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Myers Briggs Personality Type Theory - How to deal with conflict in the workplace

Updated on November 12, 2012

What is Myers Briggs Personality Indicator?

The Myers Briggs Personality Indicator (MBTI) was developed over several years by Myers and Briggs from Carl G. Jung's theory of psychological Type.

Many organizations offer their employees the opportunity to undertake the MBTI and when the tool is used properly it can be effective for team building and developing appreciation of differences within the workforce by employees, bosses and senior management.

The MBTI supports individuals in their preferences - how they are expressed in behaviours, learning, educational and communication styles.

Myers Briggs and Conlict Resolution

The MBTI is a structured instrument that offers insight into how we as individuals prefer to engage with our world and others in it, how we take in information and communicate that information to others.

"It is fashionable to say that the individual is unique. Each is the product of his or her own heredity and environment and therefore, is different from everyone else. From a practical standpoint, however, the doctrine of uniqueness is not useful without an exhaustive case study of every person to be edcated or counselled or understood.....

The merit of the theory presented here is that it enables us to expect specific personality differences in particular people and to cope with the people and the differeces in a constructive way. Briefly, the theory is that such seemingly chance variation in human behaviour is not due to chance; it is in fact the logical result of a few basic, observable dfferences in mental functioning ." I.B.Myers from Gifts Differing.

The MBTI scores participants based on how they respond to questions and offers them acurate information aout the meaning and interpreation of their results. MBTI is not a test it is an indicator of personal preference and supports the preferences as a continuum. Neither preference score is wrong. It just is.

For all business organizations, families and educational establishments the health of the unit and the relationships between the individuals in each of these different places will be affected by the behaviours and preference styles of the individual members.

For example, in a family, where three members have E S T J strong preferences the fourth member who has I I F P preferences may feel and be perceived as not fitting in, different and difficult to understand and communicate with. That can and does lead to family dysfunction and rifts in relationship. This same pattern occurs in both large and small organizations and in the classroom.

However, when the preferences and differences are understood and valued the family, professional or educational relationship will positively improve. Disgareements that were there before will be resolved by understanding type and how to communicate more effectively between the preference types.

As a personal example I am an ENFJ - although my E and my I score have alternated as my life has changed, NFJ is consistent. A few years ago, before I took MBTI Training, I worked with a woman for whom I had a lot of resepct and yet we just couldn't seem to get along. I seemed to irritate her when I spoke and the more I tried to develop the relationship the worse it became. During the MBTI Training I had an aha moment. The colleague was also an E but her preferences in communication, taking information and perceptions were E S T J.

Simply put, my communication style based in intuition and feeling did not make sense to her. Her preferences were sensing and thinking. Once I understood this I was able to accommodate how I presented information to her and discussed clients and concerns. Our relationship improved and we even became lunch buddies once a week.

Is the MBTI Right for You?

If you have taken the MBTI it is important that it was administered or de-briefed by a trained professional and that you were not under duress to participate. If you have taken the MBTI but are not using or do not understand/agree with the score consider consulting with me ( or another professional who has this training to help you. If you have not taken the MBTI you may find it a useful tool to understand how your preferred mental processes work together to provide you with balance.

The MBTI is very helpful when you are feeling out of balance, are considering changing something in your life that is significant or if the relationship you have with others, including family and co-workers is challenging.

There is a free on-line test offered by humanetrics. Whilst this can be a good test to do in your own time the value of the MBTI lies in the application of the instrument and how to fully understand the characteristics associated with each type. For a more in depth look at type and how to use it effectively either contact myself or another trained MBTI professonal. I offer on-line consultations via skype. For the free test go


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    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I have never heard of this particular personality measurement. Finding people who work will work together well in a team environment does indeed seem better than just using something like an IQ test to find the smartest people in the room. Great hub.

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 5 years ago from Victoria BC

      Thank you seeker 7. I really like the tool for professional and personal interactions.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Very interesting hub. It's the first time I've heard of the MBTI. I think in my previous workplace, this would have been a very benefical tool for the managers and the other employees.

      Great hub + voted up!