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The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator is a great instrument to help leaders grow in self-awareness. The MBTI helps us identify which of 16 personality styles we possess. Oftentimes, our differences are mainly a source of aggravation and strife. The MBTI guides us to a deeper understanding of the differences we see in our friends and family. Attached is an Adobe file containing an instrument to assess your personality style, along with a brief description of each style. Download file

When we read the scriptural references to the Body of Christ, we get a picture of people with greatly differing gifts coming together in synergy and unity of purpose and spirit. The MBTI helps us recognize that there is no one "right" way for us to be. Helpful Hint: after you ask your leaders to complete this instrument, spend time together in dialog about the results. After you talk about each dimension of the indicator, divide the room with people standing with others who share that dimension with them. Ask each group to answer two questions, "What do you like most about those in the other group?" and "What aggravates you the most about them?" Then have each group share the answers with the other group. Not only is this a fun exercise, but the result is that your leaders will understand each other in a deeper way, increasing the chance that you can overcome differences and find synergy.

Personality Theory

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator studies four pairs of dimensions, which are each measured on a continuum from one extreme to another. There are sixteen possible personality profiles resulting from the combinations of the four dimensions. Many studies have determined certain characteristics of each of the sixteen types.Image from the official MBTI Facebook Page 

The first dimensional continuum is Extroversion (E) to Introversion (I). This dimension measures how one gains energy. The Introvert is energized by ideas and values quiet time for concentration, enjoys working alone or with one or two others, dislikes intrusions and interruptions, and tends to fully form thoughts before speaking in a group. The learning model for the introvert is, “there is no impression without reflection.” The Extrovert is energized by people and values action and variety, enjoys interaction with people, is impatient with long, slow jobs, and forms thoughts while speaking. The learning model for the extrovert is, “there is no impression without expression.” People generally score somewhere along the continuum on each of the MBTI dimensions, and not all the way to one end or another.

The second dimension measured by the MBTI is the awareness dimension, Sensing (S) versus Intuition (N). This dimension influences the way a person gathers information. Sensors gather facts and tend to gain understanding quite like building blocks stacking one block of facts on top of another. The conclusions might be visualized as the peak of a pyramid with these blocks supporting the conclusion. With a sensor, you can count on a solid foundation of concrete information beneath any conclusion reached. Sensors like routine and working with established ways of solving problems. They are impatient with the complex and seldom make errors of fact. They distrust intuition. They prefer using their five senses, are very down-to-earth, and prefer the here and now. The intuitor, on the other hand is given to leaps of intuition. They frequently jump to conclusions and tend to make errors of fact. They tend to follow their intuition and work in bursts of energy. They dislike routine and enjoy learning new skills and solving complex problems. They are innovative and future oriented. They prefer the theoretical and creative and focus on their imagination rather than their senses.

The third dimension measured by the MBTI is the Decision Dimension, Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F). This dimension influences how decisions are made. Thinkers are very logical. Emotion does not play much of a role in decision making. They may hurt peoples' feelings without even being aware of it. They seem hard-headed and can deal dispassionately with performance problems. They value fairness. They can get along without harmony and tend to relate better to other thinkers. Thinkers tend to draw causal relationships and enjoy analysis. Feelers on the other hand tend to be very aware of other peoples' feelings. They often let decisions be influenced by peoples' likes and wishes and dislike telling people unpleasant things. They tend to be sympathetic and relate well to most people. Harmony is highly valued, and their efficiency can be quite easily disturbed by interpersonal problems. They focus on human values and needs, are good at persuasion and facilitating differences between group members . They enjoy pleasing others and have a high need for affiliation.

The last dimension in the MBTI influences how we live our lives, Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). Judgers need structure. They are organized, settled, decisive and systematic. They like to plan their work and work their plan. They seek to control their life and set goals to do so. They want a map before they begin the journey. Perceivers, on the other hand, like to keep their options open. They let life happen, are undaunted by surprise, and open to change. They are flexible and spontaneous. Their style is ready, fire, aim. This dimension, more than any other guides how people live their lives. Some must keep lists (J), while others let their lives unfold like a movie (P).Gods Faint Path slides.054In this illustration, you can see the dominant function for each of the sixteen MB types. Gods Faint Path slides.055There is no right or wrong personality type.  This instrument helps people begin to understand and value differences in others.  For us to build a healthy body of Christ, we must learn to value diverse styles. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the MBTI.

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