Humanergy’s Lance Satterthwaite recently facilitated a training with supervisors on emotional intelligence and MBTI. This session, summed up in a sentence: “We all have different innate personalities and tendencies, and we need to figure out how best to work together.” Sounds easy, right? Not when we use natural preferences as an excuse for bad behavior.

Have you ever heard someone say, “Hey, that’s just the way I am!” That phrase shows an unwillingness to examine the impact of choices.

We sometimes make excuses for others’ behavior. Maybe your coworker buddy is a procrastinator, which you are inclined to indulge…until his behavior impacts your success. The questions is, do you kindly tell this person that his behavior isn’t helpful, before it escalates to a crisis? Or do you sit back and think “why bother?”

All behavior is a choice, even if it is consistent with our personality type. If you’re inclined to avoid conflict,for example,  you can step up, make a plan and productively engage. Your coworker buddy can take steps to mitigate his tendency to do work at the last moment.

Remember, personality and tendencies are preferences, not hard-and-fast rules. You can choose to behave differently, actively learn about others’ preferences and engage in ways that make working together really work.