The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Effective Project Management

Eamonn McGuinness
By | Updated October 31, 2016 | 3 min read
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

To be an effective leader, you need to first know yourself and be self-aware. Applying models such as the Enneagram to leadership can radically improve management, collaboration, and communication, the tools for successful project management.


Read more about leadership in our free project management handbook


I am going to introduce a second popular personality model, The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI), to inform your exploration of personality types.


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI)

The MBTI was developed by mother and daughter, Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers, in the 1940s and 50s, extending Carl Jung’s theory of psychological type from the 1920s. Jung gave us Extrovert or Introvert, Sensing or iNtuition and Thinking or Feeling. The MBTI extends Jung’s work by helping us to see patterns in how we prefer to use our perception and judgment. Perception is how we come to knowledge, whereas judgment is how we come to conclusions. Since we all differ in how we perceive and judge, we differ in how we relate to the world around us.

The MBTI mirror or instrument views personality through four lenses as follows:

Extrovert or Introvert
– Do you relate more to the external or internal world?

Sensing or iNtuition
– How do you prefer to take in or perceive information?

Thinking or Feeling
– How do you prefer to make conclusions and decisions?

Judging or Perceiving
– Do you seek organization and closure or are you open and spontaneous?

With two possibilities for each of the four preferences, there are sixteen MBTI types. For example, an INTP person prefers Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking and Perceiving. The MBTI theory believes that we are born with a natural pre-disposition to four of the above eight traits. We develop these preferred traits in earlier life, which gives us a particular personality. Later, we can also develop the weaker traits to be more balanced as needed. For example, an extrovert may seek more alone and reflective time to develop and leverage their introverted side.


Using The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI)

There is no right or wrong MBTI type: all types are equal. There is, however, knowledge and understanding. Reliable and trustworthy instruments like the MBTI can help you understand personality so you can navigate work and life more successfully. Each personality type has a unique approach to life and work, preferring to think, learn, interact with others and relax in different ways.

As eloquently stated by Isabel Briggs Myers:

When people differ, a knowledge of type lessens friction and eases strain. In addition, it reveals the value of differences. No one has to be good at everything.”


Applying this viewpoint to your personal and professional life will yield many benefits.


Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from our free book, Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook

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Eamonn McGuinness
Eamonn McGuinness

Éamonn McGuinness is the CEO and founder of BrightWork. From 1995, Éamonn has been involved in the development of commercial software products on Lotus Notes, Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365, with the same basic product mission (process-driven and people inspired collaborative project management).

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