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What is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®)?

Often miscalled a “test,” the MBTI® assessment is a powerful tool that was developed to make Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types useful and applicable in people’s lives.

What is the MBTI® used for?

The MBTI® has a wide range of uses and applications. Type differences in relationships (such as, an INTJ and an ENFP) – whether at work or at home- play out in a number of ways, and can be a source of growth or a source of conflict. Understanding type theory can help to improve communication, reduce conflict, and provide insight and suggestions on how best to interact, work, and live together. While different types can be successful in a variety of careers, understanding your type’s preferences can help in making career decisions.

Do people’s types change over time?

The answer to this question is not always simple. People are generally born with certain preferences and ways they interact with the world- and these show up in their MBTI® type. This basic personality type does not change. Over time, however, individuals can learn develop new behaviors and traits- perhaps based on environmental needs.

How is it possible that I score “extravert” but have 4 introvert facets (or vice versa)?

This is called having an “out of preference” facet- and is something that can be quite common on MBTI® Step II assessments. This can happen because someone is born that way, or that they have developed certain skills and traits over the course of their life. It is possible to see “out of preference” facets on each of the 4 preferences; eg a “Thinker” with feeling preferences, or a “Judger” with perceiving preferences (and vice versa).

Can I use type for new employee selection?

No. Though you can use them when there is a suite of tools that you use.
Use the MBTI® when you have selected a person to help them onboard.

If my team doesn’t have any X, should I go hire one of those?

No, hire the best person for the role. If they happen to be of a different type, that’s great. Look for the people on the team that can comfortable “flex” to a different preference. Look for how you can supply that by hiring all the right people. You don’t hire for type- you hire for capability, expertise, experience and culture fit. Use the MBTI® as a tool to help the team achieve their potential.

Are there types that can’t be successful in different roles or professions?

Any MBTI type has the potential to be successful in any profession or role. Over the years, research has show that there is a correlation between professions and the MBTI® types attracted to them- however, it is important to reiterate any MBTI® type has the potential to be successful in any role they take on.

How can I be an extravert but I’m not very social?

Extravert and introvert refer to where a person directs and focuses their energy. While the terms are often confused with sociability (for extraversion) and shyness (for introversion), they are not the same things. It is possible to be a “shy” extravert – perhaps having a high “contained” score on that facet, as well as its possible to be a gregarious introvert.

What type makes the best leader?

No type makes a “best” leader- each type has strengths and weaknesses that can apply to being a leader.

Are feelers more emotional, and do they think less? Do thinkers not feel?

Let’s be clear: Thinkers do feel, and Feelers do think. This preference refers to what guides a person’s decision making process- and what guides their decisions. Thinkers make decisions based more on logic and objective analysis.

Does J mean judgmental? Does P mean perceptive?

J and P refer to orientation to structure and flexibility with the outside world- they do not refer to being “judgmental” or “perceptive.”

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