Applications of Type in Organizations


The following is adapted from Linda V. Berens et al, Quick Guide to the 16 Personality Types in Organizations (Telos Publications, 2001) *Used with permission.

From the Publisher...Telos Publications

cover of Quick Guide to the 16 Personality Types in Organizations

In this book, we have tapped into the collective wisdom of nine experienced professionals who have seen personality differences play out every day for many years. We asked the authors to draw on their expertise to compose descriptions that encapsulated the dynamic nature of the sixteen types. Each description begins with a snapshot to give you the general characteristics of each personality type. Then the contributing authors give you a quick look at each personality type in the areas of learning, leadership, problem solving, stress, creativity, teams, career mastery, and personal development, and follows with an appendix on the MTR-i™ Team Roles, as well as explanations of the various ways to organize the sixteen types. Please read the following introductions by each contributing author to learn more about their unique perspectives. We hope this booklet can be used as a tool to help contribute to a greater understanding of yourself and of those you work with.

The Applications

Problem Solving-By Linda V. Berens

Different kinds of decisions come easily to and get made automatically by different types. Other kinds come slowly and with effort or involve potential blind spots. As an individual, a team member, or as a leader, use the problem solving descriptions to evaluate the match between natural problem-solving styles and the requirements of roles in the organization in order to maximize contributions and do more with less energy cost. Pay attention to blind spots in problem solving and seek balance from different types.

Leadership-By Roger R. Pearman

Leadership is about how we envision the next step, motivate others to move in that direction, and build processes that promote future leadership activities and development. This definition applies to the mailroom clerk who sees a better way and to the CEO who envisions new products: leadership is about who we are in a given time and place, not about position or title. Three qualities seem essential for leaders at all levels if they are to continue to grow in their effectiveness: openness to experience, confidence in meeting challenges, and eagerness to gain feedback to feed forward to performance. All types can display these qualities. Further, all types can be equally effective in their leadership roles or derail in those roles.

Creativity-By Marci Segal

You need to tap the creativity of the people involved to motivate them for innovation, and you need to provide space for their expressions to be revealed in ways that support their natural energies. These are your best resources to generate the ideas you seek, select the ones that will work with your culture, and implement the new solutions and new decisions. Each personality type has creative capacity because each experiences a restlessness of a unique sort. The expression of the restlessness as well as the desired solution to meet the challenge is also influenced by a person's psychological type. There is no one way to be creative-there are many.

Teams-By Linda K. Ernst and Melissa A. Smith

Working together well as a team can sometimes be a challenge. The personality of each member contributes to the identity of the team and influences the way the team operates. Effective teamwork, whether amid diversity or homogeneity, requires effective communication: making space for the contributions of others and shifting behavior to meet others at their view of the world. Effective communication involves self-knowledge and self-awareness-knowing our own perspectives, needs, values, and talents, and knowing our own biases and potential shortcomings.

Stress-By Sue A. Cooper

We can all pretty much agree that stress is a part of life and living. But what we may not agree on is what is stressful. Different people identify and define stress differently. One person's blessing can be another's curse. Armed with an understanding of self and others, we can apply this knowledge to better understand and manage the stress in our lives.

Learning-By Linda V. Berens

Learning provides the key to personal and organizational success. Individuals have a zest for learning using their own natural style. Each of us is attracted to learning about different things. Learning helps us meet our core needs and pursue our core values. It becomes a way to hone our natural talents. As individuals, use this information about learning styles to affirm your natural learning pattern and style, then seek situations that best foster learning for you. As a team member or as a leader, make space for others to learn in their own way. Learning organizations and learning teams need empowered, self-directed individual learners.

Career Mastery-By Charles R. Martin

Using type to match oneself to a perfect career is one of the least powerful applications of type in career management. Because careers and people are far too complex, simple one-to-one recommendations based on personality type can't be made, and the evidence suggests that very different personality types can find satisfaction and success in the same career. Thus, you won't find career lists by personality type in the descriptions. What drives you? What do you really want to do? What do you most enjoy? Where are your talents? Those are the keys to career choice.

What, then, is the role of personality type in career mastery? Type can be most powerful when it gives you insight into how you might approach the different activities it takes to explore your options or to position yourself in any given career. In this role, type is a tool for self-empowerment and self-development and a tool to enhance personal effectiveness and personal leadership.

Personal Development-By Dario Nardi

People of each of the sixteen types encounter various themes and stories, challenges, and triumphs in life. The lessons of these experiences are captured here for each type as various "reminders" for self-development. Each reminder combines thoughts from mature individuals of that type, pieces of advice based on type theory, common observations by people who have worked with that type, and so on. Some reminders are positive, to value strengths; others address potential weaknesses. Although most presentations of type tend to stress only more positive qualities, several of the "more difficult" qualities of each type are included here-with the philosophy that real growth involves facing the painful qualities of one's type pattern as well as the good qualities. These reminders are by no means complete or universal; at the same time, coming to really understand even one reminder can take many years and numerous life experiences, or even a whole lifetime.

Team Roles-By Steve Myers

The difference between preference and usage can be illustrated by thinking of handedness when driving a car. Whether you drive right-handed or left-handed is unaffected by your preference. Rather, it is dictated by the design of the car, which in turn is usually determined by the country in which you live. In the United Kingdom, both right- and left-handed people use their left hand to change gear-to do otherwise is both difficult and dangerous! In a similar way, the team roles you perform (i.e., the cognitive processes that you use) can sometimes be determined by the nature of the work you do or the organizational culture, rather than being driven by your own preferences. When you know both your personality type and your primary team role, this indicates the degree to which you are being "stretched" between your preference and usage of the cognitive processes. Too much stretch can cause stress. Too little stretch can result in stagnation. Using the MTR-i™ and personality type instruments together enables you to recognize and manage your stretch, so that you can achieve the right balance between job fulfillment and personal development.



Contributors include:

Linda V. Berens (

Sue Cooper

Linda K. Ernst

Charles R. Martin (http;//

Dario Nardi (

Steve Myers (

Roger R. Pearman (

Marci Segal (,

Melissa A. Smith


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