Discovering your strengths
…and working better with others: understanding personality types via the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
Myers-Briggs – background information
What IS the MBTI?
The MBTI is a method of personality profiling that will help you to explore your preferences for taking in information and making decisions. The framework also looks at where you prefer to focus your attention, and how you prefer to live your life.
It will give you information about your preferred style of working and interacting with other people. There are no good or bad types: all are equally valid. A key feature of the MBTI is its focus on the likely strengths and positive qualities of different personality styles.
Uses of the MBTI
The results can give you information that can be of great practical value in providing increased self-understanding, appreciating different styles, and exploring possible development issues.
The range of possible uses of the results is very wide. Applications include:
- developing effective teams
- improving communication and resolving conflict
- identifying leadership style
- enhancing personal development
- exploring problem-solving and learning styles
- understanding reactions to change and stress
- career development
I think one of the main selling points of MBTI is the potential for increasing self-awareness: it’s a great way of establishing strengths (and thus weaknesses) in a very non-threatening, and thus highly acceptable way. I often explain that I changed career partially in consequence of doing my MBTI – though it took me 5 years, so it is not likely to lead to huge upheaval. I think a much more significant, and immediate, benefit, is a much better understanding of how individuals react together, which often significantly reduces conflict. It might also shed alternative light on some of the processes operating within teams. It has the scope to improve effectiveness of individuals and groups.
Importantly, the MBTI should not used for assessment for selection or to limit or to pigeon-hole people.
More detail of MBTI theory
According to MBTI theory, derived in turn from Jungian theory, everyone has a natural preference for one of the two opposites on each of the four MBTI dimensions. You use both preferences at different times, but not both at once, and not, in most cases, with equal comfort or confidence. When you use your preferred approach, you are generally at your best and feel most confident, natural and energetic.