Myers-Briggs and Leadership Growth, Part I

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The Myers-Briggs test is probably one of the most well-known personality assessments available, and it’s no surprise why. Not only does it help you understand yourself both personally and professionally, but it can also provide some key insights into your leadership growth potential. 

The Connection Between Myers-Briggs and Leadership Growth

Created by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, the MBTI takes the four fundamental psychological functions proposed by Carl Jung and categorizes test takers by their dominant traits– Introversion/Extroversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. These traits come together to form 16 distinct personality types, indicated by their beginning letter. For example, someone who is Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving would be categorized as an “INFP.” 

Understanding your dominant types can help you seek leadership growth that plays to your strengths, while understanding the types of those you lead can do wonders for the way that you approach them in situations that may require a more tactful touch. 

Let’s jump in with a brief explanation of each of the eight traits. Then, in the next couple of weeks, we’ll explore how each of the 8 personality types function in a professional setting with both their strengths and their leadership growth areas. 

Introverted/Extroverted

Those with the introverted trait get energy from exploring their own “inner world.” They prefer to do things alone, and often keep very small groups of friends. They can appear to be reserved, slow to act, and sometimes shy. 

Extroverted types are fueled by social experiences. They are outgoing, team players, and they like to talk things out before making decisions. Extroverted types get their energy from other people and seek out situations in which collaboration is welcome. 

Sensing/Intuition

Those who identify as sensing look to their 5 senses to understand the world around them. They are grounded in reality, focus on the present, and tend to remember data over experiences. Words that describe them include practical, big picture thinkers, and kinesthetic. 

If you are intuitive, you look to the deeper meaning of events, people, and conversations. Instead of looking at things that occur as fact, you like to dig in and read between the lines. You might prefer abstract thinking, creative problem solving, and new, exciting situations. 

Thinking/Feeling

When it comes to decision making, thinking types like to apply basic, fundamental principles before they reach any conclusions. They try very hard to avoid letting personal feelings interfere with what they choose, and tend to be very task oriented, logical, and fair. 

Feeling types seek to understand the values, preferences, and personal happiness of all affected parties before making a decision. They seek to be tactful and in harmony, as to avoid hurting those they are involved with, both personally and professionally. Feeling types are described as warm, communicative, and compassionate. 

Judging/Perceiving

Because this category is all about how you present yourself to the world, the Judging trait is identified by those who like to keep things on the straight and narrow. A synonym for this trait is “Type A,” or those who like checklists, efficiency, and being extremely goal-oriented. They are very aspirational and like to finish what they start, even if that means losing out on down time. 

The “Type B” Perceiving type likes to go with the flow. You’re unlikely to find this person asking for an itinerary or handbook. Perceivers like to go with the flow, allowing others who have more decisive stances to lead them one way or the other. Instead of seeking answers and conclusions, they allow the information to come to them when it’s good and ready. They also tend to have “bursts of brilliance,” where they are suddenly ready to get something done because they feel they have enough information to proceed with confidence. 

If you’re interested in learning more about these personality types, be sure to take the Myers-Briggs personality test for yourself! Then, check back soon to read more about how it can be used to inform your journey in leadership growth as we dive into the 16 individual personality types!

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