From Data to Knowledge: The Value of Psychological Type

BeakersAssessments of psychological type, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) instrument, rely on self-reporting rather than clinical observation. Respondents answer a series of questions, and based on their answers, receive a report of what their likely personality type is. In fact, one of the MBTI ethical principles is that only the respondents are qualified to determine which type best fits them. The role of the MBTI practitioner is to guide them through the process.

What, then, is the value of psychological type? If you’re just relating things you already know about yourself, how are you learning anything?

To answer this question, it’s useful to consider the knowledge pyramid model. One version of this model proposes three different levels of understanding: data, information, and knowledge. The answers to the questions on the MBTI assessment are at the lowest level—data. But data, on its own, isn’t meaningful. It doesn’t contribute to knowledge until it’s combined and organized with other data, so that context and patterns emerge.
Continue reading “From Data to Knowledge: The Value of Psychological Type”

Navigating Your Blind Spots, Part 3: Introverts

In my last post, I discussed how the natural blind spots of extraverts can create conflict on teams. Here, I explore the blind spots of introverts based on the dominant function of their Myers-Briggs personality type.

Introverted thinking (INTP/ISTP) values knowledge. Dominant introverted thinking expects people to focus on objective data when making decisions. It views personal considerations as illogical and unpredictable, and therefore not a sound basis for reaching conclusions.

Introverted thinking types naturally assume
that logic-based insights can stand on their own, requiring no explanation or defense. By looking beyond this assumption, Continue reading “Navigating Your Blind Spots, Part 3: Introverts”

Navigating Your Blind Spots, Part 2: Extraverts

In my last post, I wrote about how the natural blind spots of different personality types can create conflict on teams. Here, I explore the blind spots of extraverts based on the dominant function of their Myers-Briggs personality type.

Extraverted thinking (ENTJ/ESTJ) values logic. Dominant extraverted thinking expects people to act and make decisions based on objective data. It views personal considerations as biased, and therefore doesn’t trust them.

Extraverted thinking types naturally assume
Continue reading “Navigating Your Blind Spots, Part 2: Extraverts”

Navigating Your Blind Spots, Part 1: Team Building

How do you introduce the concept of personality type to a group that’s resistant?

I was asked that question when I spoke about Building Effective Teams Using the Myers-Briggs Personality Types at the Technical Communication Summit ’10 in Dallas, TX. An audience member asked whether focusing on blind spots would be a good place to start.

Blind spots are assumptions so deeply ingrained in our personalities that we’re unaware they exist. They can make us less effective and even generate conflict on work teams. So how do we overcome something when we don’t know it exists?
Continue reading “Navigating Your Blind Spots, Part 1: Team Building”

The ESTJ Writing Personality: Decisive Logic

Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected. — George Washington

Can personality type affect your writing style?

ESTJs excel at relating objective, fact-based information. They carefully schedule their writing activities so they can finish before the deadline. Adept at presenting a logical argument, they like to take a stand in their writing. They systematically develop their ideas, complete their project, and move on.

The ESTJ personality type is one of 16 identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer to gather information and make decisions. The initials ESTJ stand for the following: Continue reading “The ESTJ Writing Personality: Decisive Logic”

The ESFJ Writing Personality: Friendly Conversation

Show me someone who never gossips, and I will show you
someone who is not interested in people.
— Barbara Walters

What can  your personality type tell you about your writing style?

ESFJs excel at relating fact-based information based on personal experience. They prefer writing about topics that affect people in tangible ways. ESFJs may begin a project by discussing it with others, but seek solitude for the final draft to avoid distractions.

The ESFJ personality type is one of 16 identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer to gather information and make decisions. The initials ESFJ stand for the following: Continue reading “The ESFJ Writing Personality: Friendly Conversation”

The ISFJ Writing Personality: Tangible Warmth

In this life we cannot do great things.
We can only do small things with great love.
— Mother Teresa

What does your personality type tell you about your writing style?

ISFJs focus on facts, which they often convey with warmth.  They feel more confident when able to follow a proven approach, and when instructions are clear. ISFJs like to complete their research and map out a first draft in their head before they begin writing. They are dedicated, thorough, and committed to meeting deadlines.

The ISFJ personality type is one of 16 identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer to gather information and make decisions. The initials ISFJ stand for the following: Continue reading “The ISFJ Writing Personality: Tangible Warmth”

The ISTJ Writing Personality: Model Efficiency

The upward course of a nation’s history is due in the long run to the soundness of heart of its average men and women. — Elizabeth II of the U.K.

Can knowing your personality type improve your writing?

ISTJs prefer to write about demonstrable facts. They like to follow a template that has worked well in the past, rather than seeking a new approach. They think through their ideas extensively before committing them to paper. Once they begin, they tend to write quickly from the draft developed in their head, making them very efficient.

The ISTJ personality type is one of 16 identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer to gather information and make decisions. The initials ISTJ stand for the following: Continue reading “The ISTJ Writing Personality: Model Efficiency”

The ISTP Writing Personality: Extreme Knowledge

If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign
you’re not doing anything very innovative
. —Woody Allen

Can knowing about personality type make you a more effective writer?

ISTP writers are keen observers with a vast store of knowledge on subjects that interest them. They enjoy learning about gadgets, about how they work and what problems they were invented to solve. Independent thinkers, ISTPs  tend to be unswayed by other people’s expectations. ISTPs research a topic thoroughly before writing about it and base their conclusions on comprehensive, proven data.

The ISTP personality type is one of 16 identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer to gather information and make decisions. The initials ISTP stand for the following: Continue reading “The ISTP Writing Personality: Extreme Knowledge”

The ISFP Writing Personality: Quiet Music

The meaning of life is contained in every single expression of life. It is present
in the infinity of forms and phenomena that exist in all of creation.

Michael Jackson

Can knowing your personality type help you grow as a writer?

ISFP writers are acutely aware of the sensations in their physical world. They are adept at conveying the feelings associated with texture, color, and sound. ISFPs want to connect with their audience on a personal level and can have difficulty writing if unsure of the audience’s expectations. Their focus on others is so strong that they may hesitate to express their own deeply held beliefs. But if they learn to trust their voice, they can communicate their gifts of quiet joy and keen perceptions to their readers.

The ISFP personality type is one of 16 identified by Isabel Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs. Influenced by Carl Jung’s book Psychological Types, Myers and Briggs were the original authors of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer to gather information and make decisions. The initials ISFP stand for the following: Continue reading “The ISFP Writing Personality: Quiet Music”