The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) instrument is intended to indicate the psychological types of our personality as defined by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, who attempted to understand the reasons for the individual differences among people. The MBTI test assists individuals to understand their preferences for taking in information and making decisions, as well as how a person prefers to focus their attention and how they prefer to live their life.
Over 50 years after the MBTI was first developed, it has become one of the most widely used assessment instruments for understanding differences in personality. The questionnaire is designed to enable an individual to understand their psychological types, as defined by Jung, so that they can utilise this information in everyday life.
Through this exploration, differences that can be the source of much misunderstanding and miscommunication are understood and more amenably resolved. The MBTI personality test helps people to become appreciative and tolerant towards other preferred styles of communication and patterns of behaviour that are the result of personality types different from their own. Because of this the MBTI is invaluable for understanding team dynamics and relationships.
The MBTI can be applied for to a wide range of purposes. Some of the most popular uses include:
- Career development
- Team building
- Management development training
- Leadership development training
- Relationship counselling
Once the participant has completed the questionnaire, the MBTI describes an individual’s personality preferences through four representative dimensional scales (the capital letters denote the reference acronym used):
Scale 1 – Where you focus your attention:
- Extraversion (E) – Prefers to draw energy from the outer world of activity, people and things, or
- Introversion (I) – Prefers to draw energy from the inner world of reflections, feelings and ideas
Scale 2 – The way you take in information:
- Sensing (S) – Prefers to focus on information gained from the five senses and on practical applications, or
- Intuition (N) – Prefers to focus on patterns, connections and possible meanings
Scale 3 – The way you make decision
- Thinking (T) – Prefers to base decisions on logic and objective analysis of cause and effect, or
- Feeling (F) – Prefers to base decisions on a valuing process, considering what is important to people
Scale 4 – How you deal with the outer world
- Judging (J) – Likes a planned, organised approach to life, and prefers to have things decided, or
- Perceiving (P) – Likes a flexible, spontaneous approach and prefers to keep options open
There are no right or wrong answers from completing the MBTI. In fact a key part of the MBTI is that it looks at the relevant strengths and qualities of different personality styles and as a result the feedback that is delivered is always constructive.
The results of the MBTI test are intended only for each respondent’s own use. Where this information is to be shared amongst team members for a team building session the provision of the results should be agreed upon with each respondent.
Completion time of the MBTI questionnaire is typically between 15 – 25 minutes. The questionnaire asks 80 questions, with a choice of two statements of behaviour, where they select the statement that most closely relates to how they usually feel or act.
Feedback from the reports should be done through person-to-person consultation and verification by a qualified practitioner, such as a business psychologist who has the required qualifications.
For anybody who wants to qualify in delivering psychometrics within their organisation, the British Psychological Society (BPS) do authorise psychometric test training courses so that HR personnel or consultants can deliver ability and certain personality psychometric tests.