Friday, April 3, 2009

How Reported type can be misleading, Use Best-Fit instead.

I recently found a copy of my Step 2 MBTI report that I received when I became qualified in the MBTI. I was very surprised to see how far it was wrong. This particular report was for an INTJ, while as you can see at the bottom of this blog I feel that my best fit type is INFP. It was through using the eight functions that I truly discovered how easily that can happen. When you look at it from the dichotomous, either/or, perspective I agree with the Introversion, and iNtuition. But obviously I do not agree that Thinking and Judging as my other two choices.

Looking through the lens of type dynamics I understand that my preference for Extraverted iNtuition (Ne) which is my auxiliary function can often come out as dominant since in certain circumstances where I am in charge or teaching a class or working with others, being my preferred extraverted function it seems to take over when others are around, or "how I orient to the outside world". I have also discovered that while I orient to others through this extraverted function, I allow this to happen as long as my true dominant, intraverted Feeling (Fi), feels safe and my values are not being compromised. I often joke that in my house I am in charge and my wife allows me to be. In truth because I try to treat our relationship in that way, we have had some rocky times but overall it has been a great 26 years. Fi in effect is allowing Ne to be in charge, and Ne being the good parent will try to remain faithful to the desires of Fi. Just like I remain faithful to the desires of my wife.

Now, looking at the T and J and using type dynamics, the T and J together tells me that in the INTJ type code the preferred T is extraverted Thinking (Te). Using Type dynamics again I know (and personally agree) that my fourth or inferior function is Te. According to Beebe, the inferior supports the dominant function like the spine supports the body with the dominant the head and the inferior the feet. With that analogy in mind, I might say that Te is the protector of my Fi value system. Like with Ne above it remains hidden behind the extraverted Thinking so that when I am not willing to share my values, or through experience I know that my values are not going to win an argument, I switch to Te to provide a logically supported reason that meets the needs of my values that I then do not have to share.

Te is the epitomy of what makes the J stand out over the P in the J-P dimension, Logical decision making, using lists and tools to demonstrate a decision and remain organized. At the time I took that instrument I was the senior instructor for a senior level Army Reserve course and was tasked to re-develop the entire course. At the time I was up to my eyeballs in organization, lists of tasks, and reporting to several very senior leaders on its progress. Logical decisionmaking is what the Army is all about and I learned to do it well. So it is no surprise that I was probably reflecting what turns out to be a very comfortable function for me and it showed in the instrument that day.

For this reason more than any other, using best fit type and allowing the person to decide without influence from the practitioner as to their preferred best-fit type code is so important in helping that person understand themselves. It truly was for me.

What do you think?