MBTI is an essential tool for you and your team

As a leader, manager or HR Professional, one of your foundational strengths is the depth of your self-awareness and awareness of how others tick.   You know the key to motivating people is being completely open and transparent. Coupled with being free to be yourself,  these qualities allow your team to follow suit. One of the easiest and globally credible tools to develop self-awareness and understanding is the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI).   Carl Jung, the great psychologist developed a model of personality type which was later refined by the mother and daughter team, Isobel Myers and Katherine Briggs.

A key principle of Jung’s model, “Psychological Types” developed in 1921 is each person has an innate urge to grow.  Part of our growing process is to learn how we individually operate.  How we develop the parts of us that we need to learn more about.  Additionally how we learn about the people around us.

Understanding difference is a real people skill

Differences occur through cultural, physical and psychological factors.  Mix this up with differing beliefs and temperaments, and no wonder managing and understanding people can be challenging.

In the UK, we have travelled some distance in identifying equality and cultural issues; the Equality Act 2010 takes that thinking even further.  Some organisations are still learning how to get to grips with differences, and some excel.  But I’m sure you will agree it is fair to say we always have room to improve.

Psychological difference is key

When it comes to understanding psychological differences, we still have some way to go, but understanding such differences is important from a leadership or management perspective. Not only is it important;  it is relatively simple to grasp.

If you’ve experienced MBTI, you may have found learning about your psychological type a key starting point for self-development.  Once you have an understanding of what makes you tick, then your whole world will look different.  Not only will it lead to greater self-acceptance, but it will also help you accept and value the differences of others.

Myers Briggs

Many leaders, managers and HR professionals are familiar with and use MBTI extensively. So I will skip going into more detail.  If you haven’t come across the tool before, you can find out more about Myers-Briggs on the link.

If you haven’t used Myers-Briggs or you don’t feel you’ve fully realised the benefits of using the tool, here are 21 compelling reasons why you might want to look again.

Learning and understanding how each other tick can help to:

1. Avoid and Resolve Conflicts

Situation: Conflicts in a team often arise due to misunderstandings or differing perspectives.

MBTI’s Role: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can help by providing insights into individual personality types, highlighting how different people perceive and interact with the world. Understanding these differences can foster empathy and patience among team members.

Actions for Leaders: Leaders can use MBTI to facilitate open discussions where team members learn about each other’s personality types. This understanding can help in anticipating potential conflicts and addressing them proactively.

2. Play to an Individual’s Strengths

Situation: Teams are most effective when each member operates in a role that aligns with their strengths.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI helps in identifying the natural preferences and strengths of individuals based on their personality type.

Actions for Leaders: Leaders can assign roles and responsibilities that align with the natural strengths of team members. For instance, an INTJ might excel in strategic planning, while an ESFP might thrive in a role that requires social interaction.

3. Identify Gaps in the Team

Situation: A well-rounded team requires a diverse set of skills and perspectives.

MBTI’s Role: By analyzing the MBTI types within a team, leaders can identify missing traits or skills that are essential for balance and effectiveness.

Actions for Leaders: Leaders should assess the team’s MBTI composition to identify and recruit new members who can fill these gaps, ensuring a more diverse and capable team.

4. Discover How Your Team Style Works Best with Customers

Situation: Effective customer interaction is crucial for business success.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI can help in understanding the collective personality of the team, which influences how they interact with customers.

Actions for Leaders: Leaders can tailor customer engagement strategies that align with the team’s natural communication style, ensuring more authentic and effective interactions.

5. Enable Self-Understanding and Reduce Stress

Situation: Stress often arises from a misalignment between a person’s role and their natural preferences.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI promotes self-awareness, helping individuals understand their natural preferences and stress triggers.

Actions for Leaders: Encourage team members to explore their type and create an environment where they can work in ways that align with their natural preferences, reducing stress.

6. Help You Learn to Relax

Situation: Relaxation is key to maintaining mental health and productivity.

MBTI’s Role: Understanding one’s type can reveal preferred ways of relaxing and recharging.

Actions for Leaders: Leaders can provide opportunities for relaxation that cater to different types, such as quiet spaces for introverts or social events for extroverts.

7. Aid Career Development

Situation: Career progression often requires a deep understanding of one’s strengths and areas for improvement.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI can guide individuals in identifying careers and roles that align with their personality types.

Actions for Leaders: Leaders can use MBTI insights to guide career development discussions and provide opportunities that align with an individual’s MBTI type.

8. Assist Communication Strategies

Situation: Effective communication is crucial for team success but can be challenging due to differing communication styles.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI helps in understanding different communication preferences based on personality types.

Actions for Leaders: Leaders can develop communication strategies that cater to various types, ensuring that messages are conveyed and received effectively.

9. Provide Managers with the Understanding to Give Effective Feedback

Situation: Feedback is essential for growth but can be difficult to deliver and receive effectively.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI can inform managers about the best ways to give feedback to different personality types.

Actions for Leaders: Train managers to tailor their feedback approach based on the type of their team members, making it more constructive and acceptable.

10. Inform Personal Development Plan

Situation: Personal development is a continuous process that requires self-awareness and targeted growth strategies.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI provides insights into personal strengths and areas for development, guiding the creation of effective personal development plans.

Actions for Leaders: Encourage team members to use their MBTI insights to create personalized development plans that focus on leveraging strengths and addressing weaknesses.

11. Work Together More Effectively

Situation: Team effectiveness is often hindered by misunderstandings and misaligned working styles.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI helps in understanding and respecting different working styles and approaches.

Actions for Leaders: Facilitate workshops where team members learn about each other’s MBTI types, fostering a culture of mutual respect and effective collaboration.

12. Relate to Each Other with Greater Understanding

Situation: Building strong interpersonal relationships in a team can be challenging due to differing personalities.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI fosters a deeper understanding of different personality types, enhancing empathy and understanding within the team.

Actions for Leaders: Encourage open discussions about MBTI types and create opportunities for team members to connect on a personal level, strengthening team bonds.

13. Encourage True Psychological Diversity

Situation: Psychological diversity is key to a team’s creativity and problem-solving ability.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI highlights the value of different personality types, promoting psychological diversity.

Actions for Leaders: Actively seek and value different MBTI types within the team, creating an environment where diverse perspectives are celebrated and utilized.

14. Support People Through Life Transitions

Situation: Life transitions, such as promotions or role changes, can be challenging.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI provides insights into how different types cope with change and transition.

Actions for Leaders: Use MBTI insights to support team members through transitions, providing tailored guidance and support based on their personality type.

15. Inform Your Own and Others’ Decision-Making

Situation: Decision-making can be influenced by personal biases and preferences.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI helps in understanding these biases, leading to more balanced and inclusive decision-making.

Actions for Leaders: Reflect on your own MBTI type and how it influences your decisions. Encourage team members to do the same, promoting more thoughtful and inclusive decision-making processes.

16. Develop Thinking Skills

Situation: Critical and creative thinking are essential skills in the modern workplace.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI can help identify natural thinking preferences and areas for development.

Actions for Leaders: Provide training and challenges that help team members develop thinking skills that are not naturally preferred by their MBTI type.

17. Develop Emotional Intelligence

Situation: Emotional intelligence is crucial for effective leadership and teamwork.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI can aid in understanding and managing one’s own emotions and empathizing with others.

Actions for Leaders: Encourage self-reflection and awareness of emotional responses based on MBTI types, enhancing emotional intelligence across the team.

18. Identify and Develop Strengths and Weaknesses

Situation: Personal and professional growth requires an understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI provides a framework for identifying and understanding these areas.

Actions for Leaders: Use MBTI assessments to help team members identify their strengths and weaknesses and provide resources for development in areas that need improvement.

19. Develop Leaders, Managers, Teams, and HR Expertise

Situation: Effective leadership and management are critical for organizational success.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI can inform the development of leadership and management skills that are aligned with individual personality types.

Actions for Leaders: Implement MBTI-based training and development programs for leaders, managers, and HR professionals to enhance their effectiveness in their roles.

20. Encourage Team Members to Understand and Appreciate Different Strengths

Situation: A team’s success depends on the collective strengths of its members.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI helps team members understand and appreciate the diverse strengths within the team.

Actions for Leaders: Create opportunities for team members to share their strengths and learn about others, fostering a culture of appreciation and collaboration.

21. Improve and Change the Culture

Situation: Organizational culture significantly impacts employee satisfaction and performance.

MBTI’s Role: MBTI can be used to understand the prevailing culture and identify areas for improvement.

Actions for Leaders: Use insights to guide cultural change initiatives, ensuring they align with the diverse personality types within the organization, leading to a more inclusive and effective culture.

There are some circumstances where it can be dangerous to use Myers-Briggs such as recruitment selection, judging performance or by making assumptions because of type indicators. The 8 elements of Myers-Briggs can be used interchangeably, and people can be just as accomplished using their non-preferred type

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I help leaders develop self- mastery, helping them to become confident in their own inner guidance.

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