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MBTI was developed by Isabel Briggs-Myers (1897 - 1979) and her mother Katherine Cook-Briggs.  It is based on the work of Carl Jung and particularly his book Psychological Types.  Essentially within the MBTI there are 16 types and a survey will tell individuals which type they are most like.

In a team building setting the objective of experiencing the MBTI might be: 'to raise awareness and increase understanding of yourself and others within your team and to value the differences between you.

MBTI uses four polar extremes with a description at each end. These are:-

  • Extrovert to Introvert (E to I)
  • Sensation to Intuition (S to N)
  • Thinking to Feeling (T to F)
  • Judging to Perceiving (J to P)

Thus there are a total of 16 different profiles

Extroverts & Introverts

Extroverts can be susceptible to not knowing what they are thinking until they say it. Speaking is part of their process to help ideas become clearer to them, so they may appear to change direction as they speak.

Introverts, by contrast, need to think things through 1st. Discussion when thrust on them may be uncomfortable, they may seem confused needing to go away and time for consideration before discussion.

Sensors & Intuititors

Sensors thrive upon specifics such as facts, dates and times etc. Defining problems clearly is important to them vagueness is a source of irritation to them.

Intuitives see specifics as limiting preferring to look at the bigger picture. They may appear to agree with specific details but tend to see them only as steps toward understand the 'whole'.

Thinkers & Feelers

Thinkers willingly set their emotions aside so that their feelings don't influence a more logical analysis of situations.  They will appear reluctant make immediate decisions, preferring to step back from situations in order to better analyse the facts and information.

Feelers are people centric, judging situations on a personal level taking into account personal values.  They may appear torn because they are seeing both or many sides to a situation.

Judgers & Perceivers

Judgers favour exactness. They value plans that show how long things take, to stay on track and they seek clear outcomes / closure.  Example. When out to dinner they will make know what they want after what seems like a glance at the menu.

Perceivers will put off the making decisions for as long as possible. Example. At dinner they will search for the specials, ask what everyone else wants etc.

Interpretation

People polarise towards preferences to varying degrees.  In some people the preference can be so small as to barely influence their behaviour. In others so strong that it virtually defines their approach to life.

Personal profiling is another very useful tool. People insights, understanding helps with many activities. Team performance however is also influenced by team social interactions, organisational processes, political and cultural factors.