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Myers Briggs

Working out your Myers Briggs type

The Myers Briggs model of personality is a theory of preference, which is analogous to handedness. Your Myers Briggs preferences are relatively static throughout life (you are right or left handed all your life). However, your behaviour can change in different contexts (you sometimes use your right, or left, or both hands, depending on the situation.).

The difference between your preferred and actual behaviour is called the "stretch", and understanding your stretch can be useful in many ways - from improving your performance to managing your levels of stress.

A description of the Myers Briggs 'letters'

The Myers Briggs model of personality is based on 4 preferences.
  1. Where, primarily, do you direct your energy?

    If you prefer to direct your energy to deal with people, things, situations, or "the outer world", then your preference is for Extraversion. This is denoted by the letter "E".

    If you prefer to direct your energy to deal with ideas, information, explanations or beliefs, or "the inner world", then your preference is for Introversion. This is denoted by the letter "I".

  2. How do you prefer to process information?

    If you prefer to deal with facts, what you know, to have clarity, or to describe what you see, then your preference is for Sensing. This is denoted by the letter "S".

    If you prefer to deal with ideas, look into the unknown, to generate new possibilities or to anticipate what isn't obvious, then your preference is for Intuition. This is denoted by the letter "N".

  3. How do you prefer to make decisions?

    If you prefer to decide on the basis of objective logic, using an analytic and detached approach, then your preference is for Thinking. This is denoted by the letter "T".

    If you prefer to decide using values and/or personal beliefs, on the basis of what you believe is important or what you or others care about, then your preference is for Feeling. This is denoted by the letter "F".

  4. How do you prefer to organise your life?

    If you prefer your life to be planned, stable and organised then your preference is for Judging (not to be confused with 'Judgemental', which is quite different). This is denoted by the letter "J".

    If you prefer to go with the flow, to maintain flexibility and respond to things as they arise, then your preference is for Perception. This is denoted by the letter "P".
The Myers Briggs type code

When you put these four letters together, you get your Myers Briggs type code, and there are sixteen combinations. For example, INTJ indicates that you prefer Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking and Judging (remember, this indicates preferences only - an INTJ also uses Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling and Perception). The Myers Briggs Type Indicator®, or MBTI®, is based on the teachings of Carl Gustav Jung, and identifies four preferences of behaviour:
  • Extroversion vs Introversion
  • Sensing vs Intuition
  • Thinking vs Feeling
  • Judgement vs Perception
Combining these four preferences produces a personality type, such as ENFP or ISTJ. The model is useful for a wide range of applications, including: interpersonal skills development, self-awareness, career counselling, psychotherapy, team building and many other areas.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - The world’s most popular personality measure

A powerful and versatile indicator of personality type. Widely used for individual, group and organisational development. Completely revised in 1998 for even greater accuracy and relevance to European English users.

The MBTI instrument describes an individual’s preferences on four dimensions. The person is either:

Extraverted
Prefers to draw energy from the outer world of activity, people and things
or Introverted
Prefers to draw energy from the inner world of reflections, feelings and ideas
Sensing
Prefers to focus on information gained from the five senses and on practical applications
or Intuitive
Prefers to focus on patterns, connections and possible meanings
Thinking
Prefers to base decisions on logic and objective analysis of cause and effect
or Feeling
Prefers to base decisions on a valuing process, considering what is important to people
Judging
Likes a planned, organised approach to life and prefers to have things decided
or Perceiving
Likes a flexible, spontaneous approach and prefers to keep options open

The various combinations of these preferences result in 16 personality 'types', each associated with a unique set of behavioural characteristics and values, which provide a useful starting point for individual feedback, self-exploration or group discussion.

Applications:
The MBTI instrument is very versatile and widely used for many purposes including:
  • Individual development – identifying leadership style, developing managerial potential, time and stress management, and executive coaching
  • Team building and team development – improving communication, enhancing team problem solving, valuing diversity and resolving conflict
  • Organisational change – understanding and dealing with responses to rapid change, understanding team and corporate culture
  • Improving communication – developing selling and influencing skills
  • Education and career counselling – identifying learning styles and motivations, improving teaching and training methods, and providing career guidance
  • Relationship counselling – improving the quality of relationships and interactions
Benefits:
  • It is easy to use, score and explain
  • It is short and quick to complete
  • Clients enjoy it and find the results helpful
  • It works (there is extensive evidence of its validity)
  • It was revised and updated in 1998, increasing its accuracy, ease of use and relevance to European English users. This edition is validated using the current UK population
  • It provides a powerful conceptual framework, allowing practitioners to deepen their knowledge and apply it to many different situations
  • It promotes a constructive approach to the differences between individuals
  • It is widely used, so there is plenty of comparative data available
  • There is a large body of associated resource material – books, booklets, manuals, videos and workshop materials

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