Personality Types and Styles
Understanding Personality Types helps us to understand the most effective way to communicate with others.
The theory of Personality Types suggests that people have a personality preference, and that our “Personality Type” indicates how we are most likely to deal with different situations that life presents, and in which environments we are most comfortable.
The theory today is that every individual has a primary mode of operation within four categories:
our flow of energy
- how we take in information
- how we prefer to make decisions
- the basic day-to-day lifestyle that we prefer
Within each of these categories, we “prefer” to be either:
- Extraverted or Introverted
- Sensing or Intuitive
- Thinking or Feeling
- Judging or Perceiving
The possible combinations of the basic preferences form 16 different Personality Types.
We all tend to prefer using one mode of operation within each category more easily and more frequently than we use the other mode of operation. Although everybody functions across the entire spectrum of the preferences, each individual has a preference which leans in one direction within the four categories. The combination of our four “preferences” defines our operating personality type.
Our Flow of Energy defines how we receive the essential part of our stimulation. Do we receive it mainly from within ourselves (Introverted) or from external sources (Extraverted)? Is our dominant function focused externally or internally?
How we Take in Information deals with our preferred method of taking in and absorbing information. Do we trust our five senses (Sensing) to take in information, or do we rely on our instincts (Intuitive)?
The third type of preference, how we prefer to Make Decisions, refers to whether we are prone to decide things based on logic and objective consideration (Thinking), or based on our personal, subjective value systems (Feeling).
The fourth preference, is concerned with how we deal with the external world on a Day-to-day Basis. Are we organized and purposeful, and more comfortable with scheduled, structured environments (Judging), or are we flexible and diverse, and more comfortable with open, casual environments (Perceiving)? From a theoretical perspective, we know that if our highest Extraverted function is a Decision Making function, we prefer Judging. If our highest Extraverted function is an Information Gathering function, we prefer Perceiving.
This does not mean that all (or even most) individuals will fall strictly into one category or another. If we learn by applying this tool that we are primarily
Extraverted, that does not mean that we don’t also perform Introverted activities. We all function in all of these realms on a daily basis. We develop the ability to function well in realms which are not native to our basic personalities. We develop some areas of ourselves more throughly than other areas. With this in mind, it becomes clear that we cannot box individuals into prescribed formulas for behavior. However, we can identify our natural preferences, and learn about our natural strengths and weaknesses within that context.