Five compelling reasons why you should hire a ‘disorganized’ employee

ID-100128285In a workplace where we thrive for perfection, a ‘perfect employee’ is someone who is organized, responsible, orderly, timely, handles deadlines excellently and who can get things settled and finished. For most of the managers, these qualities are the hallmark of an excellent performer. Our performance management system, competency definitions and hiring criteria are often based on these qualities.

The obsession for perfection, orderliness and timeliness has led to our belief that anyone who does not meet these criteria are unworthy to be in our workplace. We often label them as irresponsible, careless, messy, unsystematic etc. This absurdity and bias often overshadows our appreciation for an individual’s passion and talent to achieve great results.

As per Carl Jung’s Psychological Type theory, people have natural preferences of how they would like to deal with the world they live in. This attitude of dealing with external world is termed, in MBTI, as Judging  and Perceiving. Judging types are comfortable putting edges around things and establishing closure. They like to have things decided and plan their work to avoid rushing to meet deadlines. Perceiving types like to open things up, gather new information and keep the door open for future possibilities. These psychological differences show how people complete their work, organize their life, interact with others and shape their world BUT it does not indicate the ability to achieve great results.

So are there any unique benefits of hiring a “Perceiving” person who is seen as Disorganized and Irresponsible in a “Judging” workplace?

Here are the top five reasons –

  1. Creativity and Innovation – Our Judging colleagues, who are organized, are often too focused on completion and end up using conventional path to complete a task. A Perceiving person likes to explore the situation and comes with a lot of new and unique ideas. They can add creativity and innovation in a team. A.A. Milne, author of Winnie-the-Pooh once said – “One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.”
  2. Managing Change – We live in a world of constant change. When managing a change – be it a simple change of project requirements or a major change in organizational strategy, one need to be quick to adapt to these changes and develop new ways of achieving results.  A Perceiving person is well equipped to handle such situation as they like to open things up, gather new information and keep the door open for future possibilities. They often react to change with a burst of energy, are open to try new approaches and are more capable to meet looming deadlines.
  3. Dealing with ambiguity –Perceiving person brings in a balance in a rigid work environment. They are often tolerant with people and processes. They listen and check to understand challenges before execution. Especially when dealing with ambiguity, they have an edge as they are more aware of what is happening. They are not preoccupied with a pre-planned goal, thinking of what should be happening or worrying about what should have been completed.
  4. Challenges Status Quo – Perceiving person hates to follow a routine and will usually question the rules. They have absolutely no respect for the status quo. They are the misfits and the rebels who can force you to redefine and change the approach at work.  They operate with a mindset that rules are to be broken! You need these rebels to constantly evolve and change things.
  5. Make workplace less stressful – Too much of focus on meeting deadlines, unending to-do lists and desire to keep things in control can create a stressful environment where employees are constantly under pressure. A Perceiving person likes to experience life and live in the moment. They are often driven by their ideas than the set routines. They usually bring in more fun and energy in the workplace by looking for avenues to break the monotony and routine.

Next time you see a person with a cluttered desk, jumbled calendar or unorganized approach – chances are he could be the best person in your team to bring in a perfect balance. Rather than always looking for disciplined people, look for passionate people, consider their motives, observe their uniqueness, evaluate their skills and create a diverse team with varied capacities. After all, following all the rules leaves only a completed checklist but following a passion achieves a completed vision.


Raj Karunakaran is a HR professional with more than 15 years of experience with organizations like Royal Philips, Fidelity Investments, AstraZeneca Plc. and Tech Mahindra. Raj is a Certified Coach by Neuroleadership Group and is a Certified MBTI Step II practitioner. He specializes in organizational development, leadership coaching and business partnering. He currently heads HR for Philips Healthcare sector at Philips Innovation Campus, Bangalore, India.

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  • renuka says:

    this is so inspiring!!!! yippee for me-there’s hope. while i do believe that the borders may not be too rigid-there would be interesting combos of perceive rs and judge-ers, the basic categorisation and the nomenclature is simple and surely applicable

  • Kapil Jain says:

    Well articulated views on two different types of personalities – ‘Judging’ and ‘Perceiving’. To me the latter sounds more creative and innovative type and hence most people would like to believe that they are of this type and hence ‘Irresponsible’ and ‘disorganised’ based on the subject of you post.

    Regardless, we probably need the mix of both times to work in a team; however how do we ensure that this happens when you not only hire an employee, but also form a project team?

    You may have both types in your organization, however are they appropriately distributed in various departments, teams and projects?

  • AL says:

    This is an interesting insight coming from someone like you who has handled many MBTI sessions. Hearing a few examples from your experience would be valuable too

  • Wido says:

    The magic may be in the middle… the “P” who can be “J” to turn her creative, innovative, disruptive ideas into concrete product delivery trajectories… and the “J” who can let out the “P” every now and then to break the routine,

    Yes, we need a mix of different characters, and rather than hiring according to a template, the art of management is to bring each of the characters into play according to their strengths.

    But, as individuals, I think we need to be cognizant of our inclinations, definitely capitalize on them, but then don’t take cover behind a MBTI, but rather work and grow to make ourselves more versatile based on situations, and more fun to be and work with!

  • Varun says:

    Disorganized Yes, but irresponsible No.

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