Keep informed and in the know with our useful resources and guides.

Keep Informed

View PDF ResourcesWatch Videos

Can the Myers–Briggs type indicator (MBTI) turn your business around?

Myers Briggs: a confession For nearly 20 years I’ve been using a tool that has proved invaluable for clients, colleagues and organisations alike.  It can transform the way that people communicate...

Written by: Joanne Barraclough, HR Operations Manager & Senior HR Consultant

Written by: Joanne Barraclough, HR Operations Manager & Senior HR Consultant

Joanne has worked in HR, Learning and Development and Management roles for over 30 years, with employment experience in the NHS, the Education Sector, SMEs and charities. She has worked as an independent Consultant, headed up HR teams and, with a Business degree, Teaching Qualification and Fellowship of the CIPD, she works in many different ways with our variety of clients. Her passion is organisational development and she is currently enhancing her skills and expertise in psychometric testing.

Joanne has worked in HR, Learning and Development and Management roles for over 30 years, with employment experience in the NHS, the Education Sector, SMEs and charities. She has worked as an independent Consultant, headed up HR teams and, with a Business degree, Teaching Qualification and Fellowship of the CIPD, she works in many different ways with our variety of clients. Her passion is organisational development and she is currently enhancing her skills and expertise in psychometric testing.

Myers Briggs: a confession

For nearly 20 years I’ve been using a tool that has proved invaluable for clients, colleagues and organisations alike.  It can transform the way that people communicate with each other, build teams that really understand each other and resolve conflict quickly and effectively.  It can even help with personal relationships at home.    But I’ve often kept it a secret, not referring to it by name, bringing it in to training sessions and conversations without people knowing.  Why would I not be ‘out and proud’ about this wonder tool that I absolutely believe in?  Well, it’s because it’s had a bit of a ‘Marmite’ reputation.  If it’s used incorrectly, or not explained properly,  it can be a real turn off.  But used properly?  The difference it makes is dramatic!

Let me tell you more:

The biggest expense for the majority of businesses is people.  Spending time and money on getting the right people in is wasted if you then fail to align them and their teams with the rest of the business and each other.  MBTI is the most widely used personality inventory in the world; it looks at the traits, character, strengths and weaknesses of individuals and teams to facilitate growth, productivity and effective teams.  Individuals get a better understanding of how to approach work and others, manage stress, deal with problems, make decisions, manage time … and so on!  Who wouldn’t want that?

What are the improvements that MBTI can achieve? In brief:

Teams:  Use MBTI to find out how every member likes to work, who will they work more effectively with, how they collaborate effectively with others where their types might clash, how to capitalise on difference – and build on similarities.  Imagine if the team leader can paint a great picture of the future, but doesn’t have the detail that someone else needs before they truly get on board with change, or another defaults to a ‘group brainstorm’ to get a project moving where some of the team hate loud groups with a passion.  Fix these things and you’ll get instant improvements in teamwork.

Communication: Personalities are often the biggest challenge to any project or working environment.  Each MBTI type has a preference for  they communicate, and understanding their own type and that of everyone around them makes for easier, more open and fruitful .  Knowing how they and others work best and how to make the most of that is invaluable when there’s a deadline or target to meet.  One employee might need positive feedback more than another, another might need others around them  before they get motivated or feel drained within 5 minutes of a team meeting starting.    Handling difficult conversations becomes so much easier when you’re well prepared for how you and the other person might react.

Motivation.  Information about an employees’ personality type can inform how you manage and motivate them, after all, what works for one person won’t work for all.  A slight change of approach – less logical perhaps,  more factual, less emotion, explaining the ‘why’ – can be easy to do, but it makes the world of difference.  If working from home has affected motivation, then it might be time to bring back some face-to-face interaction (although for some, being at home alone has really inspired them to get their best work done, so using MBTI will tell you who is who and how best to keep them motivated.   It’s not rocket science, but it really works!

Less conflict.  Yes, really.  And less conflict leads to greater efficiencies.  We all process information differently and this is evident by our work habits.  Place your team in roles that play to these differences, maximise strengths and minimise weaknesses (whilst also giving them a way to work on them), then you’ll see the rewards come quickly.  New team members can be integrated into the business quickly, they build strong and trusting working relationships more easily and challenges are useful, not destructive.  Success is born!

Leadership – understanding oneself, what energises, how information is processed, decisions made and projects managed are key components to knowing where personal development is needed.   More businesses now want and need leaders, not just managers.  Including MBTI as part of a leadership development programme develops self-reflection, self-understanding, and a recognition and understanding of others’ differences.  Leaders are then equipped to apply those skills to everything that they do, crucially improving communication and team focus.

Who wouldn’t want to make the most of something that can do all of this and more?   MBTI is a simple tool that works incredibly well on its own, but when used to underpin the way in which things are done, to bring about change, it can simplify the roll out of business decisions, projects and targets and can also resolve those tricky things that just aren’t ‘right’ with the team.  I’m no longer keeping my commitment to Myers Briggs as a guilty secret – I LOVE using this and seeing the difference it can make and I’m going to shout about it!  If you want to hear more about my enthusiasm, then please do get in touch – I could talk about this all day (although as an Extravert, I do need someone to listen to me and give me feedback, otherwise I’ll run out of energy!)

Contact us to talk about what we can do to help your business and get a plan together to capitalise on both the differences and similarities in your team. 

Speak to an HR expert

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.