Oh! Those Four Letters? – Using Your MBTI Type

So you’ve taken the MBTI instrument in some training program at work and it gave you this mysterious four letter type. Do you remember the combination? I’m sure the day at training was fun and there were a lot of laughs, people got divided into groups and it seemed like a fun “Us versus Them” Day. You have that sheet somewhere where you marked your type. If you rummage enough you’ll find it. If that’s what’s happened with you, it’s usually the norm.

Extreme responses to the MBTI would be “I did it a long time ago. Don’t remember…some four letter something, right?” and “I know it said ESTJ. Anyway, how’s that going to help me? It doesn’t tell me anything new.”

If you belong to the group that doesn’t remember their MBTI type at all, it’s best to just take the tool again. Type is consistent over time and even if it’s been a few years, it won’t impact the outcome in any way.

You will need to find a licensed administrator how can set it up for you, set the right context for you to take it and help you understand the outcomes. Definitely run from the free online imitations that are usually inaccurate, incomplete and/or illegal. You can ask your organization’s HR team for someone who is certified or drop me a line for more information.

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Now, if you do remember your four-letter type, here are four things you must use your MBTI type for, so it is actually meaningful in your everyday work-life:

Helping others around you understand you better

We are all unique and different from each other in many ways. There are several times a day we feel it would be great if others understood us better. But saying, “That’s how I am” doesn’t cut the ice. Nobody likes to hear that. Having a framework like the MBTI provides you with the vocabulary to express “That’s how I am” in more specific, simple terms that others can understand. For example, it will help you say, “I prefer to have meeting agenda sent in advance so I can think through it before we discuss instead of being asked to brainstorm on the spot.”

Understanding others you live and work with

Flip the coin for a minute now. Just what you feel, wouldn’t others feel about you? What if they felt the need to be understood and you were the one not understanding them? MBTI will not only allow you to see how you might be similar or different from others but vice-versa. It will help you check yourself before making a judgement and ask yourself, what if “That’s how he is”? For example, it will help you ask him, “Would you rather we brainstorm now or think through options and discuss in an hour from now?”

Building your self-development plan

How amazing and convenient would it be if you could do use both your right and left hand to write? Ambidexterity is the key to survival for individuals and organizations. MBTI is the framework you need to build ambidexterity into your personality. It will help you build your development plan to strengthen your natural preferences and acquire the key skills required to adapt to someone with opposing or differing preferences.

Improving business processes

Imagine this. You have three training managers, all of whom enjoy flexibility and work well even with ambiguity. That’s great when there are urgent business requirements and employees need to be trained in certain processes. They do a great job. Now what happens when the same team needs to manage a bunch of new hires who have just joined you? Will they be able to pull out a structured learning plan with desired milestones that will help new hires? Chances are they will not. Often, having a combination of people with diverse preferences helps to build a stronger business process. And a great place to start is knowing each other’s preferences in the team.

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