I am going through a leadership workshop and as part of that, we took the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) questionnaire. I have taken this questionnaire a few times before and have sat through sessions explaining the concept of physiological types. This time however our facilitator Santosh Babu provided some interesting perspectives and insights into the test.
There’s a difference between type and trait. Type is who you really are. However trait is something that you demonstrate. I think when I filled the questionnaire, I answered questions according to the traits I demonstrate, or perhaps even the traits I want to/need to demonstrate. When our facilitator explained the different types, I felt I was quite different from type that the questionnaire identified for me.
The E-I Dichotomy
The Extraversion-Introversion dichotomy is primarily about how you use your energy. Extraversion people are people who can easily communicate with various people, communicating with others is energy generator for them. Introversion people are people who prefer to think deeply and prefer to have their own space. It is not that the Introversion people can’t communicate or generally display more “introvert” characteristics. It is just that they need to make the extra effort to communicate and then need some time alone to recuperate. Extroversion people typically have more breadth (multiple interests but not deeply into any) while Introversion people are people with more depth (fewer interest but with more focus). Introversion people act as extroversion people when they are with their close friends or if the topic of discussion is about their interest.
The S-N Dichotomy
The Sensing-Intuitive dichotomy is about how you communicate. The Sensing people tend to first identify the elements and then build a picture around those elements. The Intuitive people tend to create a big picture. Sensing people will first spot the small mistakes in documents/reports, while the Intuitive people will focus on what the document/report. The Intuitive people are more imaginative and verbally creative.
The T-F Dichotomy
The Thinking-Feeling dichotomy is about decision making style. Thinking people will collect data. They will create systems, processes and rules. They want to be fair using the data and rules around these. Thinking people want to be objective and fair. They are analytical and want to identify what’s wrong with something so they can solve the problem. They may appear to be tough minded. The Feeling people are more focused on being fair to the situation and the people involved. They use personal value to make decisions. They assess the impact of decisions on people and strive for harmony and positive interactions. They may appear soft hearted.
The J-P Dichotomy
The Judging-Perceiving dichotomy is about orientation to external world. The Judging people are more structure, organized and like to live in a planned and orderly way. Perceiving people tend to be more flexible and spontaneous in their ways. They prefer to stay open to last minute options and can adapt to change.
By the questionnaire, I am ENTJ personality type. However by explanations above, I am closer to ISFP or even ISFJ at times. The facilitator also suggested that you could take three inputs – the test, your own feel and what others might perceive you as to identify your personality type and traits you demonstrate.