I’m ENTJ, E and J very borderline, N and T very pronounced. What difference does the relative strength of tendencies make?

It is very common for people to refer to the “strength” of a preference. In fact the MBTI manual talks about this interpretation of having “more “ or “less” of a preference as “the most presuasive source of misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the MBTI.” In the official version of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator there is a Preference Clarity Index which has been designed to illustrated how sure a person is that they prefer one pole of a preference pair over the other. It does not refer to “amount” of a preference.

One of the preliminary steps when you take the MBTI with a certified practitioner is to identify which type is the “best fit” for you. This is done by an investigation of what you know about yourself outside of the inventory. Those whose results show a clear or very clear preference are consistent in their responses to which of the pairs they prefer when forced to chose on the inventory. This level of clarity does not indicate that they have excellence in using this preference however. Those who have a slight level of clarity were not as consistent in their responses but they will be able to get clearer on which of the preference pairs is a better fit for them with help from the practitioner.

In your particular situation, the Step 2 version of the MBTI can help you get a clearer picture on the Extraversion/Intraversion pair as well as the Judging/Perceiving pair. The MBTI code ENTJ indicates through the J at the end that what you show to the world is the Judging preference of Thinking. If your preference is for Extraversion (ENTJ as opposed to INTJ) it will mean that Thinking is your dominant function – that is that Thinking that is most often in the driver’s seat. However if your prefernce is for Intraversion (INTJ) the Dominant function is Intuition. Your dominant function will really influence how you process and how you consequently show up to others.

Gaining full benefit from knowing your type is much larger than reading a type description. Understanding the interplay of the functions will help you to see what is behind the description and the way you think, act and communicate. The ultimate goal is to help you understand how to utilize the dynamics of the MBTI to function in the best way in your life.

I sent out an invitation to people on Twitter and Facebook and through my blog to submit their burning MBTI questions for answer by Mike Jay. Mike is a Master Coach and a Global thinker – he may even be a one man think tank. He is a voracious learner and understands human dynamics and development which he teaches through his work at BCoach, coach training and Leadership University. Later on I will be posting some insights from the session with Mike but right now I wanted to answer these questions from my perspective as a type professional. I hope this sheds some light on these questions for you. Please ask anything that is on your mind about type in the comments below and I will do my best to answer or find another resource for you.

Category: MBTI Facts / Uncategorized
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4 Responses to “Burning MBTI Questions Answered #1”

Harriet Welch March 5, 2009

A couple of the questions on the MBTI test are very difficult to answer. I know that you are supposed to go with your first instinct, and that sounds great in theory, but when a question is staring you in the face and you have no idea which way feels stronger to you, what should you do? One or two of the questions stuck with me and took me literally months to decide. I took them very seriously and I wanted to really search inside of myself to see how I felt. I know you can’t do that when you are sitting down to take the test – so what to do and how does that affect the results?

Tess March 6, 2009

Sandy, thanks for this answer to my question, really interesting. When I’ve done MBTI before, it seems to have been approached in a more formulaic way than you describe here, with a “those are your answers so that is what you must be” rather than arriving at ‘best fit’ with input and help from the practitioner.

Sandy McMullen March 6, 2009

Now I am really curious Tess whether you agree with ENTJ as your type. I suspect that according to your question that you would be quite comfortable with the Rational temperament. perhaps simply noticing as situations come up at work and at home will help clarify the “attitudes” which are the E/I and J/P pairs. Thanks for letting me know that this answer was useful in some way for you. Best of luck!

BTW I once interviewed an ENTJ lawyer and I was so taken with her focus and laser like thinking it was amazing.