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The MBTI is a psychometric tool that is used globally as a way of understanding our own personality traits. As we learn more about ourselves we also begin to understand how we can better relate to our friends, colleagues, family and loved ones. Putting the right person, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time is one of the current trends in human performance technology and human resources. One of the ways to determine this is by using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), based on Carl Jung’s research was developed in the 1960s by Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers.
What is MBTI?
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a tool to study personality types based on C.G.Jung's theory of Psychological Types. Its purpose is to make this comprehensive theory of personality practical and useful in people's lives. The MBTI is an extremely reliable personality questionnaire. The MBTI enables us to use a non-judgmental language to talk about some serious issues, both within an organization and in counseling and helping people. People who complete the MBTI are given a four letter code (e.g. ISTJ; ENFP etc.) as their results which, when verified, indicates their personality preferences as one of 16 Types. The different type preferences lead to different ways of living and working, taking in information and making decisions. They describe different, effective approaches to working and learning styles and methods, managing, leading, coaching and teaching as well as general communication, teamwork, relationships, counseling etc.
What are the MBTI type preferences?
The middle two letters of the Personality Type Code refer to what Isabel Myers and Psychologist Carl Jung called the "mental functions" (Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling). Although the four letter type code only shows
two of these functions, everyone has and uses all four of them. Examples. Those who prefer Intuition (second letter is N) will use or rely upon their Sensing nature in some specialized way - complimenting rather than conflicting with their more preferred Intuition. Those whose preference is Thinking (third letter is T) will value and use its opposite, Feeling, in certain ways and sometimes will let this function be their guide even though normally the person favours thinking. 1. Extraversion v/s Introversion: Those with a preference for Extraversion get their energy from the outer world preferring to ‘talk through’ problems and learn best through doing or discussing. By contrast those with an Introverted preference re-energies through reflection and quite time and prefer to ‘think through’ problems. Every person has two faces. One is directed towards the outer world of activities, excitements, people, and things. The other is directed inward to the inner world of thoughts, interests, ideas, and imagination. While these are two different but complementary sides of our nature, most people have an innate preference towards energy from either the outer or the inner world. Thus one of their faces, either the Extraverted (E) or Introverted (I), takes the lead in their personality development and plays a more dominant role in their behaviour.
Extraverted Characteristics Act first, think/reflect later Feel deprived when cut off from interaction with the outside world Usually open to and motivated by outside world of people and things Enjoy wide variety and change in people relationships
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b) Introverted Characteristics • Think/reflect first, then Act • Regularly require an amount of "private time" to recharge batteries • Motivated internally, mind is sometimes so active it is "closed" to outside world Prefer one-to-one communication and relationships.
Sensing v/s Intuition:
People with a Sensing preference mostly focus on the specifics of reality and will take in information via their five senses. By contrast those with a preference for Intuition will more readily focus on the big picture, what could be; patterns and possibilities. The Sensing (S) side of our brain notices the sights, sounds, smells and all the sensory details of the present. It categorizes, organizes, records and stores the specifics from the here and now. It is reality based, dealing with "what is." It also provides the specific details of memory & recollections from past events. The Intuitive (N) side of our brain seeks to understand, interpret and form overall patterns of all the information that is collected and records these patterns and relationships. It speculates possibilities, including looking into and forecasting the future. It is imaginative and conceptual. While both kinds of perceiving are necessary and used by all people, each of us instinctively tends to favor one over the other. a) Sensing Characteristics • Mentally live in the Now, attending to present opportunities • Using common sense and creating practical solutions is automaticinstinctual • Memory recall is rich in detail of facts and past events • Best improvise from past experience • Like clear and concrete information; dislike guessing when facts are "fuzzy"
• Mentally live in the Future, attending to future possibilities • Using imagination and creating/inventing new possibilities is automaticinstinctual • Memory recall emphasizes patterns, contexts, and connections • Best improvise from theoretical understanding • Comfortable with ambiguous, fuzzy data and with guessing its meaning.
3. Thinking v/s Feeling: Someone with a Thinking preference is typically guided by objective logic and will step out of situations in order to analyze from a distance. By contrast those with a preference for Feeling are guided by personal values plus a desire for harmony and will typically step into situations empathizing with all those involved. The Thinking (T) side of our brain analyzes information in a detached, objective fashion. It operates from factual principles, deduces and forms conclusions systematically. It is our logical nature. The Feeling (F) side of our brain forms conclusions in an attached and somewhat global manner, based on likes/dislikes, impact on others, and human and aesthetic values. It is our subjective nature. While everyone uses both means of forming conclusions, each person has a natural bias towards one over the other so that when they give us conflicting directions - one side is the natural trump card or tiebreaker. a) Thinking Characteristics • • • • Instinctively search for facts and logic in a decision situation. Naturally notices tasks and work to be accomplished. Easily able to provide an objective and critical analysis. Accept conflict as a natural, normal part of relationships with people.
b) Feeling Characteristics • Instinctively employ personal feelings and impact on people in decision situations • Naturally sensitive to people needs and reactions. • Naturally seek consensus and popular opinions. • Unsettled by conflict; have almost a toxic reaction to disharmony.
Judging v/s Perceiving:
People with a Judging preference typically enjoy coming to closure and having things settled and decided. Those with a preference for Perceiving however enjoy keeping their options open and have a more flexible approach in the way they deal with life All people use both judging (thinking and feeling) and perceiving (sensing and intuition) processes to store information, organize our thoughts, make decisions, take actions and manage our lives. Yet one of these processes (Judging or Perceiving) tends to take the lead in our relationship with the outside world; while the other governs our inner world. A Judging (J) style approaches the outside world with a plan and is oriented towards organizing one's surroundings, being prepared, making decisions and reaching closure and completion. A Perceiving (P) style takes the outside world as it comes and is adopting and adapting, flexible, open-ended and receptive to new opportunities and changing game plans.
• Plan many of the details in advance before moving into action. • Focus on task-related action; complete meaningful segments before moving on. • Work best and avoid stress when keep ahead of deadlines. • Naturally use targets, dates and standard routines to manage life.
Perceiving Characteristics Comfortable moving into action without a plan; plan on-the-go. Like to multitask, have variety, mix work and play. Naturally tolerant of time pressure; work best close to the deadlines. Instinctively avoid commitments which interfere with flexibility, freedom and variety.
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The 16 personality types
When you put your 4 preferences together, you get your personality type code and there are 16 -as listed below. So, if you selected ENFP, this indicates a preference for Extraversion, intuition, Feeling and Perceiving. Keep in mind this is preferences and an ENFP will also use Introversion, Sensing, Thinking and Judging too - though requiring more thought, or more energy to do so. Type is more than just the sum of your four preferences with the four letters MBTI type a shorthand way of way of telling you about the interactions of your four mental functions and which ones you prefer to use first. It is essential therefore that you work with a qualified MBTI consultant to understand how your type dynamic works.
ISFJ Committed to getting the job done INFJ An Inspiring leader and follower
ISTJ Life's Natural Organizers
INTJ Life's independent thinkers
ISTP Just do it
ISFP INFP INTP Action Speaks Making life Life's problem louder than words kinder and gentler solvers
ESTP ESFP Making the most of Let's make work the moment fun
ENFP People are the product
ENTP Progress is the product
Applications of MBTI-as used by managers
As the MBTI is based on a comprehensive and coherent theory of personality, applications can be found in almost anything which involves people e.g. communication, leadership, change management, team building, planning, marketing, writing, counseling, personal development, career planning, teaching and learning and so on. It is used very frequently by HR managers as it gives them means to understand the personality of people whom they are going to hire. 1. Developing Leadership Potential Self-awareness is fundamental to good leadership. An understanding of the impact that personal style has on people’s motivation and commitment is essential. The MBTI helps managers assess their strengths, their preferred style of problem solving and also how their style relates to other people’s styles, particularly those that are different from their own. 2. Developing Effective Teams Using the MBTI, teams can evaluate their strengths and also clarify biases in their working practices. For instance, does the team over-emphasise logical assessment at the expense of considering personnel issues, such as morale? Or does it focus too strongly on strategy and not enough on the practicalities of implementation? By assessing these biases, teams begin to appreciate the importance of valuing different approaches and perspectives. 3. Hiring and staffing processes Organizations operating under the influence of human resource policies and practices typically use job descriptions and hiring specifications as an aid in making hiring decisions. These tools were developed and refined from the 1920s through the 1940s, during the period of "scientific management" and "industrial psychology." Since that time they have been further shaped but not essentially altered.
4. Managing the cloning dilemma
While understanding Myers-Briggs can lead to writing more accurate and real world hiring specifications, doing this alone retains vestiges of the old understanding of human nature. The process of writing a specification says that we endeavour to have clones in a particular job classification. Few of us have actually witnessed such a brave new world in practice because we've just not been good enough to reliably recruit people who exactly meet our specifications. 5. Managing Change Individuals of different Types tend to experience change and the process of transition in quite different ways. Building awareness of these different reactions can help managers and organisations support their staff and themselves through the trauma of organisational change. 6. Problem-Solving The MBTI gives an insight into potential strengths and blind spots in problem solving and hence can allow individuals and groups to improve the breadth and depth of their analyses. 7. Counseling The MBTI is very helpful in building self-esteem as it explicitly emphasises the positive contribution that each Type can make. It can also help in dealing with conflict in relationships as, having identified the differences; it focuses on valuing those differences and gives people a clear way of understanding them. 8. Improving Teaching/ Training Methods The MBTI can be used to analyze and improve teaching methods. It provides a framework for understanding differences in learning styles, and hence for creating learning situations which will appeal to different Types. It also helps teachers explore various styles of communicating with people.
There are benefits to using the MBTI to develop employees, including increased retention and satisfaction of current employees. Additionally, the MBTI can help hiring managers place the right people in the right positions. Many companies use the type indicator, not as a scientific study, but as a way of helping their employees communicate better with each other and work through their differences. On the other hand, MBTI also has its detractors. The validity and usefulness of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has been questioned by many researchers and practitioners, including many in the performance improvement field. Among other difficulties with this instrument, careful psychometric study shows that the MBTI is unreliable and invalid. There is no evidence that there are 16 distinct personality traits in the population at large. Although some of the traits do have supporting evidence—for example, introversion and extroversion are well-established personality traits—some key parts of the MBTI simply do not work. Overall, to be the best Human Performance Technology professionals, managers need to have a large toolkit to solve the employee’s performance problems. The MBTI is one of the tools that managers can use to determine which candidates are best for new hires, develop effective and efficient teams, and develop leaders.
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