Carl Jung provided a framework, based on his observations of human patterns, for understanding human differences. Jung noted that human energy was distributed in expressing and reflecting on life experience, which he called extraverting and introverting. Additionally, Jung noted that there were different kinds of extraverting and introverting which led him to his model of psychological types.
Jung identified eight kinds of human energy patterns:
- Critiquing and analyzing expressively (aloud) about experience (Extraverted Thinking)
- Empathizing and connecting actively (behaviorally) with others (Extraverted Feeling)
- Sharing linkages and expressing (aloud) ideas (Extraverted Intuiting)
- Focusing actively on details of the moment and expressing action now (Extraverted Sensing)
- Logically organizing and prioritizing what is perceived (privately) (Introverted Thinking)
- Ordering understanding by way of ideals and values internally (Introverted Feeling)
- Imagining multiple scenarios and possibilities internally (Introverted Intuiting)
- Verifying and validating information in concrete and systematic ways internally (Introverted Sensing)
Jung took copious notes of what he saw (extraverted behavior – sensing, intuiting, thinking or feeling) and what was shared by clients about their reflections (introverted sensing, intuiting, thinking or feeling). From the reports of internal reflections, he also noted that even those with an introverted energy system produced secondary extroverted behaviors meaning human beings were constantly balancing their perceptions and judgments. The significance of this will be explained below.
Later, Isabel Myers, taking a lead from her mother’s observations, produced a questionnaire (MBTI®) which took Jung’s very complex model and simplified it. Her take on Jung’s frame work is you are either:
- Extraverting or Introverting
- Sensing or Intuiting
- Thinking or Feeling
- Judging or Perceiving (added later)
Myers felt that if you could sort yourself on these four dimension pairs, then it was possible to get a handle on your “type”. She added the Judging and Perceiving dimension to tap into Jung’s observation that a complex dynamic was at work. Jung believed that a dominant process (e.g. Sensing, Intuiting, Thinking, or Feeling) led the way for an individual’s psychology (personality) which was also supported by other secondary or supporting processes. So in Myers’ system, if your lead or dominant was a judging process (Thinking or Feeling), then your support was a perceiving process (Sensing or Intuiting). This means, for example, that an ESTJ leads with Extraverted Thinking supported with Introverted Sensing. (The full dynamic is explained on our blog-see “Psychological Type Dynamics”).
Myers pragmatic tool opened a floodgate of interest in type and personality. She took a complex system and made it accessible. On the downside, a good deal of richness of Jung’s model and Myers’ research has been left behind.
Roger Pearman began researching with the MBTI® tool in the late 1970s and continues to do so today. By accessing the database at the Center for Creative Leadership, Roger has collected multiple observational data and self-report data. He teamed up with Bob Eichinger and Mike Lombardo to review multiple datasets collected from different lines of research that essentially produced similar results. This led to the book, YOU: Being More Effective in Your MBTI® Type, and later to the team application, TEAMOSITY®.
More recently, Pearman and Eichinger have returned to the Jungian source of psychological type, reviewed more data sets-including researchers in the field of personality who have settled on a somewhat parallel model called the “Big Five Factors” — to produce a framework called Behavioral Type.
Both Roger and Bob (along with thousands of other type professionals) over the years have become convinced through direct experience with thousands of people that “type” is real as Jung had observed and Isabel has improved. By real, they mean that people do really differ along the lines of type theory. They mean that most people have a dominant type that reliably and consistently predicts a lot of what individuals think and do. Do to the well-known weakness of the accuracy of self-assessment, behavioral type needs to be verified by expert observation. While many self-reported (tested) types verify as that same type by expert observers, many others do not. For that reason, observed type will be a more accurate measure than self-reported type by means of a test or questionnaire. Observed type (what people really consistently think and do) is behavioral type.
Behavioral Type argues that patterns of observed behavior tell the story of the consistent (and for many – automatic) way people approach life challenges and these patterns can be understood as Jung proposed and Isabel operationalized. For example, an individual does not decide at birth to be extraverted or introverted, it is in the original “wiring” (but can be expanded and modified throughout life). Pearman and Eichinger contend that if observers see a consistent pattern-whether or not it is a personal belief about how you are in the world-the behavioral pattern merits serious consideration and attention.
For some users of the MBTI®, this adjusted type proposition might be unsettling: a self-reported “preference” is not necessarily a behavioral pattern. And as important as it is to know your own mind, it is equally and probably more important to gain insight into the patterns of behavior that are actually demonstrated. Simply, observed behavioral type is likely to be a better explanatory and predictive tool than self-report preference. Best is when self-reported type is “verified” by behavioral type. Expressed equals demonstrated. Pearman and Eichinger have found that the majority of people who report their “preference” as one type or another in fact behave as that pattern would predict. Some, however, believe themselves to “prefer” one type, while behaving in a pattern indicative of another type. From the perspective of Pearman and Eichinger, such an individual needs to be aware of how he or she behaves and to reflect on how to square how they behave with what they report. (This is a very productive conversation usually leading to all kinds of new self discoveries and insights, such as sources of stress and discomfort.)
While emphasizing consistent behavioral type patterns, Pearman and Eichinger do not in any way discount the fact that human beings can be agile and flex beyond one type. For example, an Extraverted Thinker may flex to demonstrate empathetic and engaging behaviors similar to that of an Extraverted Feeling type-however, such flexing doesn’t keep the individual from returning to his or her home base most of the time. Pearman and Eichinger also know that a person’s behavioral type can shift over time with experience and working under different demand characteristics. Pearman and Eichinger also know that some people can stretch further from their base type and do it faster more frequently and more comfortably than others. Pearman and Eichinger also know that some people are really of mixed types – there are a lot of people who are really extraverts and introverts in equal doses.
The MBTI® is based on the self-report of “preferences” while TEAMOSITY® is more based on the demonstrated patterns of behavior that more automatically control, direct, and limit a person’s approach to life challenges. By knowing one’s behavioral type, you can begin to understand the kinds of behavioral stretches that might be needed to work more effectively with others. At the end of the day, people can’t read your minds, they can only respond to what they see and experience in your behavior, therein, is the focus and purpose of TEAMOSITY® ( and other TEAMTELLIGENT®, LLC products developed in the future).