Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Assessment and Feedback for Teams and Individuals

Virtual or In-Person Feedback

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Are you interested in taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as part of your coaching, training, or team-building engagement with SLDI? Or perhaps simply for self-improvement? You will find answers below to questions which you may be of value to you.

At SLDI, Dr. Mike Armour has used the MBTI in coaching, team-building, and training for over 25 years. He considers it one of the most helpful tools in his leadership development toolbox.

Questions and Answers About the MBTI

The answers appear when you click on a question.

►    What is the MBTI?

The MBTI is one of the oldest instruments for charting the defining characteristics of a given personality. It was developed over several decades by a mother-daughter duo: Isabel Briggs and Katharine Myers.

Shortly after the First World War, they began research which would lay the foundation for the MBTI. By the Second World War they were ready to deploy an early iteration of the instrument, although it was not yet known as the MBTI. By the 1960s it had taken its present name and matured as a psychometric tool to the point that a comprehensive MBTI manual was published.

The MBTI would eventually become the most widely-administered personality assessment in business and professional circles. Today it is available in most major languages, so that millions of people worldwide complete it annually.

►    What does the MBTI measure?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator classifies every individual in one of 16 categories called personality types. Each type is a collection of personal preferences for interacting with the world and with other people. And the operative word here is "preferences." The MBTI does not predict behavior as such. Rather it reflects how someone is most inclined to behave. In a word, it identifies the kind of behavior which feels most natural to a person.

►    What aspects of personality comprise an MBTI type?

The underlying concepts of the MBTI were adapted from Dr. Carl Jung's book Psychological Types, published in 1923. His book gave us the words "extraversion" and "introversion", which figure large in MBTI typing.

Everyone has both an extraverted and introverted nature. As its name implies, extraversion anchors its attention in the external world. Our extraversion is at play when we do things which call for extended physical exertion, protracted interaction with large groups, or immersion in fast-paced social events.

By contrast, introversion is at the fore when we turn to more solitary activites, quiet pursuits, or probing reflection. At times like this, we are more absorbed with our inner world than with the external world.

Life therefore has extraverted and introverted moments. However, we tend to have a clear preference for one over the other, and the MBTI captures this tendency.

Jung also held that mental activity revolves around two processes. The first is what he called "perceiving." It entails the way that we go about understanding the world of our existence. The perceiving process takes two different forms. One is exploring the world through our senses — what Jung called "sensing." The other is exploring the world conceptually, which he labeled "intuiting."

Once we complete the perceiving process, we must then decide what to do, if anything, with what we have perceived. To do so, we turn to the second mental process, for which Jung chose the name "judging."

With the judging process, we again have two avenues from which to choose. One option is to make our decision by relying purely on reason and logic, a methodology which Jung referred to as "thinking.".

Alternatively, we can make our decision by considering factors other than logic, such as honoring important traditions or values, serving the best interests of the community, promoting harmony and goodwill, etc. Jung called this type of decision-making "feeling."

The MBTI uses these classifications as the basis of its personality types. People given to extraverted sensing are notably different from those who who rely primarily on introverted intuiting. The MBTI spells out the unique way in which each personality type reflects a particular blend of extraversion, introversion, sensing, intuiting, thinking, and feeling.

►   How is knowledge of MBTI results useful?

The benefits of the MBTI can be realized on many fronts. Not the least of these is self-understanding. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator helps us know ourselves better. Why do I find some activities rewarding, others boring? Why do I feel so comfortable in certain situations, completely ill at ease in others? Why do I gravitate toward particular styles of leadership? Why do I go at problem-solving the way that I do?

Answers to questions like these — and dozens of others — become more apparent once we look at ourselves through the lens of the MBTI.

For teams and workgroups, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator provides a way to become more united and effective. It explains why work habits, communication styles, and priorities differ so markedly within the group.

Without the kind of insight gleaned from the MBTI, such differences easily lead to discord, tension, and even polarization. The MBTI provides perspectives which, when applied, can replace dissension with mutual appreciation. Once workgroup and team members understand the 16 MBTI types, they can be shown that every personality type adds valuable dimensions to the team's work. This can then serve to engender fresh respect for one another.

►   How is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator administered?

The MBTI was is usually taken and scored on line. In American English the basic MBTI consists of 93 questions. (This number varies slightly for other languages and for European English.) Under normal circumstances, the MBTI can be completed in 25-30 minutes, with the results immediately available for download.

Today the MBTI is offered in two versions known simply as Step One and Step Two.

  • Step One can be thought of as the historic MBTI.
  • Step Two adds about 50 more questions to the basic instrument. These additional questions allow for a more nuanced picture of the individual's personality. In particular, it shows the degree to which the person aligns with or departs from the purest manifestation of their type.

Because it is more detailed, the Step Two version takes a bit longer to complete and is slightly more expensive than the Step One version alone.

►   Why pay to take the MBTI when free versions are available on line?

The success of the MBTI has spawned many "look alike" profiles which seek to replicate its findings. While these are sometimes found on the internet and offered at no cost, they are not the genuine MBTI.

These tests usually have not been subjected to rigorous validity verifictaion. And because the MBTI is a copyrighted instrument, these look-alikes cannot simply appropriate its questions or its algorithms.

Of no less importance, the look-alikes have no equivalent of the MBTI Step Two feedback, which limits their precision. And even their basic feedback is usually not as extensive as what the MBTI provides.

The genuine MBTI is available only through certified providers such as SLDI. Certification requires extensive training in how to interpret the MBTI and to use it ethically. And since these providers must pay a fee for each use of MBTI, they rarely offer it at no cost.

►   How do I take the MBTI through SLDI?

We provide both Step One and Step Two of the MBTI at a steeply-discounted price (little more than our cost) as part of all coaching, mentoring, training, and team-building engagements.

We also offer an economically priced option for people who want to take the MBTI merely for self-improvement. With this option we provide extended feedback, including a 90-minute coaching session with an MBTI specialist. If you want more information or pricing on this option, email us

Feedback sessions for both Step One and Step Two can be delivered virtually or in person.

If we can address other questions for you, feel free to email us.

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