Myers Briggs: Improve Workplace Communication

The Myers Briggs test has become something of a meme in academic and corporate environments over the last twenty years. If you’ve worked in an office in that time, you’ve likely overheard coworkers discussing the test or their “personality type.” Used correctly, the Myers Briggs test can deliver powerful insights about personality traits and the ways they cluster together in certain people. This insight can be used to build more cohesive cultures in the workplace and improve interpersonal communication in the workplace. Ready to learn more about the world of Myers Briggs? Start reading.

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What Is Myers Briggs?

Of course, there’s a chance this is all unfamiliar to you and you’re wondering: what is Myers Briggs, or what is the Myers Briggs Personality Test? The official name is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator Assessment. It is a self-reported questionnaire designed to test and codify different groups of psychological preferences, perceptions, and decision-making criteria. More broadly, the test was conceived to help people make practical use of psychologist CG Jung’s sixteen personality types.

Myers Briggs Letters Meaning

You might have seen people on social media identifying as an “ENFP,” “ISTJ,” or some other 4-letter cluster. These refer to results on the Myers Briggs test. The Myers Briggs 16 personalities are all expressed in this 4-letter system. This might seem complex, but the Myers Briggs explanation is quite simple. Each of the four letters represents one pole or another of a certain dimension of personality. The four categories are:

  1. Introversion or Extroversion
  2. Sensing or iNtuition
  3. Thinking or Feeling
  4. Judging or Perceiving

The Myers Briggs letters’ meaning is simply which of the two options for each category a person has been assigned. The first example we gave – ENFP – would describe someone who is extroverted, who is intuitive, who feels more than thinks, and who perceives more than judges. The second example, ISTJ, on the other hand, would describe an introverted and sensitive person who thinks more than feels and judges more than perceives.

Myers Briggs Personality Test Chart

Of course, simply knowing the meaning of each of the letters in the Myers Briggs personality type doesn’t capture the insights the test offers. And obviously, it doesn’t capture the full complexity and depth of an individual person. The four letters are simply a shorthand to a more developed definition of a personality type – or an assemblage of psychological traits. We have included a more detailed Myers Briggs Personality Test Chart below.

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Chart complements of: Jake Beech – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

 

On the left and right sides of the chart, you can see somewhat detailed elaborations of each of the eight letters. These pertain to whether you’re outwardly or inwardly focused (Extraversion/Introversion), how you prefer to take in information (Sensing/iNtuition), how you prefer to make decisions (Thinking/Feeling), and how you prefer to live your outer life (Judging/Perceiving). The squares in the center of the chart include more detailed descriptions of how the sixteen different clusters make-up different personalities.

Benefits of Myers Briggs

Many people have a powerful reaction to taking the Myers Briggs test. For some, it helps to codify a set of psychological traits people have lived (and struggled with) their whole lives, but have never had laid out in objective detail. Being able to analyze your own personality from a relatively detached perspective can enable you to recognize certain dysfunctions and to better navigate relationships going forward. These tests are often especially revelatory for neurodivergent people, or people who have some dimension of their personality that has been misunderstood by others. For example, Susan Cain famously tackles the undervalued power of introverted personality types in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts and her TED Talk of the same name.

The benefits of Myers Briggs go beyond an individual’s quest for self-actualization. Organizations can also benefit from the use of the Myers Briggs test. Individuals report not just benefits in productivity but also benefits in their relationships. This is because developing a deeper understanding of how you perceive & communicate with other people – and how that might differ from how other people perceive & communicate – makes you a more empathetic communicator and a better collaborator. Imagine equipping your entire workforce with the relational superpowers of more effective communication, interpersonal, conflict management, and decision-making skills! That’s the power of Myers Briggs.

Conclusion

The Myers Briggs test has proven to be a powerful tool in helping many deepen their self-knowledge. In turn, this helps people improve their relationships with others. Business, at its core, is about relationships. This makes the Myers Briggs test a natural fit in the business world. It helps workforces develop more skillful communication for better cohesion and cooperation. If your workforce suffers from poor or non-existent communication, consider a Management Consulted corporate training. Reach out today to learn more.

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Filed Under: Consulting skills, Corporate Training