Myers Briggs Personality Types
The phrase Myers Briggs is most often used to describe a personality theory developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katherine Briggs. It explains some of the main differences between people and is often used to help choose a career, improve relationships, develop leadership skills, etc.
When the phrase Myers Briggs is used in the name of a personality questionnaire, it refers specifically to the commercial Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® instrument, published by Consulting Psychologists Press. However, there are many alternative questionnaires that produce a similar result.
There is a lot to Myers Briggs theory, though at its heart are four simple preferences. Do you prefer to deal with:
- People and things (Extraversion or "E"), or ideas and information (Introversion or "I").
- Facts and reality (Sensing or "S"), or possibilities and potential (Intuition or "N").
- Logic and truth (Thinking or "T"), or values and relationship (Feeling or "F").
- A lifestyle that is well-structured (Judgment or "J"), or one that goes with the flow (Perception or "P").
The best way to discover your own preferences, or learn more about Myers Briggs theory, is to complete a questionnaire such as our own validated MMDI™ (Mental Muscle Diagram Indicator™). You can complete it online for free at http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/mmdi/questionnaire/ (or search google for "MMDI").
In Myers Briggs theory, for each pair you prefer one style over the other. You combine the letters associated with your preferences to get your Myers Briggs personality type. For example, having preferences for E, S, T and J gives a personality type of ESTJ. Although you have preferences, you still use all eight styles - in the same way that most people are right-handed but they still use both hands.
Extraversion and Introversion - The first pair of styles is concerned with the direction of your energy. If you prefer to direct your energy to deal with people, things, situations, or "the outer world", then your preference is for Extraversion. If you prefer to direct your energy to deal with ideas, information, explanations or beliefs, or "the inner world", then your preference is for Introversion.
Sensing and Intuition - The second pair concerns the type of information/things that you process. If you prefer to deal with facts, what you know, to have clarity, or to describe what you see, then your preference is for Sensing. If you prefer to deal with ideas, look into the unknown, to generate new possibilities or to anticipate what isn't obvious, then your preference is for Intuition. The letter N is used for intuition because I has already been allocated to Introversion.
Thinking and Feeling - The third pair reflects your style of decision-making. If you prefer to decide on the basis of objective logic, using an analytic and detached approach, then your preference is for Thinking. If you prefer to decide using values - i.e. on the basis of what or who you believe is important - then your preference is for Feeling.
Judgment and Perception - The final pair describes the type of lifestyle you adopt. If you prefer your life to be planned, stable and organised then your preference is for Judging (not to be confused with 'Judgmental', which is quite different). If you prefer to go with the flow, to maintain flexibility and respond to things as they arise, then your preference is for Perception.
When you put these four letters together, you get your personality type code. Having four pairs to choose from means there are sixteen Myers Briggs personality types (2x2x2x2=16).
Other resources that you may find helpful include:
- A free personality test at http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/mmdi/questionnaire/. There are also some low-cost, optional reports that help you find a career you will enjoy, develop your leadership potential, improve your relationships and deepen your self-awareness.
- A blog by Steve Myers (no relation to Isabel Briggs Myers). It includes articles and videos that describe the differences between Jung's and Briggs Myers' theories, and other aspects of Jung's analytical psychology.
- A more in-depth description of Myers Briggs theory. This is a series of six text articles.
- Another in-depth description, in the form of a fun 'powerpoint' presentation. This contains 46 slides with text annotations.
- A compendium of other articles about Myers Briggs.
©2013 Team Technology. Further articles/resources that may be of interest include: Personality Test, Personality Type Descriptions, Myers Briggs overview, The Basics of Team Building, What Career is Right for Me?, and Career ideas.