Jung initially observed that there are two types of people: extraverts who direct and gather their energy from external stimulation of people and events; and introverts who direct and gather their energy from internal stimulation of thoughts and experience. He proposed that there are two basic mental functions: gathering data, which he called perceiving; and making decisions based on that data which he called judging.
To perceive, Jung proposed that people mainly use either sensing (the senses, facts, detail etc) or intuition (patterns, hunches, the big picture etc). In making judgements on data, people mainly use either thinking or feeling. Briggs and Myers later added a 4th dichotomy of either a perceiving or judging attitude to the external world - sometimes expressed as a preferred lifestyle.
It has to be emphasised that we all use all four mental functions of sensing, intuition, thinking and feeling. And we all relate to both the external world and our inner world. What the MBTI ® does is suggest which mental function is dominant or most strongly developed; we have natural preferences. The MBTI then describes the second or auxiliary balancing function, followed by the third or tertiary and finally the least developed function. Type dynamics refers to the manner in which these functions inter-relate and type development discusses how we develop in our use of all the functions as we mature, including the development of our 'shadow' side.
Through the pattern of 4 pairs or dichotomies emerge 16 personality types each described by 4 letters. In a team situation and with each individual giving permission to do so, these types can be mapped for a team and the distribution discussed. A team will have strengths and weaknesses depending on how diverse or homogeneous is the distribution of Types.
The usual process of taking people through the MBTI is a self-assessment workshop, a questionnaire that is analysed by the administrator or by the individuals depending on the form used, individual discussions with the qualified administrator and then possibly and with agreement, a group discussion. Only official forms and stationery should be used (provided in the UK through OPP). While the questionnaire can suggest an individual's personality type, they are the best judge of their 'best fit' and should be encouraged to make that choice.
Contact us for more information on the MBTI and its usefulness for your organisation and for your people so that they flourish in the work-place.
A short introduction to the Management Team Roles Indicator or MTR-i follows.