September 21, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

How To Use Myers Briggs Personality Types As a Project Manager Tool

Following from the previous post on using Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator as a project manager tool, this article will give even more clarity on how you can use the Myers Briggs Personality Types as an effective project management tool.

1. Recognize the components of the Jungian Indicator types

As a project manager you need to recognize the 8 components of the Myers Briggs Personality Types.  Based on Jung’s observations, the starting point is that when people’s minds are active they are involved in one of two mental activities:
Myers Briggs Personality Types

  1. Perceiving: Taking information in
  2. Judging: Processing information to reach to conclusions

He identified two ways in which people take in information, based on:

  1. Sensing: Real time tangible data
  2. Intuition:  Holistic,”big picture”, pattern/connection data

He identified two ways in which people process information, based on:

  1. Thinking: Analytical logical, objective, “tough” evaluation
  2. Feeling: Empathic, subjective, “tender” assessment

Jung also observed that people tend to be energised by one of two orientations:

  1. Extraversion (extroverts): People, experience, activity, external focus
  2. Introversion (introverts): Ideas, memories, emotions, inner focus

Finally, Jung observed that people use these different functions in a form of hierarchy of preference, described by Jung as functions, namely: Dominant, Auxiliary, Tertiary and Inferior. The Myers Briggs model brings these components together into 16 very different personality types.

2. Accept that fewer than 1 in 50 people think like you do

The practical ramifications of all this are considerable, and especially in a project management situation. Given that the typical Myers Briggs type of a business leader, ENTJ (it is short for Extrovert; Intuition; Thinking; Judging) is only shared by approximately 1.8% of the population, then chances are that less than 1 in 50 of your team members will think in the same way you do. Yet as a project manager, you face the difficult challenge of getting your project team to deliver the project objectives and achieve the business benefits that you anticipate.

But the reality is that people process information in very different ways. They also interpret life in different ways and are motivated by different things. Although they will hear what you say when you outline your vision and strategy, and will probably agree with you, most of them are not able to translate all that into productive purposeful action.

3. Communicate your project vision and goals into actionable steps

This means that during the early stages of a project, the project team needs detailed management in the attempt to improve their commitment and working towards the same goal and objectives. As the project manager it is your responsibility to make no assumptions, and to communicate those actionable steps.

By taking account of team member’s individual differences, you need to spell out the actionable steps you wish them to take. By doing this you will stand a far higher chance of building a strong committed team who is motivated to achieve the project goal.

4. Achieve Leadership Success

An integral aspect of successful leadership in project management lies in understanding:

  • The drivers of human motivation
  • The difference in individual motivational drivers
  • Individual differences in mental processing functions

And also, in realizing that not only are their motivational drivers different to yours – their thought processes are different as well.  Subscribe to my RSS and blog (to the right) not to miss future project management articles and tips!

If you are based in South Africa, and you would like to have your team assessed with the MBTI instrument, please contact Willem Conradie & Associates – Assessment, Learning and Development Consultants, for a professional service at willem@willemconradie.co.za.

Thanks to Stephen Warrilow for permission to use information from his Meyers Briggs article. Stephen, based in Bristol, England, works with companies across the UK providing specialist support to directors delivery significant change initiatives. Take advantage of his 7 FREE “How to Do It” downloads that will take you through all of the key stages of “How to manage change” – and show you how to manage change successfully.


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