Carl Jung’s theories of personality influenced Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs, the authors of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and one of the world’s best-known ways of identifying personality, sorting you into one of 16 possible personality types. The questionnaire asks you to choose between two sets of choices on four dimensions, so offering eight possible preferences which influence personality and therefore behaviour.
The assumption is that all of us can access all eight of these preferences, but that the chances are we will have either a strong or a mild preference for one of each pair over the other. The chances are also that we will develop skill in our chosen preference. When you combine the letters of your four preferences, you arrive at a four letter profile. This profile can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, make reliable career choices as well as showing you how to get along better with others.
The original – and best – questionnaire is available in the UK from OPP, www.OPP.com. There are many rival questionnaires, including the excellent Keirsey Temperament Sorter which you can take online: www.keirsey.com. It gives you a free Temperament Sorter (only two of the four letters) and you can then pay for the full profile with several options – for instance, a career-focused version.
What follows is a quick alternative to help you decide which of the 4 sets of preferences is the best fit for you. You will have a full debrief with your coach on what each set of preferences means for you and a copy of my book on the MBTI.
- Fill it in quickly without pondering. Don’t leave out any pairs of questions.
- Where do you instinctively feel your preferences lie when faced with two equally good candidates?
- Don’t try to answer as you feel others expect you to be
- Don’t try to answer as you feel you would like to be
- The ticks in each column will total automatically
- Note the letter which represents the most ticks in each of the four sections
- Those 4 letters make up your probable Type
Extraversion or Introversion? (E or I?)
These words are interpreted differently from their everyday meanings. In Jungian, or MBTI-speak, they are about where you get your energy. Either preference has equal validity.
Sensing or Intuition? (S or N?)
This dimension is about perception: where does your attention typically go? Sensing is about what you can see, hear, taste, smell, touch. Intuition is about what is intangible. (It is dubbed ‘N’ because the letter ‘I’ has already been used for Introversion.) Either is an equally valid way of experiencing the world.
Thinking and Feeling (T and F)
This dimension is about coming to conclusions, and as with each of the other dimensions, both sets of preferences are equally valid.
Judging and Perceiving (J and P)
This dimension is about whether your preference is for decisiveness or for flexibility. Again, there is no one ‘right way’. Either is perfectly valid.