What is a "type"? For example:
“He’s not her type.”
“What type of person is capable of doing a thing like that!”
“She’s not the right type of person for this job.”
When we talk about “type” it really depends on the lens through which we look at people. Through the lens of generosity, the taxonomy might be as simple as Takers and Givers. In romantic relationships, we might say there are three types of people: Anxious, Avoidant, and Secure. And, if you’re like my dad, there are only three types of people in the world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. But the types I’m going to talk about (with the help of subject matter expert Ed Childs, a career educator at DePaul University) come from an officially recognized typology: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
Now, I understand that the human personality is infinitely complex and that people are shaped not only by nature, but nurture and fate as well. With that said, I believe every individual, as unique as they may be, fall into predictable patterns and preferences and that the MBTI seems to do a pretty good job of crystalizing these patterns/preferences into specific buckets or MBTIs. For more information about the MBTI and a brief history of the evolution of typology theory, please refer to http://16mbti.blogspot.com/2013/07/superhero-mbti_8.html
Personality typology has always intrigued me in an academic way, but it wasn’t until I was struggling with career dissatisfaction and trying to figure out what I should be doing with my life that I pursued the topic for its practical applications. And when I started writing fiction, I thought a basic understanding of personality types would come in handy for building realistic characters. There are even books out there on writing fiction, such as Plot vs. Character by Jeff Gerke, that reserve a chapter for a discussion on the MBTI. The fact that the MBTI is also used by most Fortune 100 companies is further testimony to its efficacy and credibility. The MBTI assessment won’t tell you how smart or emotionally healthy a person is, but it will tell you whether a job candidate is suited for a job in accounting or human resources, energized by other people, or more likely to see the forest through the trees.
The purpose of this blog is to share anecdotes, vignettes, or little slices of life that shed light on the nuances of personality and how they can cause friction in our relationships at work, at home, or anywhere for that matter. More importantly, we hope that the takeaway for you, the reader, is greater self-awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses and an ability to read other people’s "type" so that you have greater influence over the outcome of your interactions with them.
Before we begin, here's a quick reference guide. There are four dimensions that go into the sixteen possible personality types:
E - Extroverted (Expressive) vs. I - Introverted (Reserved)
S - Sensing (Observant) vs. N - Intuitive (Introspective)
T - Thinking (Tough-minded) vs. F - Feeling (Friendly)
J - Judging (Scheduling) vs. P - Perceiving (Probing)
For a full list and explanation of all 16 types, see http://16mbti.blogspot.com/2013/07/superhero-mbti_8.html
Next up: "It's an ES_P world on the CTA"
Kurt is a writer and consultant who helps clients with marketing, IT implementations, and course design. Kurt also writes fiction and uses his unique blend of storytelling style and humor to bring nonfiction content to life.