Being psychoanalysed… To the T! My first ever MBTI test.

On Friday, I enjoyed a fairly rare day out of the office for a team away day. The point of the day was for my team, the Digital Publishing and Development team, to better understand itself, as well as learning how to interact better with the team of wonderful Development Editors who sit behind us. The medium for this voyage of self-discovery was to be the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, and for those of you unfamiliar as I was with this test, I have borrowed an explanation of it from Wikipedia.

The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. These preferences were extrapolated by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers from the typological theories proposed by Carl Gustav Jung, and first published in his 1921 book Psychological Types(English edition, 1923). Jung theorized that there are four principal psychological functions by which we experience the world: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. One of these four functions is dominant most of the time.

In advance of the day itself, we had all completed a simple 100-question survey and returned it to our HR department, and we were therefore understandably all intrigued to find out the results.

On the day itself (the 6th February; so this blog post is being published a little late), we all pootled up the road from our business park to the very nice conference facility at Milton Hill House, which was my second DeVere Venues hotel in 10 days  – (wish I could make a habit of that particular fact!)

Once we had gotten over the excitement of free tea, coffee and porridge (the last one was just me!), we got down to business with the help of Taylor & Francis’ Learning and Development Manager. Under Rose’s expert guidance, we spent the morning working through a variety of interactive exercises designed to open our eyes to the kind of ‘type’ we might be – all the while with us in the dark as to which four-letter ‘type’ combination had been ascribed to us as a result of our answers to the questionnaire.

For example, for one exercise we were split into two groups and asked to design our ideal office environment. We had 10 minutes and a large board with a marker pen to do our best design work, and it was immediately apparent upon feeding back to the whole group that we had been split down Extrovert/Introvert lines. That is, Rose had split the group based on the first of the four MBTI ‘dichotomies’, Introvert/Extrovert, and the introverts had created a very ‘zen’ space, with lots of thinking space, outside areas and quiet rooms, whereas the rest of us had essentially created an improved version of our current office, just with better facilities, views and more comfortable seating. Once you’re aware of the personality trait that has been ascribed to you, it’s incredibly bizarre to take a step back from yourself and see it come to life in your behaviour.

I shan’t bore you all with the details of the whole day (although the lunch was pretty excellent!) except to confess my true personality type below. You can be any combination of eight letters, as best illustrated by the picture I took of my report summary, and therefore you can have any one of 16 different personality types.

My MBTI Summary

My MBTI summary, and a good description of each ‘type’

I am ESFJ, which boils down to the following numbers on the ‘Clarity of Reported Preferences’ report:
Extraversion: 51;
Sensing 29;
Feeling 5 and
Judging 51.
According to the diagram, it seems to go from 0-70% each way on this percentage scale.
(The ‘F’ was emphasised, which is why I have underlined it, but we didn’t learn about why this was, as it’s apparently very complicated.) 

My 'Clarity of Reported Preferences' from my report

My ‘Clarity of Reported Preferences’ from my report

This will mean very little to those unfamiliar with the test, but, according to the summary of the communication style for my type, ESFJ, this roughly translates to:

– being personable, outgoing, warm, friendly, helpful, caring and sensitive
– being steady, persistent, responsible, dependable and conscientious
– being able to manage time and tasks to be productive and accomplishing goals in a positive and organised way
– relate to and connect with people easily; seek harmony and make accommodations
– provide for the immediate needs of others in a practical and direct way

Copying further from my summary, ‘At First Glance,‘ I:

– am a practical efficient helper who is loyal, committed and dutiful
– make useful contributions; provide concrete and tangible products and services
– remember personal information and focus on people’s day-to-day situations
– conform to social norms and engage in established rituals and traditions
– am comfortable with routines, structure and schedules, and organise things to run smoothly

‘What I want to hear’ [according to the report]

– clear and specific instructions and up-to-date information
– cooperative and positive interactions; encouragement and a positive atmosphere
– current information and discussions to keep you in touch with progress of projects
– practical applications, personal stories, real-world examples
– well-defined expectations, tasks and deadlines

‘When expressing myself,‘ I:

– am naturally affirming and supportive; like to see and celebrate others’ succeesses
– match people to tasks in a personal way so everyone fits in and works well together
– enjoy social contact and want to discuss the situation at hand
– see and evaluate situations accurately; observe and anticipate people’s needs
– am usually very busy; schedule time tightly to meet obligations and accomplish goals

Giving and Receiving Feedback,’ I:

– am driven to meet societal standards and live up to expectations of others
– take feedback personally and are uncomfortable with critical or harsh comments
– want to be appreciated for my contributions and achievements
– openly acknowledge and celebrate contributions and achievements of others
– give more positive than corrective feedback; am uncomfortable critiquing others.

Now, I realise this isn’t at all related to English Language Teaching, but I wanted to document it somewhere so I could refer to it later, and even writing it out just now, I continue to be staggered at how accurate it is! Those of you who know me will understand my issue with being over-booked to the point of exhaustion, and the fact that I love to remember people’s birthdays and anniversaries and things; both of which fit within the characteristics ascribed to my ‘type’, above. I also currently work in a project management-type role, so all of the things about expressing myself and giving and receiving feedback are alarmingly accurate as well. According to our trainer for the day, this kind of test is most often used in a business sense, and now I can really see why.

On a slightly more teaching-focused note, and to conclude this rambling and pointless post, I also feel that, having understood my ‘type,’ I will be able to be much more aware of other ‘types’ in life and will hopefully therefore be better-equipped to adapt my communication style to suit them – I hope to blog about how this turns out in the teaching world, so watch this space!

About BerLingo

My name is Rachel, I am 25 and I love Germany. I studied German, Spanish and Italian at Durham University for four years, one of which I spent living in Europe, and then worked at Routledge academic publishing house for almost 3 years. Towards the end of 2014, I decided it was time to finally fulfil a long-held ambition to live in Berlin, and so in April 2015 I completed the CELTA qualification (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, adminstered by Cambridge University) here in the German capital. Now qualified, my blog charts my experiences as a new English teacher in my favourite city... (More information about my plans can be found in my first ever blog post.)
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