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Effective Team Building by Using MBTI Personality Strengths

Deidre has a Masters in applied linguistics and translation for her 20 years overseas. She's worked as a certified provider of the MBTI®.

Everyone has different kinds of strength. In this case, this man has the physical kind.

Everyone has different kinds of strength. In this case, this man has the physical kind.

How to Tap an Employee's Full Potential

A business or corporation is made up of people—and when only 20% of the people who make it up are fully engaged in their particular job in that organization, that's a lot of untapped potential. 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’!

The Benefits of Tapping Into Potential

Increasing corporate potential by people being fully engaged in their work can only happen when you tap into where each individual likes to direct his or her energy. And matching people to their natural passions and skills doesn't just increase productivity; It also makes 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.

Natural Strength or Talent

Just as a professional athlete has a recognized physical talent or a natural aptitude in a particular area, 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 engaged in the person’s work, he or she will experience a loss of interest and start to divert creative energies in other directions.

This is why we want each individual team member to do 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 are 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.

Steps to Using Myers-Briggs to Tap Employee Potential

  • 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 the following context requirements.

16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types

Context is required for the best use of team member energy

TypeEnergy DirectionContext 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

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 to 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!

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


Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 14, 2011:

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

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on April 14, 2011:

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!

Writerly yours on April 14, 2011:

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!

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on April 14, 2011:

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.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 14, 2011:

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