Team Effectiveness and the MBTI

Sep 4 2015

In many teams, effectiveness and coherence are restricted because team members don't understand or are irritated by the behaviours of others. Collaboration and coordination suffer
through this lack of mutual understanding.

The MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), which is presently the most widely-used psychometric assessment in the world, offers teams and workgroups an avenue to improving the way they work together. It is based on the insights of C.G. Jung, developed from the further rsearch of Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers.

The MBTI provides insights into patterns of behaviour that we tend otherwise not to notice. C.G. Jung remarked that “People are the same in different ways and different in the same ways,” but we are often not consciously aware of these differences and similarities.
What we notice is that we can more easily build rapport with some people, because in important ways they are 'like us', and that other people seem to be more difficult to understand and get on with. The MBTI helps us to not only recognise but also appreciate these variations. When we accept the different strengths that a varied group of people brings to our team, team relationships improve and team members learn how to get the best from each other.

MBTI and Teams

The MBTI is important as:

1. A useful way of understanding human behaviour and difference;
2. An aide to greater self-awareness;
3. A set of guidelines that can help us to understand and influence other people;
4. An insight way to view into our own, and other people’s, stress reactions;
5. A useful way to view and manage team behaviours.

Our preferences are almost certainly genetic, but are then modified by life experience and learning. They generally follow a predictable development path throughout life. We learn from the MBTI not only how we may become wiser as we mature, but also why we lose control in such predictable ways!

Many people have 'done' MBTI! However, very few people are taught it well enough for it to be a useful tool for team functioning or leadership influence. At FutureShape Consulting, we go far beyond the simple explanation of 4-letter type, and use powerful interactive activities to ensure that our clients acquire an enduring understanding of type difference and what it means for them.

It's important to be aware that the MBTI is an instrument for describing preferences, not behaviours. None of us is limited by our preferences unless we choose to be. We can all learn the behaviours we need to be effective. This means that, while MBTI it is a powerful tool for identifying and understanding patterns of preferences, it is not intended as, and should not be used as, a tool for labelling people or identifying limits to their capacity.

Rob Stones conducts Myers Briggs Type Indicator Training Sydney.