Understanding the MBTI Assessment – What it Measures and How It’s Used

Four people putting their clenched fists together over a performance graph

Understanding the MBTI Assessment – What it Measures and How It’s Used

It can be intimidating to sit before a multiple-choice test that is asking questions about yourself, especially if you feel like it’s a test examining your abilities. It’s important to understand that the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is not a ‘test’ in the sense that it is evaluating your qualities as right or wrong. There are no wrong answers on the MBTI Assessment. Likewise, there are no right answers.Four people putting their clenched fists together over a performance graph

The inventory is designed to help illuminate your personal preferences and tendencies so that you can better understand how to use them to your advantage in different situations. It is particularly useful in determining how to build and manage successful, collaborative teams, which is why the MBTI inventory is so popular in a team building setting.

MBTI Assessment Results?

At the end of undertaking the MBTI Assessment, you will be given a set of four letters. These letters represent your ‘type’. There are 16 possible combinations as each letter represents your particular measurement on a dualistic spectrum. You will be typed as the following:

Introvert or Extrovert – E or I

The first letter will indicate whether you are primarily an introvert or an extrovert. While you may have an image of an introvert as someone who is shy and doesn’t like talking to others and an extrovert as a party animal, these are overly simplistic stereotypes that don’t accurately reflect what extroversion and introversion look like for most people. Put simply, this category measures the way that people direct and receive energy. An introvert may be outgoing and love to be around others for a time, but after lots of socialising will find themselves drained and in need of some time alone to recharge. An extrovert, on the other hand, may be very comfortable for a time in their own space, but if they are alone for too long, will feel the need to socialise in some way to reenergise.

Sensing or iNtuition – S or N

The second letter indicates whether you tend to take in information through sensing or through intuition. This measures how you prefer to learn about new things. Sensers will prefer to take in information in concrete, tangible ways. They’ll rely heavily on their five senses. Those who intuit, on the other hand, look for patterns in relationships and prefer to focus on the more abstract big picture.

Thinking or Feeling – T or F

The third letter indicates how you prefer to make decisions and come to conclusions, either by thinking or feeling. Those who type as thinkers tend to make very logical, rules-based decisions. Feelers, on the other hand, tend to rely on their own individual or social value systems and attempt to make the final decision fit within those frameworks.

Judging or Perceiving – J or P

The final letter indicates how you approach the outside world, either through judging or perceiving. It’s important to realise that Judging doesn’t mean judgemental. Judgers tend to be very goal-oriented and focus on creating plans to interact with the world in a way that gives them control. Perceivers tend to be more flexible and spontaneous and prefer to take the world as it comes.

It is important to realise that all of these scores are placed on a spectrum to determine your individual type. You may be almost in the centre in any one of these categories, and then the descriptions may feel less fitting for you. If you are near the extremes of any particular category, those descriptions are likely to feel more recognisable.

It is likewise important to recognise that these only measure your preferences for how to handle a situation and not your abilities. Most people are able to step outside of their comfort zone and tackle a project or a task from the angle of someone on the other end of the spectrum when necessary. We have a range of skills and prior experiences to call upon to help us with these tasks. The MBTI Assessment simply helps understand how you work best when given optimal conditions.

What’s the best Myers Briggs type to be?

There is no ‘winner’ of the MBTI Assessment. The world needs people with all of the different possible combinations, and that applies on a macro and micro level. Even a very small team functions best when it has a diversity of perspectives. Judgers will help keep people on task while perceivers will help overcome unexpected setbacks and give the team much needed flexibility. Extroverts will get a rush out of a big presentation while introverts will make the most of quiet reflection to ensure the next project incorporates all of the lessons learned. Every type is valuable and important to a well-functioning workforce, and therefore there is no best outcome. Think of the MBTI Assessment as a measuring tool rather than an evaluation.

How is the MBTI Assessment used?

The MBTI Assessment is popular in work and team building settings because one of the most challenging parts of working together is finding out how to create teams that can work together effectively and be more productive. People can tend to seek out others who look at the world the same way they do, but this can be a detriment in a team setting. Instead, an effective team should be made up of a mix of personality types and perspectives to ensure balance, and that innovations are more likely.

It’s the give-and-take between different perspectives that makes some of the best problem solving possible. When people look at a situation differently, they have to communicate with each other in order to find common ground. It is in this communication that ideas are solidified and made stronger, and teams with different personality types are forced into this kind of exchange more often.

The Myers Briggs Assessment is also effective in helping raise self-awareness and as well as increasing empathy for others. If you understand the personality types as markers of a person’s personality preferences and perspectives, it’s easier to put their suggestions and actions into context. Instead of feeling attacked or misunderstood, you can instead step into their shoes and see where they are coming from if you understand their preferred perspective is different from your own. It can also help you take constructive criticism better if you recognise your own personality preferences.

What can I expect?

When the MBTI Assessment is conducted in a team building setting, it is usually an engaging group discussion that incorporates some fun but illuminating team building exercises designed to better understand your own personality preferences and the preferences of those in your team. Getting your own MBTI Report is just the starting point. From there, you can learn how your own type fits in with others in the team. (are you the only I in an office full of E’s for instance).

We look at the MBTI Preferences of the entire team. (Is the team more Introverted or Extroverted for instance…and what are the implications of this?) What are the team’s strengths based on the MBTI of each person and what are the likely blind-spots to be aware of?

Understanding your MBTI type is just a tool (one of many possible tools) that can help people better understand themselves and appreciate differences in others.  It can help you work more effectively, communicate more clearly, and understand other people better.

Myers Briggs – MBTI Team Building with Lingford Consulting

Lingford Consulting offers one of Australia’s leading MBTI Team Building programs. Perfect for teams that are looking to grow and develop. Our MBTI Team Building program can help your team understand each other better and identify each person’s unique strengths that can take your team to the next level. Contact Us to learn more.


Geoff Prior – Lingford Consulting, May 2018

Workload & Email Management Training/Coaching. MBTI Consultant

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