Temple Times Online Edition
    FEBRUARY 16, 2006
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Using personality types at work

Are you a “Logical Pragmatist”? An “Insightful Idealists?” According to the mother/daughter team of Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, who developed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in 1943, your behavior can be categorized into one of 16 personality types.

The MBTI is an internationally recognized instrument that identifies individual strengths and personality preferences and types, and provides insights into workplace behaviors. Based on the personality theories of psychoanalyst Carl Jung, the MBTI has been translated into 30 languages and is used in thousands of organizations on every continent to explore the relationship between personality type and workplace behaviors. It is administered to more than 2 million people individually annually.

While every self-assessment tool has room for improvement, the MBTI is widely considered the “gold standard” because of its ease of use and high statistical validity and reliability.
Background on the MBTI

During World War II, Myers decided to do her part for the war effort by creating a self-report inventory that would make Jung’s theory of psychological types available to more people. She hoped that such a tool would encourage everyday applications of Jung’s work and would ultimately accomplish two goals: help factories and the military function better because people could use the tool to find better vocational matches based on their personality types; and promote world peace by helping people develop a deeper appreciation of individual differences and how to use these differences constructively rather than divisively.

At that time, paper self-reporting tools for personality assessment did not exist and only psychologists “assessed” personalities. The mother and daughter developed a pencil-and-paper test in the 1940s and tested it on their friends and family. It took them more than 20 years to fully develop the instrument.

In the more than 60 years since its beginnings, the MBTI has evolved and been honed through continual test research and development of ever more accurate questions. Millions of people have taken the inventory, and the research database is huge. The worldwide use of the MBTI has applied type theory to business effectiveness, communication, career development, cross-cultural understanding, education, spirituality and more.

MBTI seminars and services

Although there are many “type” inventories on the Web, it is considered a breach of professional ethics to administer the MBTI without person-to-person follow-up verification by a qualified practitioner. Marie Amey-Taylor, Human Resources director of organizational development and training, is qualified to administer the instrument and assist in the interpretation of its result.

Amey-Taylor consults with individuals in one-on-one coaching sessions and routinely conducts workshops for general audiences. “Type Talk: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator At Work” and “Leading With Style: Myers Briggs Type Indicator Training for Managers” are offered twice a semester and, as a part of these programs, seminar participants have an opportunity to complete the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and engage in small-group exercises and discussions designed to deepen and sharpen their knowledge of themselves and others.

MBTI training programs for intact work teams are particularly powerful. Because teams are made up of a collection of people with complementary and contrasting personality types and skills, it is important to maximize the opportunities for each individual to contribute fully toward the team goals. These programs provide opportunities for teams to integrate individual preference information with that of the team as a whole. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator knowledge can support teams as they:

Using MBTI insights

• Match specific task and project assignments to personality preferences and strengths.
• Convert personality differences from sources of team conflict to sources of team strength.
• Develop those who are not naturally “team players.”
• Analyze the fit between the “team type” and the manager’s type.
• Value their diversity by understanding and appreciating their individual differences.
• Increase the value and productivity of meetings.
• Transfer skill building from the training room to the office.

To register for one of the upcoming MBTI programs, visit the HR Organizational Development & Training Web site at https://atlas.ocis.temple.edu/hr.

For a one-on-one MBTI administration and coaching session, contact Amey-Taylor at
215-204-1673 or marie.amey-taylor@temple.edu.