answers for fidelia's questions
to start out with, i'll just point out that Ne and Fi are both “wiggly” functions, especially with Ne first, so i think the whole mindset of an ENFP in general runs counter to the idea of anything set in stone. that's probably helpful to keep in mind as an overall reason for why ENFPs don't really like authority. our mindset revolves around finding new paths (ie disregarding old ones) and reaching out to people's cores (ie disregarding barriers), and rules essentially are obstacles to both of those goals.
that said, i don't have a problem with rules as much as i have a problem with (a) rules being followed regardless of whether they are helping achieve the principle behind them, (b) rules always having to be followed (restriction is annoying), and (c) rules being established or followed without sufficient questioning.
so – to answer your questions -
well, what's benign to you isn't always benign to everyone, right? that's part of the problem. sometimes leaders make decisions that aren't good for everyone - which, i understand that we always have to compromise to a certain extent, but many leaders consistently exclude the same people. hierarchy is also distasteful because it implies some people being better than others. i personally don't have a problem with putting the person who knows more in charge, but they should also still be questioned. unquestioned authority is an awful thing. questioned authority is a good thing.Why is authority such a big deal? Especially if it is a benign or good decision? What is it about the idea of any hierarchy that is so distasteful?
like i said before, i have a fondness for many authorities. contrary to the way i'm sure my earlier post sounds, i'm actually usually in very good graces with the authority figures. because i do like them – as people, not as authorities. i have moderate skepticism (though also respect for taking on a burden) for them as authorities. and questioning someone's judgment is really a sign of respect, not disrespect. it means i care about the issue at hand and want to help them make the best decision possible in regards to whatever goal they're trying to achieve.
guidelines are awesome, i've got no problem with that. the problem occurs when rules are followed when they're counterproductive. and let's face it, that happens all the time. the phrase “red tape” is testimony to that.And how should a person who is put in authority over an ENFP (teacher, boss, parent etc) then attempt to lead? Obviously even if you feel that you do not need specific rules, it doesn't work to have totally different rules for each individual within a classroom or within a workplace. I think guidelines are needed not just for the immature, but also the bigger the organization, the more built in accountability needs to happen because there is less individualized accountability possible.
to be a good leader over an ENFP, setting principles would be much more useful than rules. also being willing to leave everyone (or just the ENFP, if you don't mind being a bit unfair, lol) legroom to be a little different and being willing to hear the ENFP's questioning of rules and why they're being enacted the way they are... if you can give me a good reason, i'll be happy to follow the rule. also, i firmly believe in the phrase “understand the rules so you know how to break them properly.” it's really not about running wild away from any semblance of order. it's about seeing how rules really don't work sometimes.
explain why there isn't room for change. i'm easily placated if i understand the reasons for something. but nothing gets me riled up like “this is the way it is because it's this way.” and leave room to respect that the ENFP might have a REALLY good idea for working around the problem, instead of treating them like a thorn in your side. figuring out shortcuts and loopholes is second nature to an ENFP. so instead of shutting them down and making them hate everything, why not let them help? if they can't address the problem, they'll work on figuring out other ways of making things better. i mean, don't hire me and then tell me not to work.How do you diffuse those feelings of counterwill that are easily aroused in ENFPs? Is it giving them options within the boundaries? Is it allowing them to say their say even if it doesn't always mean that things will go their way, or is that seen as being all show and nothing real? Is it discussing the whys? What if they disagree and yet there isn't a lot of room for change?
that's the irony of the whole thing – the ENFP is ready to do the required work. lazy as Ps are, if there's an obstacle in front of me, i'll work my ass off until i've gotten around it. but half the time your employer is just like, “no”, and that destroys my productivity completely. i've been at my current job for all of a month and i already see several ways i could streamline things. but i'm not allowed to, because the head of the department has a lot of pet rules. i don't want to do anything without running it by her, but she doesn't want to hear my suggestions because "this is the way she's been doing it for years". i understand that she likes the security and stability, but it also means that she's probably been underproductive for years!
the worst part of it all is that you'll do things when under duress that work out awesome, but then the authority doesn't want to let you mess with anything else. it's like, wait, i just bailed you out of losing $500 by figuring out a few in-the-moment tweaks while you were panicking and being totally unproductive, but you don't want to hear my other suggestions. i understand not wanting to take suggestions from someone who hasn't proven themself, but once they have...? and it's not like i want the authority's job. gross. i don't want to be in charge - i don't care about having their salary because i really don't want all of their responsibilities. i just want them to let me step in every so often and make some suggestions about how we can make things easier and more productive for everyone.
so yeah, that's essentially why i hate conventional workplaces. i love universities though. the problems are still there to a certain extent but at least there's a focus on learning and growth.
yes, it's very frustrating. to look at it from my side of things, i see lots of problems and ways around them, and the people who are perpetuating the problems (i don't mean you in the forum-specific example, fidelia) are the same ones refusing my help solving the problems. so not only is it stupid, because the problems aren't getting solved, but it's also violating the idea that everyone is equal and has something to bring to the table. that's where the frustration you see comes from – that rebel without a cause attitude. there may not be a single cause because it's everywhere. everywhere people are being held back by other people because the authorities are so caught up in their own egos. why do we still have poverty? because the people with money/power think they deserve the money/power that they happened to be able to earn by being born into a lucky place in the world.I can see this posing serious problems for an ENFP wanting to do well in school or advancing their career. It appears to some other types as a childish expression of "Your not the boss of me" without considering the request. I think that in many cases, they have valid ideas, but the way in which they are presented arouses a feeling of resistance within the audience they are expressing their thoughts to. I don't want to be dismissive of people, and yet even on the forum I sometimes see these rebel without a cause kind of threads and am inclined to react in an uncharacteristically dismissive and harsh way, whereas if they had contacted me saying that they had a concern that they needed help solving, I would take their worries much more seriously and do whatever I could to ameliorate the situation.
that's not to say every ENFP cause is a noble one or that we're never childish. sure we are. but even calling us childish, it still belies a misunderstanding of why we act the way we do. it appears that we're egotistical – and perhaps we are – but we also see others being egotistical and overlooking it. they just happen to be in positions of authority.
plus, authorities often don't know what they're talking about. let's take the school system in my county. usually administrators are educated as administrators. they've never been teachers, and they aren't privy to the particular problems and concerns that arise when you're a teacher. to be good leaders, they should listen to teachers. except they don't. they continue to push the importance of test scores, so kids are learning how to take tests well, but they don't know the information that is supposed to be tested by the tests, if that makes sense. they know how to ace a chem exam but they don't understand atoms, and the administrators either don't see that, or just don't care. meanwhile the kids don't even have any glassware in the classrooms because some politician thought that taking money away from schools who do poorly on tests would be good incentive. so you've got poor kids whose parents don't have the money to be able to buy them extra supplies attending schools that don't have the money to provide the supplies for the kids to be able to understand the subjects that they're going to be tested on. all that's left is a hollow shell of good test scores and celebrated administrators. if everything goes well. if not, the school is forced to shut down.
that, is why i dislike authority.
bold is most important.I'm beginning to see that one way to diffuse some of it is to allow them to express their feelings rather than telling them how they must be and in what context (which just brings on more contrary feelings). I'm also seeing that it is important to them that feelings are validated (in a way that doesn't come naturally to me because I wouldn't appreciate it being done that way for me) and that everyone be given an equal voice regardless of who they are. They see ideas as very fluid and personal in their application - one person's junk is another person's treasure rather than looking for an objective sort of truth of what's right. (I don't mean in the sense of verifying data or something, but more making observations, generalizations etc out of which to make decisions). At least that's how it looks to me as an observer - not really sure that I've expressed it right - I can still see some problems with it.
just hear everyone out. it takes all of 2 minutes to hear a complex idea, usually much less. if you don't like the idea, that's totally fine, but say why. there are so many reasons why transparency is a good thing. keeping things behind closed doors just means that there are less minds to help solve the problems.
i don't think you came off as offensive at all, fidelia, though it's odd to hear the way you phrase things, lol. i'm sure the same is true on my end.
i am not very comfortable being a top authority in a conventional sense, and i prefer to leave that job to Js. i am much happier empowering than authoritating. i make an awesome second-in-command or a co-leader, and am very happy in that position. i can easily be an ad-hoc authority in a certain topic that i know a lot about, and i am very happy taking over during a crisis. i do try to be a voice for those who are being overlooked. sometimes, yes, people's wishes need to be ignored. i think they should be heard out, but their ideas can be discarded if they're not useful. it's not 100% group consensus that i need (it'd be great, but it's not realistic), but i do feel like all ideas should be heard out as much as time allows. i don't mind people challenging my ideas, as long as it's not in an offensive manner. it's more important that a solution is good than that it is mine.What are you like when you are cast into positions of authority? Is it uncomfortable for you? Do you try to accommodate everyone? Are there times when you ignore certain members wishes, or do you feel the need for complete consensus before taking action? How do you react to it when people challenge you? What would be an example of the kind of reaction or words that would feel that someone was challenging your decision or judgement?