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Your people are your most important assets. Identifying their strengths and weaknesses is vital to the success of your business.
Myers-Briggs theory is an adaptation of the theory of psychological types produced by Carl Gustav Jung. It is based on 16 personality types, which Jung viewed as stereotypes (Jung 1921, p. 405). They act as useful reference points to understand your unique personality (Jung 1957, p. 304). At the heart of Myers Briggs theory are four preferences.
(Extraversion or “E”), or ideas and information (Introversion or “I”).
(Sensing or “S”), or possibilities and potential (Intuition or “N”).
(Thinking or “T”), or values and relationships (Feeling or “F”).
(Judgment or “J”), or one that goes with the flow (Perception or “P”).
In Myers Briggs theory, for each pair you prefer one style more than the other. Jung also allowed a middle group where you like an equal balance of the two. You combine the letters associated with your preferences to get your Myers Briggs personality type. For example, having preferences for E, S, T and J gives a personality type of ESTJ. Although you have preferences, you still use all eight styles – in the same way that most people are right-handed but they still use both hands.
The first pair of styles is concerned with the direction of your energy. If you prefer to direct your energy to deal with people, things, situations, or “the outer world”, then your preference is for Extraversion. If you prefer to direct your energy to deal with ideas, information, explanations or beliefs, or “the inner world”, then your preference is for Introversion.
The second pair concerns the type of information/things that you process. If you prefer to deal with facts, what you know, to have clarity, or to describe what you see, then your preference is for Sensing. If you prefer to deal with ideas, look into the unknown, to generate new possibilities or to anticipate what isn’t obvious, then your preference is for Intuition. The letter N is used for intuition because I has already been allocated to Introversion.
The third pair reflects your style of decision-making. If you prefer to decide on the basis of objective logic, using an analytic and detached approach, then your preference is for Thinking. If you prefer to decide using values – i.e. on the basis of what or who you believe is important – then your preference is for Feeling.
The final pair describes the type of lifestyle you adopt. If you prefer your life to be planned and well-structured then your preference is for Judging. This is not to be confused with ‘Judgmental’, which is quite different. If you prefer to go with the flow, to maintain flexibility and respond to things as they arise, then your preference is for Perception.
When you put these four letters together, you get a personality type code. Having four pairs to choose from means there are sixteen Myers Briggs personality types.
To learn more about your personality, or Myers-Briggs and Jungian typology, complete our free online personality questionnaire. It shows how your unique personality relates to the 16 stereotypes. It also matches your personality with careers and leadership positions, based on unique research into career enjoyment and what makes a good leader.
A sound understanding of team/group dynamics, and the role it plays in business, is a critical component of successful management. When a good dynamic exists within a group working toward a common goal, each individual member will perform effectively and achieve goals set by the group. Poor group dynamics can adversely affect performance, leading to a negative outcome on the common goal or project. Many variables contribute to a good work dynamic. Below are 4 key points to understanding group dynamics, and how to create and maintain a positive, productive dynamic in any group.
1. Strong leadership is important within a group. This does not mean that a manager needs to bully or strong-arm the team to maintain control.
A leader should guide the development of the group and the path to the goal that needs to be reached. He or she can do this by defining specific roles and responsibilities for members of the group, as well as a timeline for the common project so members can understand the place of their role within the timeline.
2. Recognize how personalities affect team dynamics. We use two tools to professionally understand the personality profiles of each team member.
The MBTI and the ProfileXT Team assessments both have their unique benefits and help to highlight team dynamics and how to constructively manage your team. Obviously each person working within a group brings to that group his or her own individual personality and skill set. Recognizing each person’s style of work, motivation, and level of aptitude can help a manager understand how that person fits within the group as a whole.
This can also provide an opportunity for managers to note any gaps in experience or behavior that need to be filled with additional team members in order for the group to successfully accomplish its goal.
Along with members who contribute positively to the group, there may also be those whose behavior, attitude, or work style negatively affects the dynamics of the overall group. Some may be obvious- an aggressive personality dominating and bullying other group members, or a distracting person who is constantly off-task. Some disruptive roles may be less easy to pinpoint, but can have an adverse effect on group dynamics as well.
For example, “social loafing” may occur, meaning some members of the group may exert less effort than they would if working alone. A manager who recognizes and reacts quickly to these roles can influence the dynamic of the group in positive ways. A dominating or distracting member of the group may benefit from a separate conversation with the manager, addressing expectations of roles within the group.
If each member of the group sees his or her contribution as valuable and accountable to the larger group, then social loafing is less likely to occur among group members.
3. Understand the life cycle of a group. The way a group comes together as one can be demonstrated in 5 steps:
4. Communication is key. How effectively a group communicates can determine the overall success or failure of the group in reaching its goal. Many methods of communication may be used within groups working toward a common business goal.
Emails, project management software, group documents, and video/telephone conferencing are some of the many ways that the traditional face-to-face group meeting is becoming less prevalent. It is imperative for all members of a group to fully understand and utilize the chosen methods of communication.
Open and transparent communication through the group’s chosen methods of communication builds and maintains a sense of trust within the group as a whole, and keeps the group working together toward the goal. Side conversations via separate emails or “IM” chat features can be detrimental to the group’s overall trust.
Additionally, the manager of the group should assure that all members can effectively communicate needed information to the group. This could require additional training on programs, or assistance in clearly presenting information so all members have the benefit of full understanding of information.