Myers-Briggs Personality Type Explained - The Elements (2022)

















Your Myers-Briggs personality type is composed of a 4 letter code which allows for 16 possible personality types.

Each of the 4 letters describes a significant aspect of your personality.

Your personality type is much more than the sum total of what each of the 4 letters mean individually. It is the interaction between these 4 letters that makes us all different. Read here to learn about the multiplication effect.

The most important concepts to understand about Myers-Briggs Personality Type are:

  • You are born with one personality type and it does not change throughout your life.

  • Knowing your type and the type of others will allow you to get along much better with others.

"Your Outlook Towards People"

Extraverted versus Introverted is the easiest for us to understand because the different types are so obvious.

Extraverts are people who truly find being with other people to be very exciting and energizing. Extraverts have a strong need to be around others as much as possible. The enjoy having an audience.

When you think of Extraverts, think "Life of the Party."

Think "outgoing" and "very sociable."

Think of a person who talks a lot and may even do their thinking out loud.

Introverted types are the opposite of Extraverts are the quiet people. They prefer to have a lot of time by themselves. They still enjoy being around people, but whereas an Extravert is happy to be around almost anyone, an INtrovert wants to be around only close friends and trusted associates.

Think quiet, reserved, and private.

It is possible to mistake an Introvert for an Extravert. If the Introvert is feeling safe and comfortable with the people and the environment around them they may become very talkative and outgoing.

However an Extravert won't become quiet unless something is wrong.

Telling them Apart

To truly see the difference, observe a person in a public setting with several strangers. Do your observation before anyone has a chance to become comfortable.

The best time to observe someone is when they first walk into an area full of strangers. This could be in an office a party, or waiting in line to buy something.

The Extraverted type will quickly start talking to people he / she has never met.

The Introverted type will usually wait for someone to initiate the conversation.

The Extraverted type will speak more loudly and will say more than the Introverted type who will speak more softly and say few words.

When an Extravert looks like an INtrovert and vice versa

An Extravert may appear more quiet and subdued if they are angry, upset, hurt, or if there is another dominant personality in the room especially a person who may be ranked hire, such as a boss.

In Introvert will look like an Extravert when he is in a comfortable surroundings i.e. his home, office, or a meeting room he has been in long enough to get comfortable.

Also, when an Introvert is speaking about his / her favorite subject, he will look like an Extravert.

Public speaking is not a good time to .... If prepared and talking about a fav subject ....

How to recognize over the phone

Extraverted types will talk more, faster and louder than INtroverted types.

There will be noticeable delays in the Introverted type's conversation while they stop and think.

People with the Extraverted preference seem to have a very direct, high speed connection between their hearts and brains and their tongue. Thoughts get turned into words very quickly where as Introverted types seem to take a longer time to put their thought into words.

In fact, for many introverts, the topic of a conversation usually moves on to other topics before they have said what they wanted to say.

"How You Process Information"

Sensors type, are those people who get their information directly from their five senses as opposed to Intuitive's who get their information after it has been further processed and filtered by the brain. This is a preference one is born with and it is not a matter of choice.

A Sensor will say things like, "Look at that red rose over there" or, "Did you hear that sound what was that?" or "There are 14 boxes on that shelf." Their conversations and observations will be about concrete tangible things that you can taste, touch, hear, smell or see.

Sensors experience life real time. They are naturally focused in the present. They prefer not to spend time on the future. They do not day dream much. Sensors are down to earth and practical.

Sensors usually have a good memory for numbers, facts and details.

If you ask a Sensor to look at a particular red rose they will experience the current details of the the red rose. How it looks, it's smell, it's texture, ....

The information comes through each sensory channel and is presented to the individual unmixed, unfiltered and real time.

Because of this focus on the present, Sensors have faster reflexes than Intuitive's. Sensors are typically more physically coordinated as well.

iNtuitives get their information after it has been processed. They do not get the data in its clear uncut form from each sense like the Sensor does.

If you ask an iNtuitive to look at a red rose. The will still see the rose, but they will see much more.

They may see all of the area surrounding the rose. The entire view if you will. Or the Intuitive's brain may bring up a other images that are somehow related to the flower. The images may be from the past or the future. The images may have been of real objects or of imagined objects.

This extra intuitive processing takes more time than when a Sensor experiences a red rose. iNtuitives may appear to react slower than Sensors.

Telling Them Apart

If you give a Sensor a camera and ask them to photograph a red rose, they will zoom in to get the most details as possible. The Intuitive will zoom out trying to capture the entire scene i.e. the big picture.

Listen to the time frame of their conversation. Intuitives will usually talk about the future about possibilities. They will give the big picture, usually with few details. They will talk about what things mean and how seemingly disconnected issues are really connected. Intuitive see patterns and connections.

Sensors will usually talk of current events or historical details. They will remember details such as dates, numbers, quantities, part numbers, names etc.

Listen for the amount of details and facts in the conversation. Sensors prefer facts, details... Intuitive's prefer concepts, the big picture and the reason why.

Watch the person move. If the person moves gracefully they are definitely a Sensor. If they appear naturally coordinated and good at sports, they are probably a Sensor.

If the person appears to be focused on some other time, some other place or some other subject i.e. thinking about something else, day dreaming, visualizing something other than the current reality they are probably an Intuitive.

Intuitive's spend a lot of time in their minds, so they may appear distracted, spacey, not really here at all.

Is it better to be a sensor or an Intuitive? It depends on what one is trying to accomplish. Every company needs both detail oriented people and people with the big picture. Putting a man on the moon required people who could think ahead and accurately envision the future. But without detail oriented people to make sure every last nut and bolt was tight and to make sure each and every safety precaution was observed..

They key is aligning a persons type with the particular task at hand.

In the Work Place

S's and N's can really help each other out and any team needs a good mix.

S's because they are focused on the now, on the details, and what can be seen, heard, touched and smelled, will not be thinking about the big picture nor the future. They can rely on N's for this.

N's because they are focused on future possibilities can help by explaining the future implications of any decision taken today. They can explain what various futures may look like. This vision the future can be very useful for S's.

N's will also tend to ignore current data, facts and details. S's can help N's be grounded by showing explaining to them what is happening now. They can do this with stories, data, pictures etc.

S's when solving problems may limit their view and their solutions to what they currently see. N's can add a dimension by showing S's what is possible. N's see things that are not yet there and not yet real.

A good example of S and N teamwork is between an accountant named Sam, and a marketing manager names Nick. Nick's job is to predict what products will be popular in the future. He sees the big pictute. He sees out of the box. Somer of his ideas are a bit wild.

Sam adds value by providing real data and detail on histiorical sales. Charts and graphs of past performance. Here is what sold and what did not. Here is how much your prior ideas generated. Look, some made us a lot of money. Others lost money.

This data and view into the past helps keep Nick more grounded and realistic. He can see that some of his ideas did not work while others did. He can learn from this.

How You Make Decisions and Form Opinions

Thinking preference in individuals means they are analytical, logical, objective and usually more concerned with things and ideas, rather than with people.

Feeling preference in individuals means they are more concerned with people and values than things and ideas.

This does not mean to say that Feelers do not think or that Thinkers do not feel. Please do not take these terms litterally because it will confuse you. Unfortunately there are no really good terminology that is usniversally understood. So these terms "Thinking / Thinker" and "Feeling / Feeler" are just used to help you remember the concepts.

Those with the Thinking preference appear more cold, aloof, thick skinned, insensitive and distant. They can be hard to get to know because they are always busy thinking about ideas and things.

Those with the Feeling type appear more warm, friendly, empathetic, sensitive and are easier to get to know.

Making Decisions and Forming Opinions

When confronted with an important decision, each type goes about it differently:

The Thinker will list the pros and cons, will make an objective analysis of the facts and data.

The Feeler will consider how the decision will affect others. The Feeler will see what close friends and trusted people have said or decided. The Feeler will walk a mile in someone else's shoes to see how they would feel.

The Feeler will ask "How do I feel about this?" or "Is this the right thing to do?"

By asking whether it's the right thing to do, the Feeler does a comparison with his / her internal values.

How To Persuade A Thinker or a Feeler

To convince a Thinking type you should give them data, facts, specifications etc.

To convince a Feeling type, tell them what Oprah said, or Abraham Lincoln said, or anyone else whose opinion's they trust.

Never try to persuade a Thinker by telling them what someone else thinks or says. They will be insulted because you are telling them they are not smart enough to analyze the facts and come to their own conclusion.

Never try to persuade a Feeler with lots of data, charts, facts and figures. They will look at you like you are crazy. Their brain is not wired to process that type of information. Instead tell them what a person they respect has said.

What's Important?

For Thinkers, being accurate, precise, objective and correct is crucial.

For Feelers, upholding their personal values is important i.e. being truthful, right and fair.

Telling Them Apart

Ask the person how they made a recent big decision.

The Thinker will list pros, cons, features, benefits. They will share the data they used to make the decision.

The Feeler will have trouble explaining how they made a decision. It will have involved how they feel, how other people feel, and what trusted friends and associates have said.

In terms of body language, the Feeler is more likely to give a person a hug, while the Thinker will shake hands or avoid touching altogether.

Over the phone, the Thinker will ask questions and may drill down deeply looking for facts and details. The Thinker will be sharp and to the point and may be very abrupt. The Thinker will talk about things and ideas and will usually not talk about other people unless asked to do so.

The Feeler might talk more about something that is bothering them, or bothering a close friend. They will probably talk about other people.

In the Work Place

In the work place you will have both T's and F's the ratio will depend on the type of work that is being done. If most of the work is dealing with things and ideas - science and engineering, you will see more T's.

If the work is dealing with people, a couneling business, a sales office, a doctors office you will see more F's.

In working with each other, T's need to be aware that they can appear insensitive and uncaring to F's. F's are going to be more sensitive and it will be very easy to inadvertanly hurt their feelings.

T's will be more thick skinned and will not have their feelings hurt as much.

F's may irritate T's when it comes to making decisions. F's will appear as making emotional decisions rather than decisions based on facts.

T's need to take time to appear warmer and more caring. They need to do this through talking - by saying comfortingand reasuring things to F's. They can also do this through touch if appropriate. F's like to be hugged more than T's. But everyone likes to know you care for them.

F's on the other hand should show respect for decisions the T has made that has worked out well. i.e. acknowledge their competance.

When making big decisions, F's should ask T's fore their analytical, objective analysis. T's should ask F's what they think of a decsion and how will it impact the people.

Both T's and F's contribute valuable aspects to big decisions.

How You Organize and Priotitize Your World

and HowYou Like to Live Your Life

Judgers prefer to plan things and then follow their plans.

Perceivers prefer to go with the flow and experience as much as possible.

This does not mean that Judgers are more judemental and Perceivers are more perceptive. Remember, do not take these terms litterally.

About Time

Judgers like to be on time or slightly early. Being late is absolutely not acceptable.

Perceivers believe it is OK to be a little bit late.

This difference is because each one experiences time differently.

Judgers see time in 15 minute increments that are to be used productively or wasted. Time is finite and must be used to accomplish the plan.

Perceivers see time as almost being infinite. There will always be more time. Time is used to experience new things. Experience is what counts. Time itself is not important.

Thus, don't bother trying to get a Perciever to always be on time. They can't help it and quite frankly being on time to work, school, meetings or to turn in a project on time is not important to a Perceiver.

On the other hand, never be late when meeting with a Judger or turning in a project to a Judger. They will be upset and insulted.

The brains of Judgers are constantly making decisions, whether decisions are required or not. Judgers can not stop making deicions. This partially explains why they are so comfortable making decisions. It may also explain why Judgers are frequently seen as being too judgemental and too opinionated.

Percievers on the otherhand prefer to postpone making decisions in case more new information comes in. The brains of Percievers are constanly craving more new experiences.

Judgers frequently set goals, objectives and deadlines for themselves. Percievers on the otherhand will avoid deadlines if they can.

When it comes to getting projects done on time, Judgers will start well ahead of time but Percievers may wait until the last minute.

Telling Them Apart

Judgers will pay more attention to how well they are groomed and dressed. Shirt tucked in, shoes polished, every hair in it's place, tie straight and tight with collar buttoned.

Perceivers don't mind a lack of neatness as long as the overall effect is pleasing. Hair may be un kept, clothes wrinkled, tie all over the place, shoes untied.

If you can observe their work area the Judger will have everything in it's place. There will be a well organized filing system. There may be piles of paper, but they are temporary, usually awaiting filing.

The Perceiver will have piles of paper, either on the desk, or hidden away. Boxes and grocery bags are used for the filing system.

In terms of body language there is a distinct difference. The Judger will walk forcefully at a rapid pace trying to get from here to there as efficiently as possible. Don't step in front of them, they are on a mission. You might get run over.

The Perceiver will mosey on over. They want to enjoy the experience of getting from here to there so they will take their time, walking slowly. If anything worth experiencing comes up, they will stop and check it out.

In the Office

In the office both J's and P's can do amazing work and achieve wonderful results. However their styles and approaches are so different, they must be managed differently and utilized differently or you will have disaster.

In particular, the expectations you have of J's and P's needs to be handled ....

If you find that one person in your office or on your team tends to frustrate you, but you still really like and appreciate them, then you may have opposites.

When a J is trying to manage or work with a P, the J will frequently be dissapointed with the P for these things:

The P may frequently be late for important meetings and events causing excrutiating embarassment to the J

The P may wait thill the very last minute to do a project. This drives J's crazy as they need to see results every 15 minutes.

The P's although extremely competitnt in their field may not provide the forceful leadership and drive that J's expect.

When a P is working for a J, they will see the J as a micromanager. Checking in way too often, looking for results way too soon. The J does not think of this as micromanageing. He / She is just doing good followup.

While many J's have a natural ability to manage and lead, many P's prefer not to have to manage other people. However, since managers make more money, P's will still go for those jobs.

In one clients office, the manager was a J Mark but one of his top people was a P Rich. They constantly rubbed each other the wrong way. Rich was definately a strong P. He would show up late for many meetings, not out ofd disrespect but because he was fully engaged in experienceing somethign at the time.

Mark the J would constanly have to remind Rich the P to make sure he showed up on time for tomarrows meeting because important people wold be there. Invariablly Rich would show up a few minutes late. Whem it came to getting projects done, Rich would drive Mark nuts. There would be no measurable progress right up until the deadline. Mark the J would begin to get concerned that the deadline would be missed. Invariably, Rich would complete the project by staying up all night. The work was frequently brilliant and very creative. Unfortunately sometimes the work was wasy off target and not what Mark was expecting. But all the time had been used up.

It wasn't until we counseled this teram that Mike realized his expectations that P would show yup on time and turn projects in on time were unrealistic. It was never going to happen.

When a P has a J reporting to them, the P is easy going and goes with the flow. P's don't micromanage.

The J may upset his supervior P by always pushing for and demanding decisions. Remember P's avoid making decisions until the last minute if they can. J's will compain that their boss can't make a decision.

The P type boss may see the J as too rigid, too judgemental. The P boss may complain that the J makes decisions way too early before all the data is in. The J may be percieved as being overly critical of others, or too bossy.

In one office, Rick was the P type boss and Mike was the J type employee.

Mike always thought his boss could not make decisions even if you held a gun to his head. Mike noticed that if some other bigshot in the company said something.

Rick the P had to frequenly coach Mike the J to be patient. To look for other solutions. To not be so pushy with others.

Diversity is a Good Thing

P's would be advised to build their staff will at least a few strong J types and vice versa.

If you have a P type supervisor with a staff of all P types, you have the makings for disaster.

Mix it up. Have a variety.

On the surface, J's find it easier to work with other J's and P's find it easier to work with other P's.

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