How your MBTI can Affect How you Work: Part 1 -

How your MBTI can Affect How you Work: Part 1


By Melissa McManus

In this two-part series, we will be delving into the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), including discussing the different functions and applying them in your professional life.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely known and used personality instrument. But why is personality so important? Personality is a fundamental part of who we are as people. However, many people do not consider the impact their personality tendencies can have on their day-to-day activities. How we perceive the world and how the world perceives us is tied to our personality traits. Our personality shapes our preferences and perceptions of everything around us—from personal relationships to the careers we choose, and even our workplace habits.

Isabel Briggs Meyers and Katharine Briggs were a mother and daughter team. Katharine was intrigued by how people interact with each other, an interest that began when she realized how well-matched her daughter Isabel and her future husband were for each other. Driven by a need to help others Myers-Briggs came up with a way for us to understand those preferences. Based on Jung’s theories of personality types Myers and Briggs devised a personality indicator that includes 16 different personality types based on four dichotomies: extrovert/introvert; sensing/intuition; thinking/feeling; and perceiving/judging.

The first dichotomy deals with how we draw our energy from the world either internally (“I”) or externally (“E”). An extrovert gets their energy from other people, while an introvert gets their energy from within.

The next dichotomy involves how we prefer to get our information either through the sensing “S” function or the intuition “N” function. Those who have a proclivity for the “S” function like to focus on the information that they have and they tend to be detail focused as well. They tend to look at the information and facts that they have and accepting them at face value. For the “N” function, they prefer to interpret and try to add meaning to the information that they are given. These types tend to be big picture and abstract thinkers.

The third dichotomy deals with how we make decisions with either the thinking “T” function or the feeling “F” function. Those who are a “T” make decisions with their heads. They look at the facts and analyze the situation rationally. Whereas, those with an “F” in their personality type make decisions based on their feelings or what is best for the people involved. They tend to empathize with others.

The fourth and last dichotomy deals with how we structure our world with either the judging “J” function or the perceiving “P” function. Those who identify as “J” types like to plan things out, they will make to do and check lists, they like to have things decided and are huge fans of deadlines. Whereas, the “P” types are more flexible, they can be more spontaneous and are open to change. They are not as fond of being tied down to a specific deadline.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this series, where we’ll discuss how to take information learned here and apply it in your professional life.

About the Author: Melissa McManus has five years of research experience as well as over a decade of experience working in the educational sector spanning from TK through Adult education. Melissa has a Masters in counseling, received from California State University, Fresno and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with a focus in Human Resource Development. Melissa’s professional interests include human behavior, research, writing, coaching, training, and knowledge transfer. On a more personal note, Melissa is involved in community service efforts including serving as chair of her children’s school site council, volunteering her time as an art docent, and serving in the library of her local church. In her free time when she is not running her kids to gymnastics or karate, Melissa enjoys reading (a lot), wine tasting, Crossfit, being with friends/family, and spending time with her husband and two children.

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