The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychological instrument which identifies a person’s personality type, their strengths and preferences, and how they perceive the world and makes decisions. This psychometric questionnaire is one of the most used in the world.
It was developed by Isabel Myers and her mother Katherine Briggs, putting into practice the Carl Gustav Jung’s theory about personality types and his book, Psychological Types, published for the first time in 1921. He believed there were two different general attitude types that could describe how people interact with the world around them: extroverted and introverted. An extrovert person is talkative and energetic, action oriented, likes to spend time with the others; on the other hand, an introvert person is thought oriented, has a more reserved behavior and like relating the others in a more meaningful way.
In addition to this, the test considers that people’s behavior is split up between 6 basic psychological tendencies that work together by pair. The first and the second one, thinking and feeling, are related to how people make decisions. Those who think pay attention on facts and objectives data and are logical and impersonal; those who rather feel instead prefer to consider the people and emotions when they make choices. The third and the fourth, sensation and intuition, are related to how the people get information. A sensitive person focuses on facts and details. They like learning from their senses and from hands-on experience. An intuitive person likes thinking about the future and the possibilities and pays attention to their impressions.
The fifth and sixth one, judging and perceiving, is about how people act. People that have a structured and established lifestyle belong to the “judging” category, whereas people who have a more flexible and adaptable lifestyle belong to the “perceiving” category.
Everybody belongs a bit to all these categories, but some are dominant, which defines the personality type. There are sixteen personality types, that correspond to the assessment’s result, presented as a four letter code: ISTJ, ISTP, ESTP, ESTJ, ISFJ, ISFP, ESFP, ESFJ, INFJ, INFP, ENFP, ENFJ, INTJ, INTP, ENTP, ENTJ. The first letter is related to Extrovert or Introvert (E or I); the second to Sensing or Intuition (S or N); the third is related to Thinking or Feeling (T or F); the fourth to Judging or Perceiving (J or P).
This questionnaire can be useful for understanding, motivating and developing yourself and the others, for working in teams and allocating responsibilities and tasks.
If you know your personality and your personality type, you could identify and develop your strengths and weaknesses , improve your skills to relate with the others, to avoid and resolve conflicts, to work together more efficiently, to develop emotional intelligence, to learn the best team style for work or to develop leadership, management, and teamwork skills. This model is indeed often used as part of all kinds of business strategies because its first purpose is to understand differences – either cultural, physical or psychological between people.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” Carl Jung.