The MBTI, a tool that encourages diversity

The MBTI provides insight into personal preferences and how this manifests itself in daily practice, and is very effective in among other things creating insight and awareness of one’s own qualities and pitfalls, appreciating and learning to work with individual differences, making optimal use of talent, promoting teamwork and communication and creating understanding, openness and trust.


Early mid-20th century in the United States, Katharine Briggs was inspired to research personality type theory when she met the future husband of her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. She noticed he had a different way of seeing the world. This intrigued her enough to start a literature review to understand different temperaments. Carl Gustav Jung published Psychological Types in 1921. Briggs read the English translation and saw similarities between their ideas.

As World War II plucked many men from US soil and dropped them on the front lines, women world-wide were flung into the workforce, many of them for the first time. Myers believed that if people understood each other better, they’d work together better and there’d be less conflict. She was determined to find a way to give people access to their psychological type. This led to the idea of a type indicator.

Today, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most widely used and recognized personality tool in the world, around two million people complete it every year.

Why knowing your personality type is critical to an inclusive and growth mindset

Fostering an “inclusive and growth mindset” is fundamental to success, both for individuals and organizations. Self-awareness offers a benchmark for this diversity and growth mindset. MBTI assessment is one of the quickest and most powerful ways to gain self-awareness.

Eight personality preferences people use at different times

The MBTI instrument provides a versatile measure of personality that looks at eight personality preferences people use at different times.

Introversion/Extraversion: do we tend to focus attention on the outside world of people and activity (extraversion) or the inner world of thoughts and feelings (introversion)?

Sensing/Intuition: is our first instinct to trust information gathered through the five senses (sensing) or on more abstract focus on patterns and possibilities (intuition)?

Thinking/Feeling: is our natural inclination to base our decisions on objective logic (thinking) or on our values and priorities (feeling)?

Judging/Perceiving: do we prefer to remain decisive and in control (judging) or do we like to keep our options open and remain spontaneous and flexible (perceiving)?

A case for diversity: Introversion/ Extraversion and the brainstorm

The way a person is inclined to participate in a brainstorm is highly influenced by their preference for either extraversion or introversion.  Those who prefer introversion like to think things through to understand them, guard their thoughts until they are (almost) perfect and, often, like to stay in the background.

If you prefer introversion, you may not realize why you don’t like to brainstorm with others. But if you understand that this discomfort is a function of personality preference, you can develop techniques for working around the more difficult parts. On the other hand, those who prefer extraversion tend to like talking things over to understand them, prefer spoken communication over written communication, share their thoughts freely and find it easy to put themselves in the foreground. At first blush, it seems like these would all be advantageous inclinations in a brainstorm. However, consider the ill-will that might be generated if your colleagues view you as perpetually “talking over” them.

Imagine that you are a new manager of a team, and you need to get the feedback of everyone in a group. You might be tempted to (incorrectly) interpret the silence of some team members to mean that they don’t have any ideas.

After all, that’s what you do when you don’t have input, right? But if you are aware of your own tendencies and those of your colleagues, you can change your behavior to grow in new directions.

The self-awareness of one’s personality preferences facilitates a diversity and growth mindset

If we can pinpoint where we need to grow and understand where our natural personality preferences may be holding us back, we can chart a more effective course for progress.

As a certified MBTI practitioner, each new employee at Serviceplan takes the test with me individually or during a team building. It is always a very interesting moment for all the parties to get to know each other better, but also a way of creating more efficient teams, which appreciate the complementarity in difference, and which manages conflicts better.

Nancy Delhalle
INTJ, CMO & MBTI practitioner level II

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