Idea in short

Each of us has a different way of taking in information, making decisions, and approaching life. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a tool that helps people gain insight to their own psychological ‘type’ preferences, which can help you understand natural differences among people. Understanding your preferences and the preferences of others can be beneficial to you at work. It will enable you to approach your tasks, projects and coworkers in a way that suits your style, while accommodating others’ styles.

MBTI, short for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, is a personality metric developed by & her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, based on Carl Jung’s theory on psychological types. Carl G. Jung introduced in the theory of psychological types in the 1920s by. Katharine Cook Briggs & her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, developed the MBTI tool in the 1940s. Millions of people worldwide have taken the Indicator each year since its first publication in 1962.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The original goal of MBTI was to improve the lives of working people by providing a rational basis for aligning people with jobs. It was designed to be used as a placement tool, a convenient & easy-to-use method for sorting employees in ways that maximized their happiness & the productivity of organizations. Today, it is a common tool used by individuals & organizations alike, be it to better understand themselves or to optimize workplace dynamics.

16 Personality Types

Personality Types

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) classified people into four personality types:

  • Extraversion / Introversion
  • Sensing / Intuition
  • Thinking / Feeling
  • Judging / Perceiving

MBTI

Extraversion vs. Introversion

The traits of extroversion & introversion are a central dimension in some human personality theories as the MBTI assessment. Generally, people who prefer to direct their energy outwards – to people, things, situations – are extroverts (E). Contrarily, people who prefer to direct their energy inwards – to ideas, information, beliefs – are introverts (I). Extroverts are action-oriented, while introverts are thought-oriented.  An extrovert prefers to focus on other people & things. The introvert, however, prefers to focus on internal thoughts & ideas.

Sensing vs. Intuition

People who prefer to deal with facts, details, & concrete information are sensing types (S). People who prefer to deal with ideas, abstract concepts, & theories are intuitive types (N). The sensing person prefers to use the five senses to receive information. The intuitive person, however, receives input from internal thinking processes.

Thinking vs. Feeling

People who prefer to make decisions from a detached standpoint, using reason & logic to make conclusions are thinking types (T). People who prefer to make decisions from an insider, emotional standpoint are feeling types (F). The Thinking person judges using logic, while the Feeling person uses affective measures to judge.

Judging vs. Perceiving

People who prefer a planned, well-structured life are judging types (J). Whereas, people who prefer to go with the flow are perceiving types (P). Correspondingly, the judging aspect of the type results in sequential step-by-step mental processing. In contrast, the Perceiving person responds in a spontaneous & flexible way.

In total, there are 16 personality types. For example, someone who is ENFJ means that this person is Extroverted, iNtuitive, Feeling & Judging. So, each personality type indicates a preference.

Keirsey Temperaments

David Keirsey expanded on the ancient study of temperament by Hippocrates & Plato. In his works[1], Keirsey used the names suggested by Plato:

  1. Artisan (iconic)
  2. Guardian (pistic)
  3. Idealist (noetic)
  4. Rational (dianoetic)

Keirsey divided the four temperaments into two categories (roles), each with two types (role variants).

Temperaments

In other words, he took the 16 types & simplified them into 4 temperaments by dividing the S side of the chart into J’s & P’s & the N side into F’s & T’s. The resulting 16 types correlate with the 16 personality types described by Briggs & Myers (MBTI). Furthermore, MBTI is also compatible with the DiSC personality assessment[2].

Keirsey Temperaments

Finding your personality type

The most common way of finding out our type is to visit free personality test websites, where they would require you to answer questions after questions after questions (or statements) in order to determine your type, as accurately as possible. More often than not, these questions relate directly to the type characteristic which requires you to rate how well you ‘relate’ to the question asked. For example:

My idea of relaxation involves reading a book by the beach

  • Strongly Disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neutral
  • Agree
  • Strongly Agree

Once you’ve taken the test, you can find out how much each personality factor affects your disposition. In the consulting profession, some people may think only certain personalities can be successful. For example, it’s a common belief that only extroverts can engage with & relate to customers. However, according to research[3], introversion is slightly more common than extroversion. Furthermore, it takes both extroverts & introverts to build a successful engagement team.

Summary

The MBTI assessment has provided an intuitive, relatable, easy-to-apply self-discovery & diversity awareness platform that enables our employees at all levels to better understand their own & others preferred styles of work, communication, & collaboration. This has made leaders better at leading, & all contributors more effective at being led & partnering for success.
Cite this article as: Mithun Sridharan, "MBTI: Understand your personality type," Think Insights, February 8, 2020, https://thinkinsights.net/strategy/mbti-personality/. Accessed on: May 29, 2020

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