MBTI Team Development

Myers Briggs Type Indicator

Background Information

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. These preferences were extrapolated from the typological theories proposed by Carl Jung in 1921.

Katharine Briggs & Isabel Myers

The original developers of the personality inventory were Katharine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers; these two, having studied extensively the work of Jung, turned their interest of human behaviour into a devotion of turning the theory of psychological types to practical use. They began creating the indicator during World War II, believing that a knowledge of personality preferences would help women who were entering the industrial workforce for the first time to identify the sort of war-time jobs that would be “most comfortable and effective”. The initial questionnaire grew into the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which was first published in 1962. The MBTI focuses on normal populations and emphasises the value of naturally occurring differences. Robert Kaplan and Dennis Saccuzzo believe “the underlying assumption of the MBTI is that we all have specific preferences in the way we construe our experiences, and these preferences underlie our interests, needs, values, and motivation”


Applications of use

The instrument is generally used for self understanding and development, organisation development and team building. The indicator is also frequently used in the areas of career counseling, team building, group dynamics, professional development, marketing, family business, leadership training, executive coaching, life coaching, personal development and marriage counseling.

Type NOT Trait

The MBTI sorts for type; it does not indicate the strength of ability. The questionnaire allows the clarity of a preference to be ascertained (Bill clearly prefers introversion), but not the strength of preference (Jane strongly prefers extraversion) or degree of aptitude (Harry is good at thinking). In this sense, it differs from trait-based tools such as 16PF. Type preferences are polar opposites: a precept of MBTI is that people fundamentally prefer one thing over the other, not a bit of both.

No preference or total type is considered better or worse than another. They are all Gifts Differing, as emphasized by the title of Isabel Briggs Myers’ book on this subject.

Apply it to:

  • Value diversity
  • Improve working relationships
  • Improve communication
  • Improve problem-solving strategies
  • Develop your leadership style
  • Help manage change

Learning objectives

  • Learn about yourself, understanding where you fit in a framework that describes personality differences in positive and constructive ways
  • Appreciate important differences between people, and understand how different types can work together in a complementary way

Typical day

  • 0900 till 1700
  • AM Understanding self
  • PM Understanding others