Are you someone who prefers to structure your activities or do you prefer to go with the flow? Identifying your personality preference for judging or perceiving helps you figure out your characteristic approach to work. Determine if your brand is more about making decisions and achieving results or being flexible and adaptable.

Personality type theory tells us there are two qualitatively different processes we can use to deal with the world around us. We can schedule and organize our life or approach life in a more open-ended manner. These preferences link to how we like to work.

How do you prefer to decide?

These two approaches are called Judging (J) and Perceiving (P), not to be confused with the common use of these words. In personality type language J refers to a preference for evaluating information and coming to a conclusion. P refers to a preference for taking in more information and deferring a decision.

One is not better than the other and, at times, everyone uses judging and perceiving. However, you likely are oriented toward using one approach more than the other.

Taking a Judging approach

People who prefer J like to decide and act. Seeking closure and results, they enjoy planning and organizing to accomplish tasks and goals. If you prefer J, you are likely tolerant of routines and structure and may be uncomfortable with unplanned changes. Descriptors often associated with using judging include structured, organized, and decisive.

Taking a Perceiving approach

People who prefer P, on the other hand, prefer to gather information and keep their options open. Enjoying spontaneity, they often approach the world in an open-ended, exploratory manner. If you prefer P you may seek variety and be frustrated by routines and highly structured tasks. Descriptors often associated with using perceiving include open, flexible, and adaptable.

Using both J and P

Of course, all work requires you to structure tasks and make decisions as well as explore and adapt. The ability to make flexible decisions ensures you move forward as well as take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

Consider how you use judging and perceiving in your day-to-day life. Are you more engaged when taking in and openly considering new information or are you at your best when deciding on and implementing a plan. Highlight your preferred mode in your brand and think about how you can most effectively incorporate both J and P into your work.


Donna Dunning, PhD, is a psychologist, certified teacher, member of the MBTI ® International Training Faculty, and director of Dunning Consulting Inc. She is the author of more than a dozen publications, including her two newest books, 10 Career Essentials and What’s Your Type of Career? 2nd edition. Donna’s guiding principle is: Know yourself, respect differences, learn and grow. Follow Donna on Twitter and Facebook and visit her website.