Trying to guess the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) (The Myers & Briggs Foundation, 2020) result from the team I spoke about in my last blog post was exciting. I have never really thought about it before, so I enjoyed reflecting on it. I used my general knowledge of the 16 traits, along with the Myers & Briggs Foundation website to talk about the positives and negatives of each person. Here are my best guesses for everyone, along with my result.
- Brandon: INTJ (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judging)
- Brandon always preferred to work alone. He was very independent and logical in all of his decisions. As the Director of the department, this was helpful when we needed decisions to be made. The negative part of this was that it could be challenging to get ahold of him. He was always off working on some project but did not communicate where he would be or what help he needed. Not redistributing tasks often left him feeling overwhelmed with how much work needed to be done.
- Cami: ENFP (Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perceiving)
- All of the students who lived on campus knew who Cami was. She had a huge personality and was able to use that to host great events and build relationships. The issue that I so often faced with Cami was that she would think up these large ideas that were not practical or possible. That would make her so stressed out that she would give up and move on to the next big idea. As the Assistant Director, she would not communicate well with Brandon because she was also extremely independent. This would lead to the two of them having different ideas about how the department would be run and create stress in the department.
- Chanel: ESFP (Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving)
- When I worked with Chanel, she was getting her M. Ed in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. One of her biggest strengths was how good she was at connecting with students. She was also very team-oriented and would take on anything someone asked her to. Chanel was not comfortable with change and would do things how they had always been done – being flexible and adaptive was not an area she felt good in. When Cami would ask Chanel to come up with a new way to do something, she would say yes, but would not be able to complete the task.
- Cheryl: ISTJ (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging)
- Cheryl was the easiest one for me to guess. She embodies an ISTJ. Cheryl was extremely direct, responsible, and practical. She knew when everything was due, all of our policies, and if she said she would do something, it would get done. The biggest problems that I came across with Cheryl were also some of her strengths. Since she knew all of the policies, she would not let anything by that was not exactly how it should be. There was no room for compromise. She could also come across and stubborn and insensitive, which students responded very negatively to.
- Me: ISFJ (Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judging)
- I have taken the MBTI many times, and my type has never changed. I make my decisions based on personal value and concern for others (Amy Miller, personal communication, June 29, 2020). This has often helped me because I feel confident in my decisions. I have thought them through and don’t often feel the need to second guess myself. A big problem that I have faced, though, is that I am quiet and am often underestimated. This became a problem with the team listed above because Cami would see Chanel’s energy and assign her new responsibilities. I would be overlooked but then would need to help Chanel to make sure she could accomplish the tasks given to her.
As a team, I will say that most of the time we worked together was a negative experience. The one area I felt that we were most successful with was that we each wanted to create the best possible experience for the students. If something went wrong and a student needed help, we would be able to come together and find a solution. On the opposite end, ee struggled with communication and understanding how to work together effectively. I think that we all needed something different, but none of us felt comfortable enough with the group to express this.
Using the MBTI Type table for Teams, I found that overall our team culture was Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging. Using that information, I went to the article Coaching Transformational Leaders with the Myers-Briggs Assessment by Stanley D. Truskie to see how that impacted us. Truskie states that culture tends to be impacted most by the middle two dichotomies, which in our case are Sensing and Feeling (Truskie, p. 3). The characteristics most associated with these two sympathetic and friendly. We fell into the Cooperation cultural pattern displayed on page four. Cooperation culture “encourages people to work together to help one another achieve common goals” (Truskie, p. 4), which is not something I necessarily think reflects our team in reality. On paper, the department’s goal was to work together to create the best possible student experience. However, in reality, it was a lot of fending for yourself and pretending it was a team effort.
One thing I found that reflected our team was the blind spots of our cultural pattern. Truskie says that an overemphasis on Cooperation can lead to a group that is managed by committee, directionless, and accountable. The piece of the team being directionless and unaccountable connected with me. We all did our own thing, and if something did not get done, it did not seem to matter. If we worked as a team more and communicated more effectively, we would have been much more successful. Instead of always working on separate projects, collaborating, or having meetings about our progress would keep us accountable and informed about what was going on. Those simple changes would have made a world of difference in our work.
Of course, it is easy to look back on an experience and pick out all of the negative things that happened over time. I would like to think that if I went back to that team now, we would be able to function more successfully because we have all grown.
Truskie, S. (2011). Coaching Transformational Leaders with the Myers-Briggs Assessment. CPP