In recent years, employee satisfaction and fulfillment have come to the forefront as issues of vast importance in the workforce. Companies have finally realized that their bottom dollar increases when employees feel valued, have proper benefits, and are allowed to work in a way that produces a feeling of personal accomplishment. A huge part of keeping your best employees feeling satisfied and productive is to structure their work environment (as much as possible) in a way that caters to their particular personalities and strengths.
A good manager knows that every employee is different—they all have different wants, needs, strengths, and weaknesses to bring to the table. Not to mention, each employee will communicate differently, learn differently, and accept criticism differently. Understanding Myers-Briggs personality types can help supervisors recognize the differences between employees and adapt the work environment accordingly.
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What is the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator?
The Myers-Briggs personality test can be a great tool to get to know your employees a bit better. The personality assessment was created by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. Their assessment is based on Dr. Carl Jung’s Theory of Psychological Types. While there are several great personality tests out there, the MBTI, which we will call it from on, is one of the most well-respected and widely used.
Katharine Briggs started studying personalities in the early 1900s, but during WWII, the mother-daughter duo decided an understanding of basic personalities and their strengths would help women, who were joining the industrial workforce, choose their first career. Brilliant idea ladies! They worked on their theories and tested them on everyone they could for the next twenty years until, finally, they were ready to publish. Sixty years later, we are still using their assessment, and it has changed the workforce immensely.
While heavily utilized and respected, MBTI is not without its detractors. Many psychologists say that Myers-Briggs should never be used as a hiring tool in solidarity. It is great for obtaining a general understanding of a person, but most people do not fit solely into one category and will exhibit traits from several personality types. Not to mention that personality assessments are filled out by the person in question, therefore, they are often skewed by the person’s perception of themself.
How Does the MBTI Work?
According to the MBTI, there are 16 different personality types or sociotypes, based on Jung’s theory of four dichotomies.
Extroverted vs. Introverted – Extroverted individuals suck energy from others. They feel recharged after being around people. Introverts tend to feel exhausted after long periods with people and need time alone to recharge.
Sensory vs. Intuitive – This category has to do with how people gather valuable information. Sensory individuals rely on their five senses, while Intuitive individuals rely on their intuition and consider it to be a more accurate indicator of useful information.
Thinking vs. Feeling – Thinking individuals make decisions based on objective and verifiable data while Feeling individuals make decisions based on how it makes them and others feel.
Judging vs. Perceiving – Judging individuals make quick decisions and stick to them while perceiving individuals like to keep their options open and see what happens.
The test is composed of 93 forced-answer questions in the US (88 in Europe and other nations). At the end of the questionnaire, the person will be placed in one of 16 sociotypes. The 16 personality types are composed of 4 letters each, one from each of the previously mentioned four categories. For instance, someone who tests as extroverted, sensory, thinking, and perceiving, would be an ESTP. Each type also has a “nickname” of sorts that sums up their dominant personality trait. The ESTP is known as the Visionary or the Persuader. You may notice, depending on which version of the test you use, or which commentator you read, that the names vary slightly. Okay, now that we have explored why Myers-Briggs is useful in the workplace and how it works, let’s get to each of the 16 types and what strengths they bring to the table!
Strengths of Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type
While each personality type has its strengths and weaknesses, for the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on the strengths. Every personality type brings something special to the table and having a combination of each creates a work environment that is not only diverse and well-rounded but super-efficient. Let’s start with the introverts.
The Inspector (ISTJ)
The first of our 16 is the Inspector. The Inspector brings reliability and resourcefulness to the table. They are calm under pressure and extremely organized. Inspectors highly value honor and being true to their word. So, you can trust them to do what they say they will do. Inspectors value their time and yours and will likely always turn in assignments on time, or even early. They are efficient, tidy, and respectful. Other employees often admire them for their work ethic. Inspectors are great for team dynamics because they keep everything running smoothly, and they do it in a quiet, nonabrasive way.
The Artist (ISFP)
Artists are down-to-earth and prefer to work alone, due to their dominant introversion trait. However, they are usually very personable and charming. They are generally artistic, spontaneous, and cheery. They bring a creative and calming spirit to the team and will almost always produce excellent work, as they are natural perfectionists. They will not cause confrontation and will likely act as a calming force for other more confrontational personalities. Though they have their best ideas when working alone, Artists are generally good collaborators, especially in small groups.
The Nurturer or The Defender (ISFJ)
The Defender is extremely reserved and careful in their words and deeds. They are highly organized and bring a quiet systemization to team projects. Their eye for detail and habitual behavior make them incredible team members, as everyone knows exactly what to expect from them, and they notice small things that may be out of place that others don’t notice. Defenders are always concerned about the needs of others, sometimes to the detriment of their own needs. They are punctual, produce excellent work without complaint, and are caring team members.
The Craftsman (ISTP)
The Craftsman is a technical whizz kid. They are extremely independent, generally value their own ideas above others, and like to do their own thing. While that might not sound like a strength at first, it can be harnessed and used effectively in a team dynamic. Once given a job, the ISTP will figure out the most efficient solution and execute it quickly. They like to get things done now and enjoy a challenge. So, you can toss your most difficult conundrums at them, then step back, and watch the magic happen. ISTPs are not quite as predictable as some other personality types. Some Craftsmen are rational, while others are really spontaneous and a bit impulsive. They don’t need to be micromanaged, and you definitely don’t want to hold up their progress. Craftsmen make a great pairing with a Visionary (discussed later). If you can dream the dream, the Craftsman can bring it fruition.
The Thinker (INTP)
Thinkers are so reserved that they may seem boring. They are anything but! The fact is that the world inside their imagination is far more colorful and interesting than the outside world. Thinkers are nothing short of ingenious. They excel in abstract thought, are logical, and are great problem solvers. They bring a unique perspective to the team and often see solutions immediately that others can’t find. They are often experts in the field of their choice and are an encyclopedia of knowledge, just waiting to be opened. They are direct and honest communicators. Thinkers are likely to come up with multiple ways to handle a situation, as they are perceivers and do not tend to commit to final solutions or strict answers. They like to keep their options open, which is great for the workplace because they are flexible and open.
The Counselor (INFJ)
The Counselor personality fits its name perfectly. They are always looking for meaning in life and never miss a chance to dig deeper. Counselors bring creativity and interconnectedness to a team. They are empathetic and are often a sounding board for other team members. Counselors are great with challenging projects and perform the supporting role perfectly. An INFJ generally thinks about things that other personalities miss because their focus is on others and not themselves or the project goals. Counselors have a way of making everyone feel valued, which keeps the environment peaceful and productive. When working with a Counselor, other sociotypes feel empowered to go out on a limb, present the big idea, or think out of the box, because the Counselor will encourage and support them.
The Mastermind (INTJ)
The Mastermind is quiet and reserved as well, to the point that they may seem aloof, much like the thinker. However, they tend to be more rigid in their decision-making. While Thinkers love to ponder all the possibilities, Masterminds are much more likely to find the most efficient solution and get right to enacting it. Masterminds are great to have on your team because they can solve problems that no one else can. Their worldview includes striving for a deeper understanding of why things are the way they are. Their amazing minds find connections that most overlook. Their communication style is direct and to the point. The INTJ have very high-performance standards for themselves and others. They value knowledge and competence and generally produce top-quality work. They don’t need much in the way of management, just space to think.
The Mediator or Idealist (INFP)
Introverted, intuitive, perceptive individuals, INFPs are true idealists. Idealists focus on improving the world at large and the environments around them. They make great mediators as they have everyone’s best interest at heart. They are creative and are excellent at performing tasks alone. They are humble and form few, but strong, relationships. Idealists are great for the work environment because they can see the big picture. They are great at dreaming up big plans and are quietly fierce in their beliefs that this world can be a better place, and that they have a part to play in it.
Alright, that is it for the introverts. While often overlooked, due to their propensity for being alone, introverts are a valuable asset to any team, as they see the world differently and are able to dive deep within themselves to find answers to problems that extroverts can’t see. Introverts are often calm to the storm and are invaluable in creating an environment of peace. Now, on to the extroverts!
The Giver/Teacher (ENFJ)
Givers live in their own world! They are creative, free-thinkers, that also happen to be highly driven. They generally operate under a strict ethical code, so you always know where they stand. Givers are natural leaders and are very empathetic. They have great intuition and are usually organized, which can be rare in individuals with extreme extroversion. Givers are genuinely concerned with the greater good. They are great communicators and very good for group comradery! They are confident. However, they are obsessed with seeing others succeed. So, their enthusiasm is not only contagious but benefits the whole.
The Performer (ESFP)
Performers are natural entertainers. The stage is their home, and they are most comfortable in the spotlight! ESFPs are consummate leaders. They are generous and great friends. They love to learn and love to teach their knowledge to others. Performers are generally liked by most people. They bring enthusiasm and encouragement to the work arena and have an overall positive mentality.
The Champion (ENFP)
The Champion is very similar to the Performer. They are energetic and creative. Champions are adventurers and are interested in a variety of hobbies. They are assets to a team because they are extremely concerned with the inclusivity of everyone. They are “champions” of others, as their name suggests. They are great for bouncing ideas off of, as they are creative and encouraging, genuinely wanting teammates to succeed.
The Commander (ENTJ)
Commanders are natural leaders! They are logical, rational, and are great at anticipating future issues. Commanders are extremely autonomous and are assertive decision-makers. They are confident and perform tasks with excellence. Commanders actually find it hard to be in any other position but the lead. They are essential in the workplace because they keep everyone else in line. An ENTJ will ensure that everyone knows their tasks and stays on track. While too many Commanders in one arena is bad news, every work environment can benefit from one or two!
The Visionary (ENTP)
The Visionary is an invaluable personality for most any team. While they are logical and skilled at problem-solving, Visionaries are innovative and always looking to the future. They have big ideas, and nothing seems impossible. While they may not be able to stay focused long enough to carry out the details of the plan, they are great at dreaming up the initial vision. Watching them confidently and enthusiastically solve the hardest problems,in an imaginative way, that no one else could come up with, is both fun and mind-blowing. Pair the mind of a Visionary, with the technical skills of the Craftsman, and the organized resourcefulness of the Inspector, and you have one serious ”A-Team.”
The Provider (ESFJ)
Providers are otherwise grown as Caregivers. Providers are concerned with the emotional being of everyone around them. They function best in groups and bring a natural likeability. They are encouragers and are fun to be around. Providers are great in the here and now, focusing on practical jobs and getting them done with gusto. Unlike a few of their extroverted neighbors, Providers are sticklers for rules and structure. They function well under structured processes and are an overall asset to most teams. They are skilled at face-to-face communication too, which is an advantage when working in a group setting.
The Doer (ESTP)
The Doer comes in like a whirlwind. Life is fleeting, and they have no time to waste. Doers are typically creative, enthusiastic, and concerned about right now! They thrive in a big group and are highly adaptable to quickly changing environments. They are quick on their feet and get the job done! They may tend to overlook rules if they get in the way of progress, and they can be a bit impulsive. Though they are extremely goal-driven, they generally bring an air of easy living to tense situations, which makes them a valuable asset to any team.
The Supervisor (ESTJ)
Time to shape up, the Supervisor is here! The textbook Type A personality, the Supervisor is in control. They are dedicated, dignified, and highly organized. Supervisors rarely if ever break the rules, no matter what, and they usually have incredible work ethic. Supervisors work well with a set of instructions or processes. They will get the job done efficiently and exactly as requested. While they can seem a bit of a bore, coworkers often value them for their upstanding character and reliability. Their strong sense of discipline and need to do things correctly make them good team leaders, as they will ensure that your project has some order and that everyone stays on task.
While it is rare for a person to fall solely into any one of Myers-Briggs personality types, or exhibit all of the traits of a particular classification, MBTI assessments can help you to get a baseline understanding of your employees and coworkers. You’ll most likely need to make adjustments to fully tap the potential of each employee. However, learning to build teams, assign tasks, and make pairings based on workers’ strengths can greatly increase your overall productivity.
The right partnerships, and the right people doing the right tasks, not only increases employee satisfaction but efficiency, and ultimately the bottom dollar. Taking a bit of time to thoroughly assess your people can ultimately lead to long-lasting work relationships that are happy, healthy, and produce excellent work. These outcomes are certainly worth a little extra effort in the beginning.
While the Myers-Briggs test is an important asset to the work environment, it is not the only trend that can improve team dynamics. For more ideas, check out these Workplace Trends That Are Shaping Our Modern Lives. And as you’re looking to improve overall morale and your corporate environment, it might be helpful to learn how to deal with stress in the workplace.
We hope that the information we provide helps you to create an environment that decreases stress not only for yourself but for others around you. If you’ve implemented any of our suggestions, be sure to let us know in the comment section!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to assess personality types in the workplace?
Much of our modern work processes involve working in teams. Building a team with a variety of personality types increases efficiency and produces high-quality outcomes.
Is Myers-Briggs good to use for workplace assessments?
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a great tool for getting to know your employees’ traits and strengths so you can try to plan projects accordingly.
How can I increase team unity in my workplace?
Try a personality assessment, like the MBTI, to assess workers’ personality types and create teams that will work well together. Team building activities are also a great way to improve camaraderie.