Myers Briggs Type Indicator - Communicating Better

At some point during my time in university, as part of my leadership courses, we were asked to take the Myers Briggs (MBTI) test, which asks some questions to determine a little about your personality type, how you communicate, and how you see the world.

This is not a test meant to put people into boxes. It is meant to shed a some light on how we might better communicate with one another after understanding them and ourselves a little better. It's not a road map to our lives; it's a mirror to ourselves and a window to others, allowing for better understanding between people.

There are a few places to take this test online, the official MBTI test is here, which is what I took while in school, or also this one that is a little more engaging and fun!  What you'll surmise quickly is that there are 16 different types and it comes down to four letters.  My type: ISTP (introverted-sensing-thinking-perceiving).

This image helps a bit understanding the different components of how these types are made up. And once you've taken the test, maybe you'll be a bit surprised at how you came out, or maybe you'll be amazed at how on target it was! I recommend you take it, and share with your friends and family!

I actually came out very borderline introvert/extrovert, tipping slightly over to the I. This made a lot of sense to me once I thought about it. People who know me at work, for example, think I am very social and extroverted, and I can absolutely "turn it on" and be sociable and engaging when I am with people. However, there is a certain cost to me in doing that. It exhausts me over time, I need alone time to refresh and recover. My close family will know I need a lot of alone time, prefer working independently and when taxed with a lot of socialization, I sleep a lot afterwards!

Some other traits that come from my type, often called a Virtuoso or a Craftsman, are that I am logical, aloof and inexpressive, practical, insensitive and insubordinate, rebellious and adventuresome, that I can be easily bored and very adaptable. I feel like all of these things very much sum up some of my most stand out traits.

When dealing with an ISTP, you have to give them a little space. It takes a long time to get to know us deeply, and for people who like to live in the abstract world (or in the past!), ISTPs will get bored. We like the here and now, the tangible and practical, we like to take on challenges and solve problems. In romantic relationship, we need a lot of freedom and while we can be enjoying the adventure and physical nature of a relationship, it takes a long time to get an ISTP to commit (this hit home for me, I knew my husband for almost 7 years before I married him).

In the workplace, ISTPs do not like to be micromanaged! They crave flexibility and variety, new challenges and the freedom to work them, and if this is achieved ISTPs are very loyal employees. ISTPs are reserved and rational, but we do have that fun, spontaneous side, and that can make us a fun and helpful coworker to have! Speak to us directly, and if you need our help come prepared to be flexible to our own way of giving that help. As leaders (and ISTPs do make good leaders, but account for barely 4% of leaders total), we give space, we empower, we allow people to learn and think for themselves. We show fariness and impartiality to our subordinates, but we can be perceived as cold and distant because we are not the hugging types!

Understanding this about me, whether you're trying to develop a business relationship with me or be a friend or sell me something all tells you a bit better how to get at me in a way that makes me respond. Be direct. Be flexible with me. Use logic to persuade me, not emotions.

This test is not a replacement for getting to know people but rather a but of a guide to help communicate better in different settings. The reason we took this in my leadership classes was to learn to build dynamic teams and suiting different tasks to the strengths of people on that team. It was quite effective and I have since used it in many other situations as well!