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The Meyers Briggs Character Types

Well I found out I'm most like Kermit the Frog, my inner animal is a badger, I'm compatible with my wife, and of  all the Osborne's, I'm most like Ozzie. Of semi comfort is the knowledge that if the apocalypse comes in my lifetime, I'd last about one and one half weeks, which I'm told is more than most people. Yeah I know I went a bit overboard on finding out about myself but I was curious, which I'm told by the Meyers Briggs personality test, is quite in keeping with my character.

The Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator was developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. It is based on the work of noted psychologist Carl Jung.

The essence of Jung's theory is that much seemingly random variation in behaviour is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic difference in the way people prefer to use their perception and judgment. Based on their work, Meyers and Briggs developed a questionnaire, the outcome of which was a description of where people draw energy from, how they absorb information and make and implement decisions, and behave in groups, among other things.

According to its publisher, CPP Inc., Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is translated into 16 languages and widely used by government, institutions, and Fortune 500 companies to "help improve individual and team performance, nurture and retain top talent, develop leadership at every level of an organization, reduce workplace conflict, and explore the world of work".

There is an on line test here, Human Metrics After knowing your "score", a lot about yourself can be found by simply typing your four letter character type into Google.

The MBTI outcome is four letters and four numbers that indicate the strength or prevalence of the characteristic. It categorizes people according the the following parameters:

Extroverts and Introverts E or I
Sensing and Intuition S or N
Thinking and Feeling T or F
Judging and Perceiving J or P

From these four pairs comes sixteen types, and each type has a wealth of information available about it that was gathered Myers and Briggs from thousands of interviews, and augmented over its fifty some years of use. I found out, after taking the fifteen or so minute on line version of the test, that I'm an INTJ.

Note it is not meant to be a hiring screen, rather, to provide added information about people. For various reasons it is not always entirely accurate, still many advocate its use to assemble teams for projects on the theory that the personality types each bring strengths and weaknesses with them that can destroy or enhance the effectiveness of the group.

As for casting the type, the test certainly has nay sayers, but I took an on line test and was astounded by what it revealed, how it articulated things about me that were hauntingly familiar and deeply personal. I also had friends and clients take it and everyone agreed with their profiles. This is not unsurprising because CPP Inc claims most people do.

What it really did for me was open up a new world in relating to people. It explained such things as why I gave my teachers a rough time in school, and why I attacked ideas and loved to argue, sometimes taking sides simply for sport. What it gave me was the ability to say "he or she is simply behaving in this manner to, in their own way, gain energy, gather information, decide what to do based on that information, and deal with the world around them. They are not "bad" or "good", simply acting according to they way they see the world.

Note too the Meyers Briggs test is not in any way an intelligence test. It does not test knowledge or capabilities, rather, the questions uncover preferences, describing a set of circumstances, and asking yes no questions about what you may do, think, or prefer in that circumstance. The "reactions" are then scored by letter and number. The higher the number, the "stronger" the preference in direction of the "letter".

Very briefly, Extroverts focus on the outside world and people to gain energy while Introverts gain energy from their inner world and ideas, dreams, fantasies etc. Sensing types are step-by-step operators, basing everything on facts, details, and the real word while Intuitive people see and think in the Big-Picture arena, and actively use their imagination and creativity when they do things. Thinkers make decisions using logical, objective analysis while Feelers think in terms of how people are affected. Judgers plan and schedule methodically and try to meet their standards while Perceivers are spontaneous, opportunistic, and don't mind being late.

Of course there's much much more to it. And others have built on it and refined it. The Keirsey Temperament is a good example where foundations laid by Meyers and Briggs were refined.

All in all a great eye opener if you've never heard of it before, and it can be free! Check it out here Human Metrics 

Of course if the outcome is important to you, pay the professionals to handle the testing, scoring and reporting back. Free is, after all, not always a good thing.

© 2015 John B Voorpostel

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