The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality testing system that has been around since World War II, having been the product of reformed Jungian observation by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. The questionnaire and resulting 4-letter combination code is designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. After filling in the questionnaire, participants are coded with 4 of 8 possible letters.
According to this model, Extroverts (E) and Introverts (I) don’t necessarily refer to one’s social interaction or speech volume but rather the deeper root of “Where does one gather energy?” Introverts need time alone to reenergize while extroverts are energized by large groups of people and excitement. Extroverts are action oriented, while introverts are thought oriented.
Sensors (S) are the material perceivers that gather information via the 5 senses. They trust present, tangible, and concrete interpretations. Intuitors (I) tend to trust information that is more abstract or theoretical, where meaning is in the underlying theory and principles are found in the data.
The Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) functions are the rational decision-making functions. Thinkers typically prefer a more detached standpoint, measuring the decision by reason, logic, and a consistent set of rules. They usually value the truth more than tact. Conversely, feelers come to decisions by associating or empathizing with the situation, looking at it ‘from the inside’ and weighing the situation to achieve the greatest harmony, typically considering the needs of the people involved.
The final type’s letter refers to Judgers (J) and Perceivers (P), referring to how one interacts with the external world. Judgers are quick to take in information, catalogue and sift through the important stimuli, and make decisions. Perceivers prefer to take in all the possibilities and indulge each imaginative path, not wanting to miss any opportunities. They are notorious procrastinators because of the attraction of “living in the moment.”
Knowing your MB type is not meant to be a limiting label as to one’s capabilities in setting or achieving goals. It’s meant to provide some liberating self-knowledge and assist a person in further developing his or her character. In the workplace specifically, knowing a person’s MB code is meant to enhance relationships and enable coworkers to find a peaceful and productive environment. In general, here’s how some types interact in the workspace.
SJ – The sensing and judging functions of these types make them diligent, hard-working, rule-sticklers, and very reliable. The workforce was seemingly built for SJs.
NF – The feeling serves the intuition in this type and fosters idealistic, personal, and humanitarian roles. They are passionate and find meaning and significance in everything.
NT – The intuition of the NT’s are infinitely enhanced by the brilliant and innovative mission of the thinkers. They tend towards the objective and are good at specializing in certain fields.
SP – The sensing-perceiving functions of this type give way to fun-loving! They are usually realistic and down-to-earth. Typical patterns show that they can survive in the 9-5 rat-race only if the environment is fun.