Myers-Briggs is about how the mind works. The four cognitive styles, ST, NT, SF and NF combine two
dimensions of cognitive style. S and N answer the question of epistemology (How we know and perceive
the world and take in information). S and N can stand in the same time and place and perceive two
different worlds. T and F answer the question of How We Decide? They will look at the same
information and situation and come to different decisions. Before reading further take a Myers - Briggs or
similar (Keirsey Sorter, Jungian) test.
Table 1 - 16 Personality Archetypes with links
ST SF NF NT
ESTJ ISFJ INFJ INTJ
Decider Lone Ranger Caregiver Mastermind
(BUREAUCRAT) (SUPER) (REVOLUTIONARY) (POLITICIAN)
ISTJ ESFJ INFP INTP
Inspector Guardian Change Agent Architect
(BUREAUCRAT) (SUPER) (REVOLUTIONARY) (POLITICIAN)
ESTP ESFP ENTP
Promoter Rebel Engineer
(OPINION) (REFORMER (PRINCE)
ISTP ISFP ENTJ
Sculptor Adopter Valiant
(OPINION) (REFORMER) (PRINCE)
P and J answer the question, How You Like Life to be (2 life orientations)? Judgers prefer order, plans,
decisive behavior and closure. Perceivers want to be flexible, spontaneous, adaptive, and open to the
enjoyment of life. Extroversion and Introversion are two LIFE ATTITUDES and have to different
answers to the question, What World Do You Live In? Extraverts inhabit the outer world of action, cause
and effect - and introverts live in the inner world of consciousness, ideas, and reflection.
SJ's Traditionalist 43 %
NF's Catalysts 30
NT's Visionary 13
SP's Trouble Shooter 12
DECIDER - (ESTJ) 11 %
INSPECTOR (ISTJ) 10
GUARDIAN (ESFJ) 12
LONE RANGER (ISFJ) 10
CHARISMATIC (ENFJ) 7
CRUSADER (ENFP) 9
WORLD CAREGIVER (INFJ) 7
CHANGE AGENT (INFP) 7
VALIANT PRINCE (ENTJ) 3
PRINCE ENGINEER (ENTP) 2
MASTERMIND (INTJ) 5
ARCHITECT (INTP) 3
PROMOTER (ESTP) 3
SCULPTOR (ISTP) 2
REBEL (ESFP) 5
EARLY ADOPTER (ISFP) 3
You can derive your Myers-Briggs (MB) letters, apart from any forced choice test, by
answering the following four questions.
1. Where does your ENERGY come from? Introvert or Extrovert This is not about
being shy or outgoing. This is a very different definition of the terms Introvert and
Extrovert; it's about your energy.
E Extraverts want to take a break by joining the party and interacting socially to get
energized. Es can do solitary activity, but find it draining. They are drained by solitary
situations (being at computer, hiking). Es energy is directed primarily outward, towards
people and things outside of themselves. Es keep up many friendships. According to
Jung, Es are "more influenced by their surroundings than by their own intentions"
(302). They are energized by belonging to some crowd, society, being around people,
and their sense perceptions. They will express their views out-loud to hear what they are
thinking. Extroverts prefer relationships and the world of other people. Extraverts are
the most resistant to burnout, while introverts are the most susceptible (Layman &
I - Introverts take a break and head for the beach, watch TV, or read a book. They are
drained by social situations, and keep a few close friends. Is can be life of party but
find it draining. They like alone time, and thinking before they speak. Is energy is more
directed inward (the world within), towards their own thoughts, ideas, perceptions, and
reactions. Yet, according to Jung I's are more into the subjective experience, the world
within (rather than the external world), and see the external world as somewhat
threatening. Crowds to not energize them. They trust their own judgments and
perceptions more than those of others, and will think an idea before expressing it.
Isabel Briggs Myers (1995: 56) says Introverts are "more at home in the world of ideas
than in the world of people and things." Introverts live in the inner world of thoughts
Choose E or I and write it here ______________
2. What are your ways of KNOWING the world? Sensing or iNtuitive Focus is on
kind of information you select when you are making choices and are about to lead.
S - Sensing (concrete, specific, applied) using qualitative data from the five senses.
Sensing is concrete and practical (what is the physical reality here?). Sensing gathers
knowledge about the more immediate and specific details of affect, emotion, and
humanity. S's take fact courses that help them keep their feet on the ground. Sensing is
more detailed oriented, able to find the trees in the forest. Sensing archetypes make up
about 75% of the world population, the rest are intuitives who operate more by flashes
of insight, hunches and imagination. Sensing people may miss the emerging patterns,
since they focus on the stability. They focus more on the short-term.
N - iNtuition (conceptual, abstract, theoretical) able to see the big picture. iNtuitives
are looking more at meaning from a gestalt (or big picture) view, more apt to explore
connections, and ask why. Ns sign up for theory courses. iNtuitives are able to find
forests, but not see trees. They use telescopes more than microscopes. iNtuitives see the
gestalt and ask why the whole picture is the way it is. iNtuitives seek flashes of insight
and imagination. They play a hunch without any practical facts. Intuitives observe
history and learn by experience. iNtuitives can see the chaos and complexity patterns
and will trace nonlinear relationships. More long-term horizon.
Choose S or N and write it here _______________
3. What are your ways of making DECISIONS? Thinking or Feeling Recall the
debates over values and data between Spock and Kirk in the Star Trek series over
choices they must make in each situation and how they arrived at conclusions.
T - Thinking makes head-oriented choices (rational & cerebral). They are cool,
objective, and very direct; their head rules their heart. Jung says "Thinking roughly
speaking, tells you what [something] is" (306). Logic wins out over sentiments. Like
Mr. Spock in the old series, and Mr. Data in the new Star Trek series, these are thinking
(rational, organized, unemotional, logical, analytical and impersonal) choice-makers
who calculate risk factors for each choice. Notice wrong reasoning. What little
leadership research there is relating to M-B suggests that Thinking archetype correlate
with more 'analytic' problem solving and decision preferences (Mattlin, Wethington &
F - Feeling is the heart choice (emotions count), and correlated more with concern for
people. The heart, not the head, rules. Sentiment wins out over logic. Fs are sensitive,
concerned about people and being appreciated. They like things warm, harmonious, and
friendly. They notice when people need support. Decisions are based upon the personal
consequences for other people. Jung says Fs focus on choices "agreeable or not, to be
accepted or rejected (306)". Feeling is also more human-values oriented, wanting to
decide issues based upon spiritual, emotional, and human values, rather than being
limited to impersonal analyses of impersonal data.
Choose T or F and write it here ________________
4. What is your ATTITUDE TOWARDS LIFE AND THE WORLD? Perceiving
or Judging. It has nothing to do with whether a person is judgmental or perceptive. It
is more about attitude and how they feel about closure.
P - Perceivers are flexible, like to keep their options open, are accepting of change, and
very spontaneous. They have more of a play ethic, and will play with many possibilities
before making a purchase, deciding on a mate, or choosing an occupation. Ps like to
experience as much of the world as possible. Ps are divergers, who expand the
uniqueness and possibilities into endless variety and combinations, before deciding
upon some plan of action. Perceivers take their time and keep their options open.
Perceivers have the attitude: I can create combinations that never were before if I am
patient. They will change horses in midstream.
J - Judgers view life as a series of choices to be made with categories, and plans that
should be organized quickly. Js prefer a more ordered, structured, and systematic
environment. Js are planned, orderly, and systematic, and driven by a strong work
ethic. Their attitude is to seek convergence and closure that they arrive at instantly.
They like to have an issue settled, instead of up in the air. They will find a horse they
love, and ride just that one.
Choose P or J and write it here _________________
Write the letter choices to the four questions here ____ ____ ____ ____
You can get some idea of validity of the basic pattern of your letters by looking at the
main two-letter combinations. Until rather recently, it was felt that the main types were
just ST, SF, NT, and NF.
ST - Sensing-Thinking Types - Stress systematic decision making with quantitative,
not qualitative data (Nutt, 1986). They establish order, set up control and manage with
certainty (Mitroff & Mitroff, 1980). They prefer tasks that are structured and prefer to
take very few risks. There is a focus on immediate problems, the quick fix, and the use
of standard producers and playing by the rules. STs dive into the details and look for
specifics and some say to find step-by-step progress (Haley & Stumpf, 1989; Haley,
1997). Once set with a decision, doubt and opposition do not deter them, and they may
resist a reanalysis.
SF - Sensing-Feeling Types - these are people oriented decision makers. They
welcome people's opinions, and concentrate on qualitative and more affective and
evaluative information. More concerned with facts about people that about things.
Short term focus on problems of today, but only with human implications. Harmony is
preferred and they are quick to reconcile interpersonal differences (Haley & Stumpf,
1989; Haley, 1997).
NT - iNtuitive-Thinking Types (Visionaries) - focus on nonlinear problems and
studying patterns in the data (Nutt, 1986). Head for the more general information rather
then the details and specifics. Prefer analysis, but will make bold intuitive leaps into the
unknown. More long-range in their thinking and strategic plans. Not big on
implementation. Will dive into a complex problem and try to organize them into
simpler ones. Can be quite idealistic and even impersonal, and will ignore the nay
sayers around them (Haley & Stumpf, 1989; Haley, 1997).
NF - iNtuitive-Feeling Types (Catalysts) - focus on judgment and experience, and
portraying their own personal views as the facts (Nutt, 1986). There are few rules in
their decision-making and they rely on intuitive perception. They will construct open
ended, non-linear, and ill-defined problems and seek fresh, human possibilities. More
focus on the broad themes than on specifics and seek longer-term goals. May test their
hunches (Haley & Stumpf, 1989; Haley, 1997).
More recently, the four main types (most relevant to leadership and teams) are thought
to be NF, NT, SJ, and SP (i.e. instead of ST or SF it is SJ and SP).
Experiments by Mason and Mitroff (1981) found that managers of opposite styles (i.e.,
they have no letters in common) will create an organization that is the living hell of
their opposite type. STs will tend to create something way too structured and short term
and linear than NFs might create, for example.
Below are the basic definitions of each of four dualisms that make up the 16 Myers-
Briggs personality types. Following Richardson (1996), we draw spiritual practice
implications for each. To wit, the spiritual challenge of a person is to embrace their
opposite, to make what they are not yet, their spiritual quest. The E can learn from the I,
and the S from the N, and so forth.
Associations of M-B with Spirituality
Starts with outer situation Starts with inner situation
Energized by events in outer world Energized by inner world of ideas
Likes novelty of experience Deeply focused
Gregarious Prefers inner life consciousness
Likes action Deliberate
Enjoys variety Relates the new to what has meaning
Likes talking and groups Good listeners
Lots of friends Center on reflection
Fewer close friends
Outgoing, Publicly expressive, Interacting, Speaks then
thinks, Gregarious Quiet, Reserved, Concentrating, Thinks then speaks,
SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE - Needs to take time to go
inside and reflect; stop talking and start listening; Do more SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE - Needs to get back in touch
self-absorption; Take a break from the world of action and with life and nature. Break out of the isolation and self-
people. absorption; Make a difference in the world.
Base perception on what is present here and Base perceptions on the possibilities in
now in physical experience. situations for symbolic, abstract, and mental
Prefer realistic actuality (what is) patterns
Practical and literal Seek patterns (what might be)
Observe facts directly in experience Hunches and inspiration
Go step by step Imagination in collective unconscious
Have the common sense to Use experience Read between the lines
Instincts drive action Detached and impartial
Put up with it when can not control it Dig archetypes
Prefers a life of action Follow symbolic cues
Dig abstract transformations
Practical, Specific, Feet on ground, Details, Concrete
General, Abstract, Head in clouds, Possibilities,
SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE - Needs to appreciate the Theoretical
cosmos, the mystery of inspiration.
SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE - Needs to get in touch with
life, take walks in the world
Decide by subjective process
Decide by objectives, analysis, purpose and the Stays centered on people and values
logic of cause and effect. Seeks worthwhileness of choices.
Aims for impersonal Champions and persuades
Aims for clarity Is tactful, unless passionate
Like fairness Looks at nuances and tones of experience
Aims for truth Aim for harmony
Big Left Brain Wants trusty
Detached outputting Wants to be humane
Sort it all out for honesty and truth Big Right Brain
Criticize it Attached outputting
Analyze it Seeks worth and meaning in experience
Administer it Subjective, Harmony, Heart, Mercy, Circumstances
Analytical, Clarity, Head, Justice & Rules SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE - Needs to get organized, be
more analytic and take a break from people.
SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE - Needs to get in touch with
feelings, give the left brain a break, follow a butterfly
Prefers to live life in planned way Prefers a life that is very flexible
Prefers an orderly way Prefers to keep options option
Wants things settled Prefers the more spontaneous way
Likes being decisive Keep it adaptive
Seeks closure Quite tolerant
Enjoys finishing things Opens up to life
Lots of life control Enjoys understanding things
Prefers organized religion with discipline, Enjoys life
predictability, consistency, and closure. Prefers non-religious, where life is the center
Structured, Time oriented, Decisive, Makes lists (uses
them), Organizes Flexible, Open ended, Exploring, Makes lists (loses them),
SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE - Needs to play, break a few
routines, and explore human nature. SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE - Needs to get some control
over their openness to life, and plan a few moments of
peace and control.