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. Recently, Mike gave a talk about the MBTI to a group from the LeadU community. Here are some highlights from that discussion.

Mike uses the MBTI Step 2 (Form Q) in his work with Leadership University. There is more complete information with this version of the inventory when you consider that each preference pair is sub-divided into five facets per dichotomy for a total of 20 facets. Mike recommends that anyone using the MBTI in a professional capacity with clients for leadership development gravitate to using the Step 2 version.

Of prime importance for those using the MBTI is understanding their Dominant Function. The Dominant Function is the one that we are most conscious of and use most often. The first step is to be able to identify what that is for each type.

Dominant Function revealed

Each type has a four letter code. The 1st (inner) letter and the 4th (outer letter) refer to attitudes (orientation) and the middle two letters describe functions (mental processes). The 4th letter in the four letter type code – the outer attitude determines how we deal with the outer world – in other words which function we extravert. And as Mike points out everyone deals with the outer world.

If the 4th letter is J that means that the person deals with the outer world with one of the Judging functions of Thinking or Feeling. If the 4th letter is P that indicates that you deal with the outer world with one of the perceiving functions of Sensing or Inuition.

Attitude………………….Perceiving Functions……………Judging Functions………….. Outer Attitude
Extraversion……..……. Sensing……………………………..Thinking…………………………Judging
Introversion……………. Intuition ……………………………Feeling…………………………..Perceiving

With a person who has a preference for Introversion you have an extra step in order to discover the Dominant Function because that function will be Introverted. You can find it sitting right beside the Extraverted Function in the four letter type code.

Example one: ESFP – The outer attitude is P and therefore for the ESFP the Extraverted Function is the Perceiving Function of Sensing. Since this person is an Extravert the Dominant Function is the same as the Extraverted Funtion – Extraverted Sensing

Example two: INTJ – The outer attitude is J and therefore for the INTJ the Extraverted Function is the Judging Function of Thinking. Since this person is an Introvert the Dominant Function will be the Introverted Function that sits beside Thinking – Introverted Intuition

Since 55% to 60% of the population has a preference for Introversion, it is important to understand that this large number of people deal with you in the outer world with their Auxiliary or Second Function. This Extraverted Auxiliary Function can be best understood as being the Lieutenant who does the administrative work for the General which is the Dominant Introverted Function.

From the INTP example above the Extraverted Thinking is doing the bidding of the Dominant Function of Introverted Intuition. Since the Introvert spends a significant amount of time with the Auxiliary Function, They tend to be more articulate with that function because of the density of behaviour unlike the Extravert who spends most of there time in their Dominant Function only.

While external situations may dictate that we can’t behave in our preferred circumstance, most people spend 60 – 70% of their time in their Dominant and Auxiliary Function.

Judgers and Perceivers are extremely different people. Perceivers take in information to solve problems. You can hear the dangling sentences and observe the results in pressure prompted approach. Judgers never want to leave things open… they want to have things decided. Consequently they don’t deal well with ambiguity.

The following “Ladder of Inference” which is read from bottom up was developed by Chris Argyris:

  • Conclusion
  • Judging of perception based on criteria
  • Perception
  • Data

Judgers (contractors) use the top two steps of the ladder – quickly going past gathering data to the two steps of their experience of the data and the conclusion – limiting the amount of information they take in

Perceivers (divergers) use the bottom two rungs and stay open by limiting their decision making.

Note:Coaches, consultants and trainers who wish to help people to understand how they process better and how to appreciate the differences of others in the workplace will benefit from the training that is part of the MBTI accredition process. Understanding the foundational pieces allows you to unpack how to apply the information. Identifying the Dominant Function is only step one toward finding the whole function sequence and what this means to how we function in the world. What are your best practices as a type professional?

Category: MBTI Facts
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