If you’re new to LeaderTalk, you may not know that I am a work-at-home mom. In addition to writing and promoting LeaderTalk, I homeschool a kindergartener, cajole a toddler, carpool a third-grader, and keep our home running smoothly. Oh, and I also teach online for Mountain State’s BSOL program.

In most cases, my Monday through Friday, eight to five, is a one-woman multi-ring circus. If you’ve ever talked to me on the phone, you know this to be true.

But I don’t do it all alone.

I also work with a great team: two friends at Mountain State who probably prefer not to be named. I’ll call them Jack and Jill.

Jack and Jill review everything I write for this blog. We also collaborate on a wide variety of other writing projects, most of which you will never read.

While preparing for this week’s classes with my BSOL students, I revisited the MBTI and starting thinking about how personality types contribute to a team’s dynamic.

Part of what creates the magic in my team relationship with Jack and Jill is that our personalities are a great mix. We are similar enough to get along well, and different enough that our strengths are complementary.

We are an ENFJ, and INTJ, and an ENFP.

Jill and I, who share the “J” in our types, are more focused on routines and deadlines than Jack. Often, I bring structure to Jack’s energetic visions, and Jill makes sure that we both pay attention to details. Jack and I, who share the “F” in our types, can be easily caught up in the emotions of office relationships. Jill can stay with her “T” and help us see things from a logical point of view. We all share the “N,” so our creative sensibilities are similar.

I will say it again: we are similar enough to get along well, and different enough that our strengths are complementary. We understand each other, and working with together feels like home.

The MBTI can be a great tool to help your team grow in understanding and appreciating each other’s strengths and needs. Chances are, you may be drawn to work with people who share your traits; frustration comes when you work with people who are radically different from you.

Using the MBTI may help you bring a new dynamic to your team.

First, take some time to know  yourself well. Recognize both the strengths and the limitations of your traits.

Then, get to know the types of your team members. You may gain great insight from reading about their type; you may have an “aha” moment where you can finally identify what it is about someone else that makes your relationship work smoothly (or not.)

Remember, there are no right and wrong personality types on the Myers-Briggs. Although you may prefer to work with people who are very much like you, you may learn more and be stretched to see things in a new way by someone who is radically different from you.

Relationship magic will happen when you find a group of people to work with with just the right mix of personality traits, people who are similar enough to you that you get along well and different enough that your strengths are complementary.

Just like Jack, Jill, and me.

Join the conversation!

In what ways have you used the MBTI to increase your teams effectiveness?

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.