In our last post, we talked about working together as a team, and made the point that we aren’t all the same, which means (a) we can’t treat everyone the same, and (b) teamwork is hard! However, doing work on your team will almost certainly result in a better-working team!
We also introduced the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, as a tool that may help you and your yearbook team better understand yourselves and each other, as well as where friction or challenges may arise.
Now, let’s talk about each of those letters and help you understand the interesting ways that you and your team are likely different from each other!
E’s and I’s
Which world do you prefer, the external world or the world inside your own head? Where do you put your attention and get your energy?
Everyone spends some time extraverting and some time introverting. Don’t confuse Extraversion with being loud and brash; it’s not necessarily so. And don't confuse Introversion with shyness or reclusiveness; not the same thing!
"Which world do you prefer, the external world or the world inside your own head? Where do you put your attention and get your energy?"
Energized by being with other people
Energized by spending time alone
Often enjoy being the center of attention
Usually avoid being the center of attention
Tend to think out loud
Think things through before communicating
Communicate with enthusiasm
How Extraverts Work (on average)
Where Extraverts Struggle
Need lots of interaction with people; open-door group-oriented spaces are great!
Singular, isolated activities without in-person interaction
Prefer a variety of tasks and a faster-paced environment
Desk work or research-heavy positions may feel oppressive
Often thinks and talks simultaneously; they may not know what they think until they say it out loud
Won’t enjoy workgroups where thinking out loud to solve problems is unacceptable
Great in meetings...as long as they get a chance to talk
May not be very aware of what is going on inside themselves
How Introverts Work (on average)
Where Introverts Struggle
Need time and space to concentrate and focus on a task
When there’s too many concurrent tasks and demands or too much verbal feedback
Prefer environments where they are able to act autonomously and solve problems on their own
Brainstorming meetings where instant ideas are expected...this is hell!
Prefer to work independently without interruptions
Lots of chatting and large-group interactions may be draining
What each Type can give to the team
● Provide the outwardly-directed energy needed to move into action
● Offer responsiveness to what is going on in the environment
● Have a natural inclination to converse and to network
● Provide the inwardly-directed energy needed for focused reflection
● Offer stability by considering enduring ideas and consistency
● Have a natural tendency to relish the solitary jobs an extravert would hate
For Carl Jung, the psychologist on whose work the MBTI is based, the E-I pair is the most fundamental distinction of the four. There are more Extraverts (almost two-thirds) than Introverts (just over one-third) in the population. Males on average are slightly more introverted than females.
One illustration often used is the after-a-long-day party. Both Extraverts and Introverts may enjoy the party equally; the difference is often “will this require me to expend energy?” (Introvert) or “will this recharge me?” (Extravert). For an Introvert, they may still go, but only after a deep breath and an energy drink. For an Extravert, the party is the perfect prescription to refill their tank and they can’t wait to get there. After the party, the Introvert will likely want to be alone, their daily capacity for talking exceeded; the Extravert is more awake than they’ve been all day and could talk all night.
"The difference is often “will this require me to expend energy?” (Introvert) or “will this recharge me?” (Extravert)."
Are you an S or an N?
How do you take in information? Do you pay more attention to information that comes in through your five senses (Sensing), or do you pay more attention to the patterns and possibilities that you see in the information you receive (Intuition)?
Like the other three pairs of traits (letters), sensing and intuition are a spectrum rather than a binary Yes/No. Everyone uses both sensing and intuition, but typically will use one much more than the other.
Focus on the tangible, the here and now
Trust the certain and concrete
Trust inspiration and inference
Value realism and common sense
Value imagination and innovation
Like to use and hone established skills
Bored easily after mastering tasks
Present (and absorb) information in a step-by-step linear fashion
Present (and absorb) information through leaps, in a roundabout manner
Work well with details; literal
Tend to be general and ‘big-picture’ oriented; figurative
How Sensors Work (on average)
Where Sensors Struggle
Drawn to realistic/practical work activities that diagnose & solve immediate problems
Having to come up with new ways when the old ones work just fine!
Will likely prefer to develop expertise in a specific area
If they’re forced to be a ‘generalist’ instead of a ‘specialist’
Like working with concrete issues
Abstraction and complexity may be frustrating
Want to be able to see the end result
Dissatisfaction when no measurable progress is made
How Intuitives Work (on average)
Where Intuitives Struggle
Like jobs that require them to “read between the lines” and discern meaning
Jobs needing high attention to detail may be draining
Drawn to work where insight and imagination are key
Continued long-term projects may become boring
May prefer to remain a generalist
Having to do things “the way we’ve always done it”
Enjoy learning a skill and then moving on to something new
Keeping focus on the present rather than jumping to future possibilities.
What each Type can give to the team
● Have a mastery of the facts and attention to details
● Bring a knowledge of what materials and resources are available
● Appreciate knowing and doing what works
● Know by way of insight and attention to meanings
● Bring a grasp of what is possible and what the trends are
● Appreciate doing what hasn’t been tried before there are
"How do you take in information?"
There are by far more Sensing people in the population than Intuitives. Sensors make up almost three-fourths of all people, while Intuitives are just over 26%. Females are on average slightly more Sensing than males.
How do you interact well with someone of the opposite type? As with any of these MBTI categories, we suggest that you try to present things in a way that they will understand. Try to imagine how your sensor or intuitive counterpart would best respond to a particular request. Intuitives could try to put their thoughts into more concrete terms and examples, complete with some data (numbers, even!). Sensors should attempt to explain what they are doing in terms of its implications for the big picture, and avoid getting bogged down in the details.
As with all the letter pairs, we all have aspects of both sensing and intuition inside of us, and we rely on them to different extents. And there is no “better type” between sensors and intuitives. Especially on a yearbook staff, it’s a team game and winning means working together, despite differences, to achieve great things.
Interested in learning more about the rest of the MBTI instrument? Stay tuned for part 3 of this three-part series!
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.