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Leading Ideas for Effective Teams

Personality Type Theory

Applying Jungian personality type theory - Using type dynamics

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® developed over 50 years ago by the mother and Daughter team of Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs is based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality types.  Their purpose for developing the instrument was to develop a way to make Jung’s theory of personality types practical and available for people to use.  Quite often what people who have taken a personality assessment only remember is the 4 letter code that identifies their type. For example a person might be an ENFP or an ISTJ. Since this code is designed to point the individual to Jung's theory it is very important to go beyond the 4 letter code and focus on the theory. 

Jung looked at the psyche and at how people acquire information and then make decisions.  He identified eight cognitive processes, or function-attitudes. 

Four of these processes are perceiving or information gathering functions and can have either an extraverted or an introverted flavor to them; they are:

Extraverted Sensing

Introverted Sensing

Extraverted iNtuition

Introverted iNtuition.

The other functions have a judging or evaluating attitude to them; they are:

Extraverted Thinking

Introverted Thinking

Extraverted Feeling

Introverted Feeling

Notice that preferences for extraversion or introversion according to Jung do not stand alone from the mental functions or processes of Sensing, Intuition, Thinking and Feeling.   When individuals are using a particular process, they tend to exhibit characteristics specific to that process. Therefore the characteristics associated with the extraverted processes are much more easily discernible than those associated with the introverted processes because the extraverted processes are focused outward toward the surrounding world while the introverted processes are focused inwardly toward the self.   

Comments like “that person is shy, and therefore introverted” or “that person is obviously extraverted, just look at the way she talks so much” are focusing only on the function that is being used at that time and not on any of the other functions.  As individuals get older, have more life experience, have had time to develop less preferred functions, they are seen by others to change their personality when in effect what is happening is that they have developed one of their less familiar functions.  This “change” can be seen sometimes as rather drastic depending on how different the function they are developing is from their preferred function.