So, what is the MBTI? The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality assessment tool. What is it used for? It is used for self-improvement and HR purposes mostly.
Isabel Briggs-Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs, founders of the MBTI, considered 4 different ways to make decisions and 4 different ways to gather information. They based their personality theory on the works of the analytical psychologist, C.G. Jung. They called these ways of thinking “cognitive functions”. People mainly use 4 cognitive functions, in a certain order, which makes them a certain personality type. According to the Myers-Briggs personality theory, there are 16 different personality types.
Using the MBTI results can help improve communication and self-understanding. Recruiters often use them to create balanced teams and to position people in roles where they can grow.
The Myers-Brigs Type Indicator measures 4 things
The MBTI is not the theory, it’s the tool. However, MBTI and “Myers-Briggs personality theory” are often used interchangeably. How does it work? Usually one takes the test, then an expert discusses the results with you, as the MBTI is only an “indicator” of how you make decisions and gather information. In other words, the MBTI doesn’t put you in a box forever. It indicates how your mind likes to function and this way, it can help you grow.
If the MBTI helps assess what type you are. The Myers-Briggs personality theory explains how and why the Myers-Briggs mother-daughter duo determined 16 personality types.
The MBTI measures…
- 4 different ways to make decisions (known as judging functions). What is important to you when you make a decision? The 4 “judging” functions explain this.
- 4 different approaches to gathering information (known as perceiving functions). What does your brain think is important when you look around? People don’t pick up on the same things. Again, the 4 perceiving functions are an answer to what you prefer to see.
Everyone is able to use all the different processes of thinking mentioned above. However, we have our 4 favorite ones, in a certain order. Determining which approaches we prefer to use and in what order makes us a certain “personality type”.
The MBTI doesn't tell you who you are
In other words, the MBTI does not determine your personality per se. A.k.a. it doesn’t assess your identity; if you are “kind, smart, respectful, or petty”; or again what you like, what you are thinking, what your culture is, what you can or cannot do in life. It describes thinking processes you use in your everyday life.
The thinking processes described are based on C.G. Jung’s theory on psychological types, which belongs to the field of analytical psychology. People who use the MBTI without any knowledge of analytical psychology will struggle to understand how the MBTI truly works.
Many criticisms of the MBTI come from people who don’t know that the MBTI is to be used with certain background knowledge.
You can start learning now! That might be the reason why you’re here. Welcome 🙂
What is the MBTI used for?
The MBTI enables you to understand yourself better. It put words on how your mind works. You can use this information for self-improvement and better self-care. Also, having a better understanding of oneself and how others function can highly improve your communication with the outside world.
By revealing how you process information and make decisions, the MBTI can reveal if you’re stuck in one way of thinking and could develop another to help you see new perspectives and work on your weaknesses.
However, if you are looking for a tool to tell you who you are, especially in an “objective” and “scientific” way… It doesn’t exist. The MBTI can help you, though, improve some of your strengths and weaknesses and your relationship with others.
Even if the MBTI doesn’t tell you who you are, it is considered a personality theory. It assesses subjective traits (not all the personality traits that exist in the world, but specific ones defined by the MBTI creators) which help understand someone’s actions and reactions. That is in itself an indicator of someone’s personality. Every personality theory can only assess certain traits. They all have limits.
Learn more about the MBTI
Why do recruiters and therapists love the MBTI? Understand the theory itself. Check out this article.
If you want to learn more about the limits of the MBTI and what it is not, stay tuned and subscribe. I’ll tell you more about it soon.
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