Working out your Myers Briggs type (continued)
Preference, Role, or Learned BehaviourOne feature differentiating Es from Is is whether action or thought comes first. In situations that demand action, such as the sounding of a fire alarm, both types will act. Most people are trained to evacuate the building immediately in an emergency, or to take other appropriate action. So the fire alarm results in most people doing something, and very few people decide to sit and think. They will adopt a team role that is extraverted. But their underlying preference is still the same.
In situations that demand thought, such as solving a crossword puzzle, both types will think. Most crossword puzzles cannot be solved by taking action or by talking. Both extroverts and introverts need to spend time in thought first, to make some progress towards a solution. Their team roles are introverted, but their underlying preference remains the same.
Team roles therefore reflect how we respond to particular circumstances. Finding your true, inner preferences is therefore more difficult, because everyone adapts to some degree to each situation. However, the difference between people who have a preference for extroversion and introversion becomes more apparent when there is a free choice. In these situations, the extrovert will tend to act, and the introvert tend to think. However, very few situations involve a truly free choice, as your behaviour (at work, for example) may be influenced by factors such as:
- the culture of the organisation (some employers expect action-oriented behaviour, others expect considered responses)
- your training or upbringing
- a range of environmental factors, such as whether the situation is a new or familiar one, whether recognition or reward is given, and the effects of stress or illness. The need to restore balance may also be a factor (e.g.: an extrovert may need some time alone after a busy week).
Nevertheless, your innate preferences will still influence the way that you behave, as well as those factors listed above. In a situation demanding action, an introvert may nevertheless bring a more thoughtful approach, or delay the taking of action. In a situation demanding thought, the extrovert may tend to talk the problem through, or move to action more quickly. The MTR-i(TM) team role you perform depends on a combination of the demands being placed on you. Isabel Briggs Myers believed your type is innate and stays the same throughout life.
Another indicator or your true preference may be the level of stress or enjoyment in a situation. Where your preferences coincide with the demands of the situation, you may find it quite enjoyable. An extrovert may find it frustrating or stressful if required to work in an introvert style, but enjoyable or energising if required to work in an extrovert style, and vice versa for an introvert.
Next, we'll take a look at how your prefer to process information: