tailor-made job and will feel at home.
Essentially, in exploring useful productivity tips that are likely to resonate with Debater personalities, we’ll look at tips for building skills that will help them sharpen their focus on immediate tasks, methods for tempering the need to participate in unnecessary arguments, and ways of dealing with their typical intolerance for repetitive tasks.
Embracing the Utilitarian
As a Debater, you likely enjoy living in a world of theory and ideas, and repeated day-to-day matters can sometimes leave you cold. People with your personality type may need to nail down the actionable steps needed to create the desired outcome while maintaining a connection to a larger theoretical construct. That connection is likely important to keep a Debater’s sustained interest. However, caution is warranted. Theories that become more important than the practical outcome can serve as a distraction.
Debaters may want to clarify what the outcome that they desire will look like. Concrete, measurable targets can put you on the right track toward more practical action. With concrete intentions in hand, the typical Debater can easily create the actionable steps needed to meet them.
A periodic review of the overarching aims and a daily to-do list of incremental steps can help keep you on track toward your practical outcomes. Thousands of planning systems and tools exist in the marketplace, but you may find them too constricting. If you find none that work for you, create one that does.
The bottom line here involves staying on target while appreciating – but not being hijacked by – the theoretical scaffolding that supports your action. There is still plenty of room for the typical Debater’s imagination to come into play, even within the context of a more traditional planning system. You can view a to-do list as a device that limits your more spontaneous creativity, or you can think of ways to inject creativity into your planning. Don’t forget that starting something isn’t the same as finishing something, whether you’re accountable to just yourself or to others. You will likely need some kind of target to shoot for.
Consider: Do you have a plan, complete with measurable goals and actionable steps, to reach your desired results? Have you included periodic assessments of your progress within the plan? Find or create a plan that works for you.
Accountability and Collaboration
Debater personalities often poke holes in the logic and the methods of others. This type of analysis can be a valuable skill if your critical stance leads to pragmatic results. Otherwise, arguing can seem like endless nay-saying without something to show for it in the end. Productivity is about producing, and simply highlighting flaws without providing remedies is unlikely to be useful.
If you notice that your talk sometimes significantly exceeds your action, then you may want to start by acknowledging this tendency. Look back on your recent endeavors, and try to quantify your results in concrete terms. If your ratio of talking to acting is off, maybe it’s time to shift your perspective. Teaming up with others who can help you remain accountable to the targets that you want to hit can be most useful.
Working with others should be an easy task, with Debaters’ typical charisma and sociability. But doing so also demands openness and a willingness to entertain the opinions that others offer. You’re generally interested in new and relevant information, but you may not always buy into novel ideas until you’ve had an opportunity to dissect them and examine them critically. That’s a good instinct – unless it becomes excessive and renders people gun-shy because they believe that they will become overwhelmed by analysis that has no real reason for being.
Being argumentative can be quite disruptive. But you can counter any harm ahead of time by building a degree of rapport and trust with your team that can smooth the way through even the most contentious discussions.
Since follow-through is sometimes highlighted as a Debater personality weakness, share your objectives with other people you trust and who understand you. While no adult wants a babysitter, having someone with whom you can occasionally share your progress toward your goals couldn’t hurt.
Hopefully, to match your preferred style, such a person will be more of a supportive influence in your life than an authoritarian one. Supportive doesn’t necessarily imply some spongy sort of love fest. It can just as likely be someone who is annoyingly challenging or even sarcastic. It’s up to you to find the style that works for you.
Consider: Do you have a team that supports you and helps you meet your goals? Do trusted advisors play a role in your work life?
Tackling the Dreaded Routine
Routine, for Debaters, likely means anything repetitive and lacking new and interesting things to think about. Most people must deal with such unchallenging tasks. It’s just a part of life, but it can be something that Debater personalities put off or avoid to their detriment.
The first step to tackling the dull sameness of an activity is acceptance. You may be able to figure out a way to avoid repetitive and mind-numbing activities, but chances are you’ll end up facing them at some point in your work or career. Learning to accept that not everything will be intellectually challenging makes this inevitability easier to swallow when these tasks occur.
After accepting the reality, perhaps reframing it could take these less-than-exciting chores to the next level. For the sort of active mind belonging to the typical Debater personality, boredom is the enemy that surfaces during monotonous activities. Consider how much has been made recently of the benefits of boredom, particularly when it comes to creativity. Some postulate the theory that inventiveness is the product that often naturally follows periods of tedious activity. While unproven, the theory may be worth exploring.
Boredom is something that we humans rarely welcome, but perhaps that should change. Accepting monotonous activities as a chance to regroup and recharge our thinking and imagination should make us more eager to experience them. So, what if we look for opportunities to purposely blend it into our lives instead of dreading that which feels mind-numbing? This idea may sound a bit radical to a Prospecting personality type, but going against one’s grain at times can be life enhancing.
So, instead of resisting routine, try to embrace it and look at it more eagerly on two levels. The first level is the satisfaction of completing the boring task and getting it out of the way. Getting something obligatory off of your plate, so that you have the freedom to move on to something more interesting, can be gratifying, even if the task that’s completed holds little interest.
The second level is allowing your mind the chance to take a break and regroup. Routine can be stressful, and stress can be draining. Taking some time out from a stressful situation is foundational to what many call self-care. Resting and getting away are needed for psychological and biological health. Some Debaters may feel that this counters the level of drive that they feel, but that doesn’t negate the need. Maybe the average Debater personality wants to think of resting as playing handball with a challenging opponent. Resting doesn’t always mean taking a bubble bath and a long nap. Anything that gives you a break from a routine will often do the trick.
Consider: What level of routine do you experience in your work: low, medium, or high? If it’s medium or high, are there any alternatives to consider? (For example: reframing the routine as something more useful, like a meditation exercise; creating interesting ways to enhance the time, like creating a competition with yourself or others around the task; or maybe even considering putting out feelers for a new job, if you find yourself unable to tolerate doing the same thing repeatedly.)
Change and the Debater
The great thing about Debater personalities is that they embrace change when the situation calls for it. As a result, they tend not to remain stuck in their ways. In fact, they may go the other way. They may be too eager to throw out the tried and true. So, embracing a way to reframe boring situations or finding a more moderate approach to criticism is well within their reach, once they buy into the reason for the changes.
Sometimes Debaters’ tendency to dispute a matter is more recreational than a purposeful activity. But when there is pragmatic substance to their arguments, a Debater’s counsel can be extremely valuable. Every team of any kind could probably benefit from a Debater personality type or two to help keep things honest.