MBTI Part 1: Understanding the Dynamics of Your Yearbook Team

Updated: Jan 20


Before an advisor can think about pulling together all the different pieces that make a yearbook, they need to think about pulling a diverse collection of students into their team.


Each job involved in putting together a Yearbook is hard all by itself, and working together and depending on one another is even more challenging. If your team is struggling or hasn’t got it all together yet, well...you’re not alone. Most teams face challenges, like:

  • Unclear or unproductive communication between team members,

  • Each person’s different approach or attitude can lead to a lack of respect or trust,

  • The team can’t make consensus decisions when required,

  • Team members have unrealistic or unexamined expectations for one another,

  • The team has varying levels of understanding and buy-in regarding the common goals.

There are two key things to understand about teams...and, as a team leader, to understand about yourself.

  1. Not everybody is the same. By that, we mean not everybody thinks or feels or reacts or gets motivated or excited like you do.

  2. That doesn’t make them wrong. It’s a good thing that people are different; in fact, we deeply and desperately need all the different, weird, mysterious, and incomprehensible people around us.

Truly successful teams take advantage of the unique strengths and perspectives of the individuals that make up the group. Some of our goals at UYB are:

  • To help you and your team understand your individual strengths and challenges,

  • To help you and your team understand how to better communicate with one another,

  • To help you set realistic expectations for each other,

  • To improve conflict management between you and your team by improving your appreciation of individual differences.


"Truly successful teams take advantage of the unique strengths and perspectives of the individuals that make up the group."

One way to do this is by using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or the MBTI. It was developed by researchers Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers as a framework for understanding communication and working preferences. Myers-Briggs types have been widely used in educational and professional settings for decades and have been validated in over 8,000 research studies.


As a team-building exercise, the MBTI can be used as a way to open up topics and get people talking about themselves and about the team. By understanding personality types and the often-profound differences between people, team members can begin to understand and discuss the dynamics of their team in ways they’ve never done before. What are the benefits of using the MBTI in a team environment? The main benefits we’ve seen are:

● increasing self-awareness

● understanding how others perceive your actions

● identifying your assumptions when you interpret others’ actions

● learning to change and adapt to others around you

● improving communication

● with the end goal of strengthening teamwork and increasing productivity.


About the MBTI instrument

It’s a questionnaire, not a test; there are no right-or-wrong answers. In the most common version, there are 93 “forced-choice” questions, “forced-choice” meaning that you typically have only two options for answers. It usually takes 30-45 minutes to complete. Your results are confidential; you only share them if you want.


About the results

There are four scales, or four “main questions,” that the MBTI seeks to answer, and all four have to do with your preferences. So, in essence, what it’s asking is:

● How do you prefer to get your energy?

○ Extraverts (E-types)

○ Introverts (I-types)

● How do you prefer to gather information?

○ Sensors (S-types)

○ Intuitors (N-types)

● How do you prefer to make decisions?

○ Thinkers (T-types)

○ Feelers (F-types)

● How do you prefer to relate to the outside world?

○ Judgers (J-types)

○ Perceivers (P-types)

We will soon talk about what each of those letters mean, in some detail.


The four preferences together make up your whole type, and since there are four variables, there are 16 possible personality types. For example, I score as an INFJ. My wife is an ENFP.


Before we go further, we need a few disclaimers:


● These are indications of your preferences.

○ That is, they are an indication of how you’ll respond most of the time, or how you feel most comfortable in responding.

○ You will not respond this way all the time.

○ Also, you might clearly show a particular preference (which means you have a high score, like an “80% T” score), or you may land much more towards the middle (like a “15% T” score), which would mean your preferences are much less obvious and you can go either way.

● Type is generally ingrained and does not change dramatically over time.

○ However, the clarity (the % number) of your preferences may change as you get older, have life experiences, and adapt to new situations. When I was a younger fellow, I was a clear T, somewhere up 60-70%, but now I’ve moved much closer towards the F side. My other three scales are about the same.

● MBTI is not the only way to measure these variables, and it is not the only answer.

○ Each of us has other variables, strengths, and differences that make us unique.

○ This is only one part of the puzzle. So, your MBTI ‘type’ is not your identity.

● Each type is equally valid; there are no wrong answers. The MBTI does not assess:

○ Intelligence (one ‘type’ is not smarter than another)

○ Skill (it doesn’t measure what you’re good at, only how you prefer to work and think)

○ Normalcy (there are no good/bad or right/wrong or normal/abnormal results)


Interested in learning more about the specifics of the MBTI instrument? Stay tuned for our next post!


There’s a lot more to be said about team building, and a lot more to be said about the MBTI. United Yearbook offers free MBTI workshops to our clients, so contact us if you want to take the next step in strengthening your team.


United Yearbook offers resources, curriculum, and on-site workshops on this and other topics. To learn more, contact us at info@UnitedYearbookPrinting.com or visit our website at www.unitedyearbook.net.

 

Dr. John Tuttle, Curriculum Specialist & Lecturer


Dr. John Tuttle is a lecturer for UYB’s in-class workshops, and also works with curriculum development, podcasts, and blog posts. He holds an M.A. in Philosophy of Religion and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Biola University, where for ten years he was Director of Student Communications. For several years, Dr. Tuttle has also worked as an adjunct faculty member within Biola’s “great books” program.



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