Hey, baby, what’s your MBTI?

In the spirit of understanding my surroundings better in order to effectively influence change, I found another great resource in William Bridges’ The Character of Organizations. The book effectively reviews how Meyers Briggs Personality types applies to companies and organizations. I know some are leery about Meyer Briggs Type Indicators and over-application of the MBTI profiles to people and groups, but I believe that MBTI is a start in being able to understand group dynamics and how to get different personalities to work in concert with each other. But it’s good to take any personality type scale with a grain of salt, and not over-analyze people and organizations based on these scales.
How can one change unless one really has a good understanding of themselves, their motivations, and what makes it possible for them to change. This same inward approach to change can apply to larger bodies even companies as well. I mentioned earlier that It seems that the organization I work in is highly ISTJ.  I answered the assessment in Bridges book (Chapter 2: Identifying Organizational Character) from my perspective (listing the qualities per MBTI type which I’ve and other’s I know have observed), and I’m sure that there are people higher up than myself who would disagree with my assessment. But lately, I’ve be reassessing my ability to challenge authority on their viewpoint, but doing so ever so gingerly, constructively and diplomatically. I feel that there are some very good and positive things about the attributes listed here.  For example, sometimes there definitely are benefits to being introverted and sensing. You’re focused on the solid, tangible and achievable things. However, my gut tells me that there are intangibles, motivators, and methods of influencing people that are also needed to successfully meet goals.  When you think about the dichotomy between each of the MBTI categories (Introverted vs. Extroverted, Sensing vs. Intuition, etc.), being on either end of the spectrum is not the ideal.  What would be ideal is that if you a community or company learned how to best leverage their organizational character and minimize some of it’s drawbacks by practicing the opposite. For example companies that inherently are decision-focused and drive their people groups to set aggressive deadlines should also effectively ascertain if that the deadlines are truly feasible. They should also have managers/leader who are not just results-oriented, but capable of reading, leading and motivating people.

Introverted:

  • Decision making may not be transparent
  • Respond only after study (act slowly)
  • Trust written communication (need documentation)
  • Experience interdepartmental mistrust
  • Insist that guidance must come from (leadership) within
  • Circle the waggons when in trouble vs. ask for help externally when in trouble
  • Have as a motto, “The answer is within- we just have to figure it out” vs. “The answer is out there – we just have to figure it out”

Sensing:


  • Can handle masses of data vs. being able to spotting emerging trends
  • Prefer solid routines
  • Prefer incremental change
  • Make improvements (focus on incremental innovation)
  • See intuitive organizations as lost in the clouds (skeptical of intuition and gut)
  • See the future as an extension of the present vs. believe the future can be created
  • Emphasize targets and plans vs. Emphasize purposes and vision
  • Trust experience and authority
  • Tend to organize functionally vs. cross functionally
  • Have as a motto, “Change the structure” vs. “Change the belief systems”

Thinking:

  • Make decisions based on facts, past experience, and data
  • Value what is logical
  • Emphasize the objective vs. people (and how to effectively get the people there)
  • Believe that criticisim leader to efficiency ( vs. Believe support leads to effectiveness)
  • Encourage employees to live up to expectations vs. encourage employees to do their best
  • Are a social machine vs. a social community
  • “Do the right (or intelligent) thing” vs. “Work well together”

Judging

  • Drive toward decisions vs. Keep options open and seek more information
  • May be weak in information gathering
  • Set clear, specific standards
  • Define lots of things in detail
  • Are often moralistic
  • “Fish or cut bait” vs. “Don’t miss an opportunity”
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5 Responses to “Hey, baby, what’s your MBTI?”


  1. 1 Rory January 16, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    my MBTI is: ENTJ (extroverted, intuitive, thinking, judging).

  2. 2 nkilkenny January 16, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    When I took the test about 7 years ago, I was an INTJ. However, I took it recently and discovered that I am more INFP. I can only assume that being in a highly “TJ” environment actually catalyzed this transformation. I most likely was on the cusp between FP and TJ.

  3. 3 Jacob McNulty January 23, 2007 at 3:22 am

    A great resource on MBTI styles is at http://personalitypage.com/

    It’s not a fancy site but the write-ups are tailored to relationships, careers, etc. and the one about me is one of the most accurate I’ve seen.

    FYI – I’m INFP and love it…we’re a rare breed!

  4. 4 nkilkenny January 23, 2007 at 6:22 am

    Jacob, thank you for the link. Yes, it’s very interesting being INFP. I have to say, I do like it myself as well.

  5. 5 Christy Tucker March 29, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    I’m an INFJ. I just retook the test today after taking it about 4 years ago. I’m much less strongly J than I used to be.

    Here’s a site with a free test, which is what I used:
    http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes1.htm


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