Psychometric Tools for Self- and Group-understanding and Awareness
Myers Briggs Type Indicator™ and The FIRO-B® Instrument
Myers Briggs Type Indicator™
Why is it that some of us love life’s ‘big picture’ while others become absorbed in minute details? Why does hearing one word like ‘space,’ bring to mind such varied meanings as ‘personal freedom’ or ‘the final frontier’ to some people and ‘storage cupboard’ to others?! In short, these and other differences are about our psychological types. There is no wrong or right to it—there is simply ‘the way we are.’ Each one of us is made differently. This where the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™ comes in.
What is it?
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™ (MBTI) is an instrument based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types and is designed to make his theory understandable and useful in everyday life. Administered as a self-report questionnaire, the results identify differences between normal, healthy people—differences that can often become the source of much misunderstanding and miscommunication.
Taking the MBTI inventory and receiving feedback helps individuals identify their unique gifts. The information enhances understanding of oneself, one’s motivations, natural strengths and potential areas for growth. It also aids in the understanding and appreciation of people who are different than oneself, thereby aiding relational growth at work and at home. Understanding one’s MBTI type is both self-affirming and encourages co-operation with others.
Development of the MBTI
The authors of the MBTI, Katharine Cook Briggs (1875-1968) and her daughter, Isabel Myers (1897-1980), were keen and disciplined observers of human personality differences. They studied and elaborated the ideas of Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung and applied them to understanding the people around them. Prompted by the waste of human life and potential in the Second World War, Myers began developing the Indicator to give a wide range of individuals access to the benefits she found in knowing psychological types and appreciating differences.
After more than 50 years of research and development, the current MBTI is the most widely used instrument for understanding normal personality differences. At present it has been translated into more than 30 languages. Because it explains basic patterns in human functioning, the MBTI is used for a variety of purposes, including:
- Self-understanding and development
- Team building
- Spiritual development
- Management and leadership training
- Problem solving & Conflict management
- Organisational development
- Relationship counselling
The FIRO-B® Instrument
What is it?
The FIRO-B® stands for Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation™—Behaviour. It is a personality questionnaire that measures how you typically behave with other people and how you expect them to behave towards you. Its interpretation can help increase your understanding of behaviour in such areas as:
- How you come across to others and why this may not be the way you see yourself or the impression you want to make
- How and why conflict develops between well-meaning people
- How to understand your needs and how to manage them in your interactions with others
The FIRO-B instrument was first developed in the late 1950s by Will Schutz, PhD, who was researching teamwork for the US Navy, as a tool for predicting how much conflict might arise in a team based on the interpersonal needs of the members. Schutz’s theory was that, beyond our needs for survival, food, shelter and warmth, we each have unique interpersonal needs that strongly motivate us. These needs relate to areas he called Inclusion, Control and Affection.
Inclusion: This need indicates how much you generally include other people in your life and how much attention, contact and recognition you want from others.
Control: This need indicates how much influence and responsibility you want and how much you want others to lead and influence you.
Affection: This need indicates how close and warm you are with others and how close and warm you want others to be with you.
Uses for the FIRO-B
Just as with our biological needs, we become uncomfortable and anxious if our unique “set point” of psychic needs is not being met. The FIRO-B questionnaire offers you a way of identifying the set of interpersonal needs that is most comfortable for you. Since each person’s set point is unique, there are no right or wrong answers to the questions. Awareness of our natural tendencies gives us greater control over how we behave in specific situations. The FIRO-B results can be used to:
- Show patterns of interpersonal behaviour and expectations
- Raise questions about how satisfied or dissatisfied you are with these patterns
- Suggest alternative ways of behaving to increase your effectiveness (if you are not satisfied with your current patterns)
The FIRO-B instrument is now one of the most widely used tools for helping people better understand themselves and how they can work more effectively with others. Its value can be found in areas such as: Personal development, individual and couple counselling, communication, career development and team-building and development.
What can I offer?
Over the years I have worked with scores of individuals for a variety of reasons: they were seeking a change in career direction, they were candidates for ordained ministry, they wanted to develop better leadership skills or they simply wanted to understand themselves better. It has been my privilege to work with people at various points in life’s journey. In addition to using the MBTI and FIRO-B, I often team up with my wife, Chris (an NHS Mental Health specialist working in Child & Family Psychiatry) in marriage and relationship counselling. We have counselled many couples over a wide spectrum of issues.
As regards the groups I have worked with: these have been ministry teams, youth work teams, small business teams, Methodist Circuits and Anglican Dioceses. What follows is a response to a seminar I led for Training Incumbents in the Peterborough Diocese:
“Many thanks for the Training Incumbents’ Morning you provided here on 4 December. It was a fast-paced, focussed and stimulating occasion, undoubtedly useful to those who shared in it with you”
Simon Ward, a Training Incumbent in the Norwich Diocese, adds:
“Jack’s style is that of a supportive enabler: giving participants the tools and permission to explore what MBTI may mean for them and their style of working. This enabled a diverse group of participants to explore personally but also feel safe and supported to share experiences within the group. Jack’s extensive experience means that he has so many pertinent examples to draw upon and shared with his typically calm and authoritative wisdom.”