The short answer: Absolutely. The insights from one’s Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) and its associated reports can benefit nearly every aspect of one’s professional and personal life, from improving interpersonal relationships to optimizing career choices to improving job satisfaction and beyond!
Let’s look at how the MBTI can be useful in different walks of life.
How can the MBTI be used?
The purpose of the MBTI Assessment and analysis is to provide a framework for understanding one’s own and others’ personalities as well as how people perceive each other. The MBTI® also provides a common language for discussing similarities and differences in personality. It offers a means of highlighting strengths, drawing attention to blind spots, and reducing conflict. Insights from the MBTI® apply to many aspects of personal and professional development, including but not limited to choosing a career, improving communication, strengthening team building initiatives, managing stress, streamlining change implementation and management, optimizing leadership development improving project management, and even making academic decisions. Moreover, the MBTI’s reports provide strategies for individuals and teams to identify and develop areas of growth.
How is the MBTI used for specific purposes?
People use MBTI insights in different ways depending on their contexts and goals. The following discussion examines a few common applications of the MBTI.
Most of life is communication. People communicate almost every waking moment, from interacting with family, friends, and roommates at home, to meeting with co-workers, supervisors, customers, and clients at work, and everywhere in between. The MBTI can enhance interpersonal communication skills in both professional and personal settings. Its insights can shed light on one’s communication style as well as others’ interpretation of it. In addition, the MBTI can increase one’s understanding of how others express themselves and even possible ways they might misunderstand others’ intentions. Most of the time, these subtleties of communication are unconscious and go unnoticed until they create conflict. The MBTI’s analysis makes sources of potential tension explicit, which gives people the tools they need to prevent conflict before it emerges.
Example 1 Processing Information: One common source of misunderstandings is that extroverts tend to process information through conversation while introverts more often process independently through introspection. An extrovert may want to talk through a problem immediately, while an introvert may need time for research and reflection. If each party were aware of the other’s personality type, then they could consider one another’s needs without tension or conflict.
Example 2 Giving Feedback: The MBTI is also commonly used to improve how people give and receive feedback. Some people are more likely to offer corrective feedback, while others are more comfortable making positive observations. People also respond to feedback differently. Some may feel uncomfortable with effusive praise, while others may get defensive if they think they are being criticized. MBTI insights can help those giving feedback maximize reception and impact by personalizing what comments they make and how they are presented to the needs of the person with whom they are speaking. At the same time, MBTI can increase awareness of how one responds to feedback, preventing emotional reactions and sparking follow-up conversations.
Example 3 Preventing and Resolving Conflict: Communication breakdowns often cause conflict, especially in high-stakes, stressful situations that involve people with different MBTI types. These conflicts can be costly in terms of interpersonal relationships and wasted time, energy, and resources that directly impact organizations’ bottom line. When properly applied, MBTI insights can prevent conflicts by increasing awareness of one’s own and others’ MBTI types. In cases where a conflict is already underway, understanding personality can help all parties reach a mutually beneficial resolution.
Leaders have multiple, complex responsibilities that interact to ensure the success of their teams and organizations. They need to be able to assess complicated situations, make reasonable decisions even with incomplete information, communicate and assign specific tasks, build strong professional relationships, and more. Learning how type shapes leadership tendencies can help highlight strengths, identify weaknesses, and draw attention to areas of growth or new behaviors that could significantly impact team outcomes. Moreover, the MBTI analysis can provide a plan with action steps for improving leadership while staying true to oneself.
The MBTI can significantly improve how teams function since it helps teams identify the changes that will have the biggest impact. Professional teams need to complete complicated projects on tight timelines and have limited additional resources to spend improving operations. The MBTI removes the guesswork and provides actionable insights for building trust, a common language for discussing and resolving differences, and helping team members align tasks with their MBTI preferences. It even offers tips for resolving conflicts and reducing stress among team members with different personality types.
While MBTI does not control one’s career prospects per se, people with certain personality types are likely to be drawn to certain careers. For example, extroverted individuals are more likely to be salespeople than laboratory researchers. As such, examining one’s MBTI is an excellent place to start a job search, whether one is choosing a starting career or considering a change later in life. Similarly, MBTI can help overcome challenges and improve one’s current job satisfaction. For example, MBTI analyses can provide strategies for reducing stress, managing change, and even approaching negotiations for promotions or salary increases.