Effective Team Building by Using MBTI Personality Strengths

Updated on June 1, 2020
Ms Dee profile image

Deidre has a Masters in applied linguistics and translation for her 20 years overseas, then she worked as a certified provider of the MBTI®.

How to Tap an Employee's Full Potential

A business or corporation is made up of people. When only 20% of the people who make up the organization are fully engaged in their particular job in that organization, most of the potential is left untapped. How to bring out this potential becomes a very important question.

Given due attention, management skills applied to bring out this ‘people potential’ can productively direct the energy from the potential of each individual and enhance the potential of the whole group or organization—a potential worth exponentially greater than all of its individuals.

Now that’s what I call ‘productive’!

This increase in corporate potential by the full engagement of people in their work can only happen when tapping into the energy of each individual's potential or where the individuals each like to direct his or her energy.

Coaching for Work Engagement and Retention

Matching people to where they naturally like to direct their energy has the effect also of making the organization a friendly, open, helpful group of associates, rather than a collection of self-opinionated, cantankerous loud-mouths, or worn out unproductive individuals working in low gear.

Talent in a physical strength (by Munsterbusiness.ie)
Talent in a physical strength (by Munsterbusiness.ie) | Source

Natural Strength or Talent

Just as a professional athlete has a recognized physical talent or a natural aptitude to be strong in some area of physical performance, so does an individual have natural aptitudes or talents inherent to his or her particular personality type. When those natural aptitudes are not recognized and employed in the person’s work, he or she will then experience loss of interest and start to divert creative energies in other directions.

This is why we want each individual team member doing tasks for which they have

  1. a natural aptitude, and
  2. a great chance to shine, showcasing their talent.

The Team Advantage

We want to fit the natural aptitudes of individuals with work that matches; put round pegs in round holes—not square ones. When round pegs are forced into square holes, just one or two people on a team in such a mismatch can ruin the performance of the whole team.

However, despite this risk of a few bad apples causing ruination, there is an overriding advantage in a group-based workforce which makes it attractive. A group or team working towards a shared common goal actually engenders a fuller utilization of the strengths of each of the team members.

This is because groups are particularly good at combining talents and providing innovative solutions to possible unfamiliar problems. This is especially true in cases where there is no well-established approach or procedure.

It is this wider talent and knowledge-set of a group has a distinct advantage over that of the individual.

Energy Direction and Context Requirements

The talent and knowledge-set of a team is identified as we determine these two things about the natural aptitude of each team member.

  1. The unique direction in which each directs his or her energy
  2. The context requirements to drive his or her motivation

The energy direction of the 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types in the following table is based on each type's basic beliefs, values and set of expectations about the world.

  • Discover the personality type of each team member, and read on this chart where that type's energy is naturally directed.
  • Match the natural direction of the team member's energy with work that fits and the following context requirements.

16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types

Energy Direction
Context Requirements
Taking expedient action that has good impact; Taking shortcuts if necessary; Finding quick fixes, optimizing every moment
Various big challenges requiring quick action; High odds of overcoming obstacles; Practical and expedient processes
Consulting on expedient solutions to presenting problems; Suggesting shortcuts if necessary; Troubleshooting quick fixes
Various problems or projects to resolve expeditiously, even if risky; Changing circumstances to which to apply their great observation skills
Exciting and impactful performance, especially for the well being of people; Influencing others; Socializing; Entertaining
Goals that connect directly to serving people; Non-repetitious actions or tasks; Routines allowed to vary
Artful composing in some expressive action; Pleasing others with their artful compositions; Finding tactful ways around rules
Outlet for the composing talent, even if risky; Variety; Opportunity to challenge the tried and true
Setting things right; Meeting and reinforcing the standards and goals set by respected authority
Organizational support of the team and its members in their duties and in achieving goals; Stable system within which to work
Preserving the organization; Establish and maintain regulatory process so all can work towards common goals; Getting more production
Their hunger for responsibility is not taken advantage of too much; Responsible coworkers who perform well
Stabilizing and doing whatever is needed to keep the organization running; Promoting harmony
Appreciated; Affirmation from others; Work that serves others; Full schedule; Security; Stability
Humble service; Being a team player; Protecting others so to preserve stability; Working hard and cooperatively
Predictable; Stable; No need to function in a one-upmanship fashion; Achievement and aspirations as a team
Implementing how to reach some visualized goal; Complex problems to solve; Change; Developing long-range strategies
Learning opportunities; Logical and not over-emotional; Movement toward logical rather than unbridled possibilities; Coherence and excellent data
Analyzing how to better reach some visualized complicated goal; Charting precise plans; Developing long-range strategies for change
Learning opportunities; High expectations of people and accuracy; Permission to solve any problems and long-term results;
Seeking precision, splitting hairs; Complex problems to solve; Any problem to tackle; Bringing change
Where the complex challenges are; Constant opportunity to learn; Logical and not over-emotional, exaggeration or bungling
Seeking precision; Incorporating new pieces into a puzzle; Developing long-range strategies for product (re-) design
Where asked for solutions to complex problems; Constant opportunity to learn; Not over-emotional and lack of willpower not acceptable; Non-stagnate
Facilitate the bringing out of true potential in anyone; Seeing inferences others do not; Getting others to work well together and change viewpoint
Conducive to own beliefs and values; Ideas and programs to help people; Discussions about life; Regular interaction with others
Bringing out highest & fullest potential in anyone; Seeing inferences others do not; Making a better world; Guiding people to work together
Meaningful work relationships; Where relationship insight & quick response to human need is a higher value than logic; Discussions about life
Cheering on everyone's best potential; Seeing some true inferences others do not; Insisting on others' satisfaction as first priority
Meaningful work relationships; Decreasing interpersonal conflicts; Implied rules upheld; Discussions about deeper meaning of everything
Encouraging individual potential to further emerge; Perceiving relationship nuances; Bettering the workplace, even at cost of own wants
Meaningful quality work relationships; Using ideas and programs to help people; Chance for intimate talks about life; Harmonious workplace
Context is required for the best use of team member energy

Fully Achieve Team Member Strengths

Placing the individual to a job that matches his or her energy direction, and directing the group of team members in work on a shared common goal will engender a fuller utilization of the strengths of each of the team members. They will be engaged in their work with energy and purpose.

Tap into and bring out the full potential of your people in this way and just watch them grow and the potential of the whole group or organization multiply!

Working Together: A Personality-Centered Approach to Management, Third Edition
Working Together: A Personality-Centered Approach to Management, Third Edition
Best suited for those already somewhat familiar with the Myers-Briggs types, this describes in detail how each personality type functions in both leadership and worker roles, with the goal of maximizing performance through understanding varying traits, values, and motivations that are present in each.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2011 Deidre Shelden


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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh, fabulous advice! I love the breakdown in the table, too! Voted up!

    • Ms Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Deidre Shelden 

      9 years ago from Texas, USA

      It sure would improve work and job experience, Writerly yours! Orgs need to buy into trying it enough to hire the expert coaches to make it happen. Maybe selling this approach is lacking? Thanks so much for your comment!

    • profile image

      Writerly yours 

      9 years ago

      Ms. Dee,

      This is so on point! It is so true. If only certain organizations truly tapped into this Worlplaces would really shine.

      Voted up and bookmarked!

    • Ms Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Deidre Shelden 

      9 years ago from Texas, USA

      Hi Pamela! Thanks for being the first to comment on this article and for your vote. So glad to know from your own experience that you see how this information is helpful for team building--and not only that but in our lives, in general.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This is an excellent hub on team building. I am out of the work force now but team building skills can come in handy in so many areas in life. Voted/rated up


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