Need a powerful management tool to help you build high-performing teams? Try the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Leaders and managers can use MBTI to understand the behavior of their team members and leverage the varying personality types to everyone’s advantage.
This blog is the first in a four-part series about MBTI, which includes videos from certified MBTI expert, Freddi Donner of Business Stamina.
What is MBTI?
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.These preferences were derived from Carl Gustav Jung’s theories as presented in his 1921 book, Psychological Types. Jung presented four principal psychological functions: sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking.
Who Created MBTI?
Isabel Briggs Myers, and her mother, Katharine Briggs, decided to make Jung’s theory easy to understand and of practical use to individuals and groups. Interestingly, MBTI was created during World War II, to help women who were entering the industrial workforce identify, based on understanding their personality preferences, the most comfortable and effective war-time jobs for themselves.
What does MBTI Do?
The MBTI system sorts the psychological differences described by Jung into four opposite pairs, or dichotomies, with a resulting 16 possible psychological types. The four pairs of preferences (or dichotomies) are shown in the image below.
When taking the MBTI assessment, a person’s more dominant psychological type in each category is revealed. This means a person may learn they are more of an introvert than an extrovert, use sensing more than intuition, make decisions by thinking rather than feeling and live their outer life in a more perceptive than judging way. This person would be classified as ISTP (Introvert, Sensing, Thinking, Perceptive.)
The MBTI Types
Here is a more in-depth look at the personality types and their dichotomies.
Attitudes: Extroversion vs. Introversion
|Action oriented||Thought oriented|
|Seek a breadth of knowledge and influence||Seek depth of knowledge and influence|
|Prefer frequent interaction||Prefer more substantial interaction|
|Recharge and get energy by being with others||Recharge and get energy by spending time alone|
Listen to expert Freddi Donner talk about Extroverts vs. Introverts in this short video:
Functions: Sensing vs. Intuition and Thinking vs. Feeling
|Pays attention to physical reality, or what is seen, heard, touched, tasted, and smelled||Pays attention to impressions, meaning and patterns of information|
|Concerned with what is actual, present, current and real||Concerned about new things and what might be possible|
|Notices facts, and is concerned with details||Likes to work with symbols and abstract theories|
|Learns best when shown how to use what is being taught||Learns by thinking a through a problem, not experiencing it|
Listen to expert Freddi Donner talk about Sensing vs. Intuition in this short video:
Stay tuned for more video explanations from Freddi Donner in our next posts!
This dichotomy refers to how one likes to make decisions:
|Makes decisions by finding the basic truth or principle to be applied, regardless of the specific situation||Makes decisions by weighing what people care about and the points-of-view of persons involved in a situation|
|Analyzes pros and cons, is consistent and logical in deciding||Is concerned with values and what is the best for the people involved|
|Tries to be impersonal, doesn’t let personal wishes—or other people’s wishes—influence them||Likes to do whatever will establish or maintain harmony|
Lifestyle: Judging vs. Perception
|Has things decided||Stays open, in order to respond to whatever happens|
|Appears task oriented and makes lists||Appears loose and casual, keeps plans to a minimum|
|Gets work done before playing||Approaches work as play or mixes work and play|
|Plans ahead, to avoid rushing before a deadline||Works with bursts of energy, stimulated by approaching deadline|
|New information can be missed due to being so focused on goals||Potential to miss deadlines while taking in new information|
Identifying the personality types of team members helps managers increase their understanding of each employee’s behavior. With understanding comes better communication, and with better communication comes improved relationships. Also, by recognizing different personality types, managers can see more clearly how team members can compliment other’s behaviors, leading to more efficiency, productivity and ultimately a more positive environment.
In our next post we interview certified MBTI expert Freddi Donner about the many ways to use this valuable tool. She explains how to use MBTI to increase EQ (emotional intelligence) and to build and strengthen teams. Also, Freddi explains the value of diversity of thought, perspectives and preferences when it comes to building a balanced team.
In the meantime, have you taken the MBTI assessment? Did you feel it was an accurate representation of your behavior? Did you learn anything about yourself or coworkers? I’d love to hear your personal experiences. Please leave a comment below, send me an email or find me on Twitter.