The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the most familiar instrument used to explain basic patterns in the way human beings function. Differences in these functions can be the source of misunderstanding and miscommunication which is why it is so important for new woman managers to understand own their personality types and, if possible, the behavioral types of those around them.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is based on Carl Jung’s theories and today’s version is the result of more than 50 years of research and development. It was originally developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katherine Cook Briggs over their kitchen table during WWII! Thank you, ladies!

(By the way, the test was first taken by President Hoover, who didn’t accept his results.)

Uses of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Not only may this assessment surprise you by explaining preferences and behavior patterns you weren't aware you had, it can be useful for many other purposes in your work life:

  • Self-understanding and development
  • Career development and exploration
  • Organizational development
  • Team building – group dynamics
  • Management and leadership development
  • Problem-solving
  • Relationship building
  • Training and curriculum development
  • Academic counseling
  • Diversity and multi-cultural training

What Behavioral Preferences are Assessed?

Each of the four type preferences in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are polar opposites so scoring for each falls somewhere on a continuum and is based on a person’s responses to 93 “forced choice” questions. Most people fall relatively near the middle of each of the four continuums, with one type being more or less dominant.

Extraversion/introversion attitudes

These indicate how a person orients and receives their energy. In the extraverted attitude, energy flows outward with the preferred focus being on other people and things. In the introverted attitude, energy flows inward and the preferred focus is on one’s own thoughts, ideas and impressions. Therefore, the first letter in a person’s MBTI type will be E or I.

Sensing and Intuition

These are non-rational functions, as a person doesn’t necessarily control receiving data, but only how to process it. Sensing people tend to focus on the present, and prefer to receive concrete information primarily from their five senses. Intuitives tend to focus on the future, viewing patterns and possibilities. Intuitives prefer to receive data from their subconscious and see relationships insightfully. The second letter in a person’s MBTI type will be S or N.

Thinking and feeling

These are the decision-making functions. While they both strive to make rational choices based on their Sensing or Intuition functions, Thinking people tend to base their decisions on “true or false” logic and objective analysis of cause and effect. Feeling people tend to use “more or less”, “better or worse” evaluations and base their decisions primarily on values and subjective evaluation of people-centered concerns. It’s been said that Thinkers decide with their heads, while Feelers decide with their hearts. The third letter in a person’s MBTI type will be T or F.

Judging and Perceiving

These reveal specific attitudes toward the functions above. People who prefer Judging tend to like a planned and organized approach to life and like things settled. People who prefer Perceiving tend to prefer a flexible and spontaneous approach to life, to keep their options open. The fourth letter in a person’s MBTI type will be J or P.

What Are the Characteristics
of Each MBTI Behavioral Type?

There are 16 different possible behavioral types. When someone actually takes the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, they receive a detailed interpretation of their type. The Myers & Briggs Foundation provides the following brief description of each.

ISTJ Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Quiet, serious, earns success by thoroughness and dependability. Practical, matter-of-fact, realistic and responsible. Decides logically what should be done and works toward it steadily, regardless of distractions. Takes pleasure in making everything - work, home and life - orderly and organized. Values traditions and loyalty.

ISFJ Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Quiet, friendly, responsible and conscientious. Committed and steady in meeting obligations. Thorough, painstaking and accurate. Loyal, considerate, notices and remembers specifics about people who are important to them, concerned with how others feel. Strives to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work and at home.

INFJ Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Seeks meaning and connection in ideas, relationships and material possessions. Wants to understand what motivates people and is insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develops a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.

INTJ Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Have an original mind and great drive for implementing ideas and achieving goals. Quickly sees patterns in external events and develops long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organizes a job and carries it through. Skeptical and independent, has high standards of competence and performance for self and others.

ISTP Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Tolerant and flexible, quietly observes until a problem appears, then acts quickly to find workable solutions. Analyzes what makes things work and readily gets through large amounts of data to the core of a practical problem. Interested in cause and effect, organizes facts using logical principles, values efficiency.

ISFP Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Quiet, friendly, sensitive and kind. Enjoys the present moment, what’s going on around them. Likes to have their own space and to work within their own timeframe. Loyal and committed to their values and to people who are important to them. Dislikes disagreements and conflicts, doesn’t force their opinions or values on others.

INFP Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Idealistic, loyal to their values and to people who are important to them. Wants an external life that is congruent with their values. Curious, quick to see possibilities, can be catalysts for implementing ideas. Seeks to understand people and to help them fulfill their potential. Adaptable, flexible and accepting unless a value is threatened.

INTP Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Seeks to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible and adaptable. Has unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Skeptical, sometimes critical, always analytical.

ESTP Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Flexible and tolerant, takes a pragmatic approach focused on immediate results. Theories and conceptual explanations bore them – they want to act energetically to solve the problem. Focused on the here-and-now, spontaneous, enjoys each moment that they can be active with others. Enjoys material comforts and style. Learns best through doing.

ESFPMyers-Briggs Type Indicator

Outgoing, friendly and accepting. Exuberant lovers of life, people and material comforts. Enjoys working with others to make things happen. Brings common sense and a realistic approach to their work and makes work fun. Flexible and spontaneous, adapts readily to new people and environments. Learns best by trying a new skill with other people.

ENFP Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. Sees life as full of possibilities. Makes connections between events and information very quickly and confidently proceeds based on the patterns they see. Wants a lot of affirmation from others and readily gives appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often relying on their ability to improvise and their verbal influence.

ENTP Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Quick, ingenious, stimulating, alert and outspoken. Resourceful in solving new and challenging problems. Adept at generating conceptual possibilities and analyzing them strategically. Good at reading other people. Bored by routine, will seldom do the same thing the same way, apt to turn to one new interest after another.

ESTJ Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Practical, realistic, matter-of-fact. Decisive, quickly moves to implement decisions. Organizes projects and people to get things done, focuses on getting results in the most efficient way possible. Takes care of routine details. Has a clear set of logical standards, systematically follows them and wants others to also. Forceful in implementing their plans.

ESFJ Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Warmhearted, conscientious and cooperative. Wants harmony in their environment, works with determination to establish it. Likes to work with others to complete tasks accurately and on time. Loyal, follows through even in small matters. Notices what others need in their day-to-day-lives and tries to provide it. Wants to be appreciated for who they are and for what they contribute.

ENFJ Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Warm, empathetic, responsive and responsible. Highly attuned to emotions, needs and motivations of others. Finds potential in everyone, wants to help others fulfill their potential. May act as a catalyst for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitates others in a group and provides inspiring leadership.

ENTJ Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Frank, decisive, assumes leadership readily. Quickly sees illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develops and implements comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems. Enjoys long-term planning and goal setting. Usually well informed, well read, enjoys expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Distribution
Among the Population as a Whole

(Approximate type distribution as reflected in a 1998 random sampling of 3,009 out of 16,000 completed forms. Published by Dolphin Cove – an organization of INFJ’s.)




ISTJ – 11.6%


ISFJ – 13.8%


INFJ – 1.5%


INTJ – 2.1%


ISTP – 5.4%


ISFP – 8.8%


INFP – 4.4%


INTP – 3.3%




ESTP – 4.3%


ESFP – 8.5%


ENFP – 8.1%


ENTP – 3.2%


ESTJ – 8.7%


ESFJ – 12.3%


ENFJ – 2.5%


ENTJ – 1.8%

Field Marshall



Practical Applications for
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Information

  • Knowing your MBTI type can help you align your personality with your corporate culture since you’ll probably be able to assign a type to your corporation’s culture too.

  • You’ll be able to identify a career path within your organization and spot jobs for which you will be well-suited.

  • When determining team assignments, you’ll be able to assign the right people to the right tasks. And a mix of MBTI types will enable you to ensure your team has the right blend of behavioral styles for effective group decision-making and problem-solving. You will also be able to better understand how members of the team interact and what, if any, training and development may be needed.

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do”. (Sarah Ban Breathnach)