Here’s your ultimate guide to the Myers-Briggs personality test, and how it affects your work style

The Myers-Briggs personality test is derived from the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung. Many people take the test in order to find out more about themselves, including information about their work style, learning style, social preferences, and how they make decisions.

Information from this test allows people to learn more about themselves, which could help them better understand their personality and the decisions they make.

What is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was developed by Isabel Briggs Myers, and her mother, Katharine Briggs. The test uses the identification of basic preferences of each of the four dichotomies (Favorite world, Information, Decisions, Structure) specified or implicit in C. G. Jung’s theory.

The test has 16 distinctive personality types that result from the interactions among the different preferences, which tells people more about themselves.

What is the purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type personality test?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator takes the theory of psychological types described by Jung’s and makes them both understandable and useful for people not familiar with psychology.

Once an individual knows their personality type, the Myers & Briggs Foundation advises that a person starts with one small, key insight. As your knowledge about the personality type grows,  you can then explore your personality more deeply and how you best like to communicate and interact with others. Like a career personality test, the Myers-Briggs test helps you understand more about yourself if used correctly.

What are the Myers-Briggs personality types?

Your personality type is made up of different preferences in four categories: favorite world, information, decisions, and structure.

  • Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).
  • Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).
  • Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).
  • Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

Your preference from each category combines to create a four letter code that represents your personality type. There are 16 different Myers-Briggs personality types. Here is a breakdown and description of each:

  1. ISTJ: Quietly sympathetic. Factual. Organized. Logical. Detailed. Conscientious. Analytical. Responsible. Pragmatic. Critical. Conservative. Decisive. Stable. Concrete. Efficient.
  2. ISFJ: Quietly warm. Factual. Sympathetic. Detailed. Dependable. Organized. Thorough. Conscientious. Systematic. Conservative. Realistic. Caring. Practical. Stable. Helpful.
  3. INFJ: Vision and meaning oriented. Quietly intense. Insightful. Creative. Sensitive. Seeks harmony and growth. Serious. Loves language and symbols. Preserving. Inspiring.
  4. INTJ: Vision oriented. Quietly innovative. Insightful. Conceptual. Logical. Seeks understanding. Critical. Decisive. Independent. Determined. Pursues competence and improvement.
  5. ISTP: Logical. Quietly analytical. Practical. Adaptable. Curious. Cool. Observer. Problem-solver. Exact. Realistic. Troubleshooter. Hands-on. Variety. Adventurous. Independent.
  6. ISFP: Gentle. Quietly analytical. Practical. Adaptable. Modest. Aesthetic. Idealistic. Observant. Loyal. Helpful. Realistic. Patient with details. Spontaneous. Joy in action.
  7. INFP: Deep-felt valuing. Quietly caring. Compassionate. Pursues meaning and harmony. Creative. Idealistic. Empathetic helpers. Inquisitive. Enjoys ideas. language, and writing. Independent. Adaptable.
  8. INTP: Logical. Conceptual. Analytical. Objective. Detached. Critical. Ingenious. Complex. Intellectually curious. Loves ideas. Pursues understanding. Questioning. Adaptable. Independent.
  9. ESTP: Excitement seeking. Active. Pragmatic. Direct. Easygoing. Observant. Concrete. Realistic. Adaptable. Efficient. Analytical. Troubleshooter. Spontaneous. Adventurous. Experiential.
  10. ESFP: Energetic. Sociable. Practical. Friendly. Caring. Expressive. Open. Enthusiastic. Excitement seeking. Spontaneous. Resourceful. Adaptable. Observant. Hands-on. Generous. Fun-loving.
  11. ENFP: Enthusiastic. Imaginative. Energetic. Creative. Warm. Future-oriented. Individualistic. Insightful. Caring. Optimistic. Possibility focused. Open. Novelty seeking. Spontaneous. Playful.
  12. ENTP: Energetic. Inventive. Enthusiastic. Abstract. Logical. Theoretical. Analytical. Complex. Ingenious. Verbal. Novelty seeking. Change oriented. Global. Independent. Adaptable.
  13. ESTJ: Active organizer. Logical. Assertive. Fact minded. Decisive. Practical. Results oriented. Analytical. Systemic. Concrete. Critical. Responsible. Take charge. Common sense.
  14. ESFJ: Actively sociable. Warm. Harmonizer. Caring. Enthusiastic. Empathic. People-oriented. Practical. Responsible. Concrete. Orderly. Conscientious. Cooperative. Appreciative. Loyal.
  15. ENFJ: Actively sociable. Enthusiastic. Harmonizer. Expressive. Warm. Idealistic. Empathic. Possibility-oriented. Insightful. Cooperative. Imaginative. Conscientious. Appreciative. Tactful.
  16. ENTJ: Driving organizer. Planner. Vision focused. Decisive. Initiating. Conceptual. Strategic. Systematic. Assertive. Critical. Logical. Organized. Pursues improvement and achievement.

Tips for understanding your Myers-Briggs personality type

The Myers & Briggs Foundation offers feedback sessions, in which you  receive a profile report of your MBTI results.

You can also learn more about the different preferences at the links below:

How your Myers Briggs Type Indicator affects your work style

Understanding your individual personality type and your type preferences allows you to approach your work in the best manner that suits your style.

Your Myers-Briggs personality type can affect many factors of your work style including:

  •  how you manage your time
  • problem solving
  • best approaches for decision making
  • dealing with stress

Also, deep knowledge the different types can help you better understand the culture of your work place, develop new skills, understand your participation in teams, and better cope with change in the workplace.

For those whose work involves selling, knowledge of type can be helpful in understanding what clients need, especially how they best like to learn about products and services and how they like to interact during the process of gathering information and making decisions.

Organizations can use personality types to support their employees with managing others, development of leadership skills, conflict resolution, executive coaching, change management, and other more customized needs.

Where can you take the Myers-Briggs personality test?

Anyone can take the Myers-Briggs on the official Myers & Briggs Foundation website.