Myers-Briggs Personality Tests

Myers-Briggs Personality Test and Debrief

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most widely used personality tests in the world. In technical terms, it is an introspective self report tool that indicates the differing psychological preferences between people. What this means in less clinical terms is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can help us better understand how we perceive the world and make decisions, as well how other people do those things.

The History of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was created by mother and daughter, Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. Katherine Briggs began researching personality in 1917, after meeting her future son-in-law and observing the stark differences between his personality and that of her family members. She began reading and documenting various biographies to develop a typology, which eventually evolved into four main temperaments; social, executive, spontaneous and meditative.

She went on to read Carl Jung's Psychological Types in 1923 and recognised the similarities with her own. Her daughter Isabel also took an interest in human behaviour at this point and they decided to attempt to turn the theory of psychological types into a more practical application together.

Eventually, Briggs Myers took over the research almost entirely, evolving the typological research towards the field of psychometric testing. Myers was apprenticed to Edward N. Hay and here learned test construction, scoring, validation and statistical methods.

After years of research, the pair began creating the indicator during World War II. They believed a knowledge of personality preferences could help women entering the workforce for the first time, to identify which women would be the most effective in various industrial roles that needed filling.

Since then, the MBTI has been adapted twice; once by psychologist Mary McCaulley of the University of Florida in 1985 and a third time in 1998.

After years of research, the pair began creating the indicator during World War II. They believed a knowledge of personality preferences could help women entering the workforce for the first time, to identify which women would be the most effective in various industrial roles that needed filling.

Since then, the MBTI has been adapted twice; once by psychologist Mary McCaulley of the University of Florida in 1985 and a third time in 1998.

The Concepts Behind MBTI

The MBTI is based on the theory proposed by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. He speculated that people perceive the world through one of four principal psychological functions: sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking. The four categories that he outlined are:

  • Introversion/Extroversion
  • Sensing/Intuition
  • Thinking/Feeling
  • Judging/Perceiving

His theory states every individual has one preferred quality from each category, creating 32 unique personality types, which the MBTI condenses to 16. These types indicate how we experience the world, our interests, needs, values and intrinsic motivations.  The different types are:

Analyst Personality Types

Analyst personality types within the Myers-Briggs framework include:

Architects (INTJ-A/INTJ-T): Imaginative, strategic and excellent planners.
Logicians (INTP-A/INTP-T): Inventive, innovative and always looking to learn more.
Commanders (ENTJ-A/ENTJ-T): Imaginative, bold and strong leaders.
Debaters (ENTP-A/ENTP-T): Curious, intelligent and always up for a challenge.

Diplomat personality types

Diplomat personality types within the Myers-Briggs framework include:

Advocates (INFJ-A/INFJ-T): Inspiring, idealistic and introverted.
Mediators (INFP-A/INFP-T): Kind, creative and altruistic.
Protagonists (ENFJ-A/ENFJ-T): Inspiring and charismatic leaders.
Campaigners (ENFP-A/ENFP-T): Sociable, creative and excellent team players.

Sentinel Personality Types

Sentinel personality types within the Myers-Briggs framework include:

Logicians (ISTJ-A/ISTJ-T): Practical, reliable and always searching for the facts.
Defenders (ISFJ-A/ISFJ-T): Dedicated, friendly and the heart of any team.
Executives (ESTJ-A/ESTJ-T): Organised and excel at administrative and management tasks.
Consuls (ESFJ-A/ESFJ-T): Sociable, caring and always happy to help.

Explorer Personality Types

Explorer personality types within the Myers-Briggs framework include:

Virtuosos (ISTP-A/ISTP-T): Practical, bold and a master of new tools and tasks.
Adventurers (ISFP-A/ISFP-T): Creative, flexible and always ready for the next challenge.
Entrepreneurs (ESTP-A/ESTP-T): Intelligent, energetic and perceptive.
Entertainers (ESFP-A/ESFP-T): Energetic, spontaneous and the life of the party.

Benefits of the Myers Briggs Workplace Personality Test

Nearly 90% of Fortune 100 companies use the MBTI test during their hiring process or within team building exercises and for good reason. This test has proven benefits in the workplace.

The most obvious benefit is that it improves communication, bringing about more positive interactions. Personality typing helps colleagues figure out how best to communicate with various colleagues and managers, resulting in more productive outcomes.

It can also improve teamwork. Personality typing can reveal a lot about who your team members work the most effectively with. You can use this information to construct higher performing teams who love working together. 

Creating these teams can help eliminate conflict in the workplace. We all know some colleagues just don't get on. MBTI personality typing can help you construct teams that are less likely to have conflicts, as well as better navigate those conflicts by understanding the differing perspectives at play.

Though you might think it from the above brief descriptions, personality profiling isn't all positive behaviours. Every personality type has their strengths, but also their weaknesses. We're only human after all. This is good news as it allows companies to let employees play to their strengths, as well as identify and work on their weaknesses through self-reflection. 

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