The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most widely used personality assessment in the world. More than 3.5 million MBTI assessments are administered annually. It is a personality assessment based on the theory developed by psychologist Carl Jung. About 80% of Fortune 100 companies rely on personality assessments to build stronger, more effective teams and organizations. Information from personality assessments helps companies better understand their employees’ work style, communications preferences, problem-solving preferences, and their interpersonal strengths and weaknesses. The main benefit of applying the MBTI for employee development solutions is the breadth and diversity of the applications. Here are some of the ways the MBTI is applied in business organizations:
Some people prefer living in a planned, organized and structured way, and they like to bring things to closure (Judging types). Other people prefer to keep their options open and they prefer to live in a more spontaneous and flexible way (Perceiving types). In the workplace you can understand people’s preferences for time management by knowing their MBTI type. You can easily see why people get into conflicts about time management:
When solving problems, Introverted types want to take time to think through and clarify their ideas before they begin talking, while Extroverted types want to immediately talk through their ideas to clarify them. Introverts are concerned with their own understanding of important concepts and ideas, while Extroverts continually seek feedback from others about the viability of their ideas. Sensing types pay attention to facts, details, and practical considerations. Intuitive types attend to the meaningfulness of the facts, the relationships among the facts, and future possibilities. Intuitive types prefer to develop new, original solutions. Sensing types prefer traditional solutions that have worked in the past. Thinking types prefer to use logic and analysis during problem solving. They value objectivity and tend to be impersonal in drawing conclusions. They want solutions to make sense in terms of the facts and logical principles. Feeling types like to consider values and feelings in their problem-solving process. They tend to be more subjective in their decision making and they consider how their decisions will affect other people.
MBTI type tells you a lot about how each member of your team prefers to work with the other team members. It tells you which team members will collaborate most effectively and efficiently. It also tells you which team members will be most likely to have personality conflicts. Managers who are assembling a team can use the MBTI type information to design teams that will function with less conflict. They can design teams based on individual member strengths and weaknesses, to minimize team blind spots. If your team members know their own personality type, and that of the other team members, they will understand the best ways to communicate with one another. And as a manager, you will have an easier time communicating with all team members because you will understand how each person works best (work style) and what motivates each team member.
Seasoned managers know they can’t motivate all employees the same way. An approach that works with one person can just as easily backfire with someone else. But information about an employees’ MBTI type can inform the manager on the best ways to motivate them. One team member might be a person that needs logical, straightforward reasons for what you are asking them to do. They may work best on their own with a minimum of feedback or supervision. An employee with a different personality type might need to receive positive feedback and appreciation more often and need more interaction with other team members.
Managing stress is about knowing your triggers and reactions. When you understand the unique way you experience stress, you can effectively prepare, identify, and manage your reactions and responses to stress. The MBTI type informs people about their individual differences in responding to stress.
IS personality types need to prioritize and connect with trusted friends when under stress. Redoing your to-do list helps you prioritize and focus on becoming more flexible. They tend to react to stress by withdrawing and becoming overly sensitive. They tend to obsess over details. They prefer to avoid conflict. They tend to lose patience quickly.
IN personality types need to get outside of their own head. They tend to get more introverted and detail absorbed. They need to remember that life is not predictable and that you can’t control everything. Don’t get preoccupied with things that don’t matter. Set aside distinct times in your day to address your worries so they don’t overwhelm you. They tend to get analysis paralysis. They are prone to emotional outbursts.
ES personality types need to take a step back to reflect on things. Under pressure, their chattiness escalates, and they begin to multi-task. They need to weed out the non-essential things on their to-do list and focus on the most meaningful tasks. They tend to feel scattered and they have irrational fears leading to pessimism. They often assume a my-way-or-the-highway approach, ignoring the ideas of others. They often try to fix the problems of others around them. They often become critical of others.
EN personality types need to focus through reflection. They often become disorganized and stretch themselves too thin. They need to delegate more tasks and slow down. Their impatience increases. They take on more than they can handle and begin to feel depressed. They tend to seek a single answer rather than being open to new possibilities. They tend to tune out the ideas of others. They start to feel out of control. They often disengage. Conflict Management
Less workplace conflict leads to greater effectiveness and efficiency. Each of us processes information differently and those differences show up in our work style. When dealing with conflict people are most likely to use their thinking or feeling parts of their personality at the beginning. People who are thinking types prefer to look at the facts of an argument, the evidence and the logical explanations. Feeling types prefer the opposite and they are more concerned with the human emotions surrounding the conflict. You can see how two people with these different conflict management styles would find it very difficult to come to an agreement. The thinking type wants to focus on the facts and the feeling type wants to focus on the emotions. When trying to resolve a conflict, people turn to their judging or perceiving parts of their personality. Judging types want to get things decided quickly (i.e. closure) so that they can get on with their structured life. Perceiving types want to focus on how the conflict is impacting them and others while remaining open to further discussions (i.e. open-ended).
As businesses look for ways to develop their leaders MBTI type applications can be an important strategy. A fundamental strength of every leader is self-awareness. Understanding how your MBTI type influences your management style, communications, problem-solving, decision-making and conflict management is very useful. Understanding how to communicate to the preferences of different personality types is an important key to effective leadership. The MBTI offers a proven method for understanding individual differences in the ways people think, work, communicate, solve problems and interact.