Posted by Adam Blanch on 14 March 2014
There’s an incredible wealth of systems available that can analyse your personality type. In the workplace, however, one model stands above all others: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), based on the pioneering work of psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung, has been a useful business tool for decades. Jung suggested that four essential dimensions of human behaviour exist as polar spectra with extreme opposites at each end. Most people fall somewhere in between, but towards one end or the other.
Let’s take a look at how you can determine your workplace personality.
1. Thinking versus feeling
This dimension relates to how a person makes decisions. Do they logically and methodically examine every piece of a situation and solve it like a puzzle, or do they follow their gut?
2. Sensing versus intuiting
This refers to how a person pays attention. Some people give priority to what their external senses are telling them, while others pay more attention to their internal cues of intuition, knowing and feeling.
3. Judging versus perceiving
This spectrum looks at how people like to live. Judgers prefer things to be orderly, planned and predictable. Perceivers like to play it loose and improvise, going by their impulses as well as tending to let things get a little messy.
4. Extroverted versus introverted
This factor examines where people get their energy. Extroverts are energised by interactions with others and strong activity, while introverts get their juices flowing from their own internal world and need time alone to think and feel.
Each dimension presents a preference for either an external or internal focus. An individual might display an internal focus in one dimension and an external focus in another, leading to as many as 16 possible combinations. Each combination is a type, and the MBTI model has been shown to accurately predict how people will behave, what they will enjoy, what they are good at and what they need in the workplace to make them happy.
When managers understand the ‘types’ of their staff members, it can allow them to delegate specific responsibilities to suit each individual. It’s also useful for employees to know what type they are. Many people have struggled throughout their lives trying to conform to a certain type that isn’t natural to them, thus failing to recognise the strengths and abilities they do possess.
While exceptionally useful, personality types are meant as guides only, not definitive assessments of your character. People can change over time, and many people successfully operate in ways that don’t conform to their attributed type. They are useful to the extent that they empower you to reach for your potential while also appreciating your gifts.