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Communication Styles Questionnaire plus analysis.
Personality types, communication styles and how to use them.
Most personality tests, including the best-known, the Myers-Briggs Typology Inventory, are based on the work of psychologist, Carl Jung 1875-1961. Jung categorised personalities into ‘types’, and psychologists and management theorists quickly spotted their potential for improving the way we understand and get along with family, friends and colleagues.
You may well have taken a Myers-Briggs test at some point in your career, or heard other colleagues talking about their test result, which (in shorthand) is expressed as four letters, such as: ENTJ or INFP. Myers-Briggs is perhaps the best known of the typology tests, but what do the results mean, and how do you use this tool at work?
The letters stand for different personality traits or attitudes. When translated into the working world, they can denote how a person likes to be communicated with, and what strengths they bring to a team or a project. They can help to shed light on office clashes, tensions, misunderstandings and relationship difficulties. Often, discord is less to do with what is being presented than how it is being presented.
In office environments where Myers-Briggs has become part of the culture, a person’s typology may be included in recruitment processes and team design, with people freely comparing notes on their personality types.
By understanding the types, and subtly adapting your behaviour to increase the comfort level of the other person, you can increase rapport, relieve discomfort, improve understanding and bridge relationships between colleagues.
A simple way of personality typing.
All of this is only useful if you can easily establish the personality type of both yourself and the other people involved, and often it’s not appropriate to ask. Luckily, Industrial psychologist David Merrill came up with a handy alternative back in 1921, when he realised we could usually ‘type’ people by watching their behaviour. Merrill called his types, ‘communication styles’, and named them:
The characteristics of his personality types share commonalities with the types identified by most of the popular typologies.