Myers-Briggs: 3 Things It Is and Is Not

MBTI® (Myers-Briggs): 3 Things It Is and Is Not

Co-Authored By Emily Tevault, MBA and Neale Edwards, BA(Hons), MCIPD

Emily and Neale





A valuable part of your intentional growth journey is to develop self-awareness. It helps you identify opportunities to stretch out of your comfort zone and grow. Becoming self-aware requires you to understand your behavioral preferences. One tool is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®), and Co-Author, Neale Edwards is a MBTI® Practitioner and Coach. MBTI® is an assessment developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Briggs based on the work of Carl Jung. It determines your behavioral preferences based on four (4) preferences pairs:

  1. Focusing Attention and Getting Energy (Extraversion or Introversion)
  2. Taking in Information (Sensing or INtuition)
  3. Making Decisions (Thinking or Feeling)
  4. Dealing with the Outer World (Judging or Perceiving)

Do you think a MBTI® Assessment is only about figuring out your four (4) behavior preference letters? Once you learn a little bit about each letter, do you decide the 4 letters of each of your friends and family? When your colleagues react a certain way, do you assume it is because they are an ENTJ or an ISFP? The MBTI® Assessment can provide incredible value to you and your organization. In order to be an effective tool, it is important to understand MBTI®’s intended use and how it is not to be used.

What Is MBTI®?

  1. Understanding – MBTI® is a nonjudgmental tool that identifies your behavioral preferences to provide you with a better understanding of yourself and how you interact with others. It assists you with valuing all personality types and the strengths of each preference.
  2. Awareness – Understanding why you feel or react a certain way under stress, in a leadership role, or in a conflict provides you with an increased awareness of yourself so you can make intentional decisions about how you approach situations.
  3. Opportunity – The MBTI® report you review with your MBTI® Coach after you complete the assessment provides you with opportunities for growth that can improve your communication skills, strengthen your relationships and increase your contributions in a team, project setting and personal relationships.

 What MBTI® Is Not

  1. Hiring Tool – MBTI® identifies a person’s preferences, not experience and skills. It is not meant to be used as a tool to determine if you should hire a candidate for a position.
  2. Guarantee – Although MBTI® indicates your preferences, it is not a guarantee you will choose to use them. Circumstances call for you to use different behavioral types. The assessment only indicates which preferences are more natural and comfortable for you, not that you have to always use them in every situation.
  3. Label – Knowing someone else’s behavioral preferences does not mean you can stereotype that person. You cannot assume they are always going to react that way, because they are an “E.” You do not know the degree to which a person is an “E” or an “I.” With focus and attention, a person can choose to use different preference types.

Participating in a MBTI® Assessment provides you with an awareness of your preferences, an understanding of the strengths of each preference, and identifies opportunities for intentional growth. Gain the most value from an MBTI® Assessment by understanding what MBTI® is and is not.

What is the top reason you would participate in an MBTI® Assessment for your intentional growth? Share your thoughts and experiences, join the conversation below.

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