“I’m ENTP – I’m guessing you are ESFJ – but what do you think J Is? ISTJ or INTP?”
What on earth is this gibberish? If you’ve never been “MBTI’d” it will mean absolutely nothing. If you have – you will immediately be leaping to a set of information about me and the others, based on the Myers Briggs type Indicator.
What is MBTI all about? Is it just so much pink and fluffy psychobabble, or is there really something based on sound research and scientific fact?
It all started in the last century, based on Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung’s theories about personality types. Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers expanded on Jung’s work, and applied his ideas to form the Myers Briggs Type Indicator in the years following the second world war.
They believed that if people understood their psychological type, it would help them appreciate difference and human functioning. More than 3.5 million people now access MBTI each year across the world. Questions are tailored to different cultures (so the USA has different questions to the UK, for example) and the questions continue to be refined and adjusted.
There are four sets of preferences:
Extraversion and Introversion(nothing to do with being loud, or talkative, nor shy or inhibited!)
This is about where you prefer to focus your attention, and where you get your energy – do you focus on the external, or drawn to the inner world?
Sensing and Intuition
This is about how you prefer to take in information, and what sort of information you like – are you big picture or detail?
Thinking and Feeling (felling is not being emotional!)
This is about how you make decisions – are you logical and able to stand back, or do you prefer to make decisions based on your values?
Judging and Perceiving(not judgemental or percentive!)
This is about how you deal with the outer world. Do you prefer to get decisions made and out of the way, or do you prefer spontaneity and keeping your options open?
So – I’m ENTP – that means I draw energy from the outer world of people and activity, I like to see patterns and connections – the big picture. I use logical analysis in decision making, and I like a flexible and adaptable life. What do you think you are? Some organisations think the benefits of using MBTI in management and leadership development, and in team development are worthwhile – it’s one of a range of diagnostic tools that are available.