Monday, 28 December 2009

I must stop Myers Brigging people....

After a night out in the pub a while ago I received this e mail in my in-box:



Don't know if you remember our conversation about Myers-Briggs in the pub last friday, but it's definitely intruiging. I think, from googling, that you are right that I am defintely more of an INFP than an INTP. It's really quite surprising how well it seems to fit. Who knew that you could learn so much from just a few questions? The things that can be learnt from such a small insight into the human psyche really are quite fascinating.

Anyway, was lovely to meet you, do hope all is well.

All the best,

I did remember but I am starting to realise that I might be over-doing the Myers Briggs stuff a bit! I do a quick Myers Brigg typing of pretty much every teacher or head-teacher I have a one to one with, I've done it to people on trains, all my colleagues, some of my colleagues relatives, many friends and pretty much anyone who will receive!

I think sometimes my enthusiasm is a little over-bearing and it tends to polarise people. I either make a very warm connection with someone or alienate them completely. Then again I am quite happy not to be everyone's 'cup of tea'! Nobody could possibly be to everyone's liking. Love me, love my Myers Briggs I say!

However, having acknowledged that it's time to calm down on the MB front and as this blog feels very much like an effective outlet to me, I am wondering if I put some Myers Briggs stuff here (more than my brief post early November), I might once and for all get it out of my system!

So here goes.......
Myers Briggs personality typing is based on four spectrums. Everyone sits by preference somewhere along each spectra. The preference part is important. We can all move up and down each of the spectra (and our jobs, for example might require us to work outside our preferences) but we all have a natural point of preference. Carl Jung said we tend to live the first part of our lives thrashing our raw preferences but in the latter half start to explore the other ends of each spectra. We don't actually ever change our basic type, we just develop a greater 'roundness' with our type as the starting point.

People can be middling on a particular spectrum (but they will always have a slight preference) and this will mean they have few blind spots. With strong preferences comes strengths but also blind spots. Surprise surprise I don't have a lot of middling going on. (= Freak!)

Consider where you might sit by preference on each of the spectra. Collect your four letters e.g. ENFP. Google them and you will be surprised at how much insightful material comes back at you. I will blog tomorrow about the impact on type and communication/relationships! See I really cannot help myself. Clearly the Myers Briggs exorcism has a little further to go before completion.
So here are the four spectra explained:

FIRST SPECTRUM: Extravert (E) or Introvert (I)
'Radar in or radar out people'
(note: these words have been adopted into the English language from Carl Jung's work and their meaning altered slightly in everyday use. Extravert does not mean loud and introvert does not mean shy)

Extraverts often:
• Have high energy
• Talk more than listen
• Think out loud
• Act, then think
• Like to be around people a lot
• Prefer a public role
• Can sometimes be easily distracted
• Prefer to do lots of things at once
• Are outgoing & enthusiastic
• Are attuned to external environment
• Have broad interests
• Prefer communicating by talking
• Are sociable and expressive
• Work out ideas by talking them through
• Learn best by doing or discussion
• Readily take initiative in work and relationships

Introverts often:
• Have quiet energy
• Listen more than talk
• Think quietly inside their head
• Think, then act
• Feel comfortable being alone
• Prefer to work "behind-the-scenes"
• Have good powers of concentration
• Prefer to focus on one thing at a time
• Are self-contained and reserved
• Are drawn to their inner world
• Focus in depth on their interests
• Prefer communicating by writing
• Are private and contained
• Work out ideas by reflecting on them
• Learn best by reflection, mental ‘practice’
• Take initiative when the situation or issue is very important to them

SECOND SPECTRUM: Sensor (S) or iNtuitive (N)
'buck stops with what you see and hear in front of you, or people that receive information and extrapolate in their heads'

Sensors often:

• Focus on details & specifics
• Admire practical solutions
• Factual and concrete
• Notice details & remember facts
• Are pragmatic - see what is
• Live in the here-and-now
• Trust actual experience
• Like to use established skills
• Like step-by-step instructions
• Work at a steady pace
• Build carefully and thoroughly towards conclusions
• Understand ideas and theories through practical applications

iNtuitives often:
• Focus on the big picture & possibilities
• Admire creative ideas
• Imaginative and verbally creative
• Notice anything new or different
• Are inventive - see what could be
• Think about future implications
• Trust their gut instincts
• Prefer to learn new skills
• Like to figure things out for themselves
• Work in bursts of energy
• Move quickly towards conclusions, follow hunches
• Want to clarify ideas and theories before putting them into practice

THIRD SPECTRUM: Thinker (T) or Feeler (F)
'head' people and 'heart' people
(note: thinker does not mean intellectual and feeler does not mean emotional)

Thinkers often:
• Make decisions objectively
• Appear cool and reserved
• Are most convinced by rational arguments
• Are honest and direct
• Value honesty and fairness
• Take few things personally
• Tend to see flaws
• Are motivated by achievement
• Argue or debate issues for fun
• Analyse things
• Use cause-and-effect reasoning
• Can appear ‘tough-minded’
• Solve problems with logic
• Strive for an objective fairness

Feelers often:
• Decide based on their values & feelings
• Appear warm and friendly
• Are most convinced by how they feel
• Are diplomatic and tactful
• Value harmony and compassion
• Take many things personally
• Are quick to compliment others
• Are motivated by appreciation
• Avoid arguments and conflicts
• Empathise readily
• Are guided by personal values
• May appear ‘tender-hearted’
• Assess the impact of decisions on people
• Strive for harmony and positive interactions

FOURTH SPECTRUM: Judger (J) or Perceiver (P)
'people that like closure or those that like to keep things open ended'
(note: judger does not mean judgemental and perceiver does not mean perceptive)

Judgers often:
• Make most decisions pretty easily
• Are serious & conventional
• Pay attention to time & are prompt
• Prefer to finish projects
• Work first, play later
• Want things decided
• See the need for most rules
• Like to make & stick with plans
• Find comfort in schedules
• Are systematic
• Make short and long term plans
• Try to avoid last minute stresses
• Work steadily and consistently

Perceivers often:
• May have difficulty making decisions
• Are playful & unconventional
• Are less aware of time & run late
• Prefer to start projects
• Play first, work later
• Want to keep their options open
• Question the need for many rules
• Like to keep plans flexible
• Want the freedom to be spontaneous
• Are casual
• Adapt and change course
• Feel energised by last-minute pressures
• Work in fits and starts


  1. Well, can we call it a day now?! xxx

  2. Last examination of the year, so what is My Prize ?

  3. I'm INTJ. pretty close on the I:E divide - otherwise almost off the scale on the other three

  4. Claire, hey no, I'm hugely interested in this stuff. No breaks, please Molly. As I have said, I'm INTJ, not too strong on the T but reasonably so on the others.

    The descriptions of preferences make sense to me. Not that I can't behave outside of my preferences, but, well, I prefer not to.

  5. Hi Cogitator - I agree with you really - I think MB is really interesting and an extremely useful tool - it helped me and Molly improve our relationship with each other hugely through a better understanding of each other. I'm ENTJ, she's ENFP - the T/J difference caused rather a lot of problems before MB diagnosis!

    But still, I gotta rib her a little!!!

    P.S. Molly delivers MB training courses sometimes.

  6. Thanks Claire... It doesn't surprise me that Molly might deliver training courses on the subject.... the enthusiasm shows clearly. I would like to know more about it... I really must put some time in.... but meanwhile, Molly's posts do it for me.

    Hi Molly, please excuse me for talking across you...

  7. That's perfectly OK I was lollopping around downstairs while you were 'chatting'.

    There's more Myers Briggs coming along today, as promised.

    Cogitator: a book I read at the start of my MB journey was Type Talk: the 16 personality types by Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen. It was a good start - introduced and developed it for me.

  8. While you're lolloping and not feeding us more blog morsels, we have to amuse ourselves somehow! xxx

  9. heron's view...your prize is more insight

  10. Hehe, it was certainly an odd night in the pub, but interesting nonetheless. And it's added yet another blog to those I ponder over. I say keep being yourself and don't worry too much about how others see it!

  11. Hello Andy....who'd have thought you'd turn up here!

    Happity Happiness in 2010

  12. Oops, i have just come home and was reading your blog posts in reverse order, didn't realise this was here first! I want you to keep writing more Myers Briggs stuff please! On our staff night out I tried to find out loads of people's types. Not sure they were that interested but it was interesting to me to talk about it!!!

  13. PS I also reckon INFPs are the most likely type to google MBTI/INFP and read everything there is to know about it!

  14. I (in my experience) think the main buying in to Myers Brigg is an 'N'

    Being intuitive means you can 'see' its application readily.

    Resistance has been researched and (I wrote this in an earlier blog)
    I s sometimes hate it because it seems intrusive
    S s can't always see how it could be applied
    F s sometimes hate the pigeon holing aspect
    T s can think all psychology is woolly and not buy into it
    P s can question - only 16 types - surely not!

    But anyone can love it and anyone can hate it!

  15. Molly: I'm an ENTP myself and I am very happy for the MBTI-tool.
    I think that the I's are right. Most people I know of who like the MBTI are N's.
    And I guess that it's because around 70-75% of the population are S. So they were always "right". But with this tool N's get words for the difference they have always felt.

  16. Wonderfully put anonymous.
    The N-S spectrum was the one that spoke most loudly to me (follwoed by P-J) it helped me understand why (especially when I was in weekend jobs as a student, I was founf to be quite so 'lacking in common sense for one so bright'. I wasn't actually overly lacking - just thinking about other things!!!!) I have never had the 'down to earth' of an S - because I am so, so N)

    Who are you?


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