Thursday, December 22, 2022

Power of Understanding


How Personality Influences Our Lives


Date Published: September 12th 2022

Publisher: Jan-Carol Publishing, Inc.

Emotional intelligence influences our ability to build strong relationships and achieve our goals. We can enhance emotional intelligence by learning to better understand ourselves and others. This book demonstrates how powerful the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is in helping us better understand how personality influences our behavior and the results we produce.

read an excerpt below...

About the Author

A varied career of serving as a minister, counselor, trainer, and organizational consultant has provided Toomey with the opportunity to work with people and groups in improving the quality of their lives. This has enabled him to see individuals and teams accomplish incredible things. For 45 years, he has used the MBTI as a tool in that work. In Power of Understanding, he describes many of those experiences.


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History Behind the

Myers-Brigg Type

Indicator (MBTI)


“Everything that irritates us about others
can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

Carl Jung



The tool we will explore for helping us develop a better understanding of ourselves and others is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI. The MBTI is the oldest and most used personality assessment instrument of its type in the world. MBTI was developed by the mother/daughter team of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers in 1942. Their objective was to apply certain theories about human behavior in a practical way to help integrate women into a traditionally male dominated workplace. During World War II, women went into the workplace due to the shortage of workers created by men being sent overseas to fight in the war. As a result of the work of Briggs and Myers, the MBTI helped to provide a framework for better understanding personality differences in the workplace.

The theories Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs used to develop the framework on which MBTI is built were developed by Carl Jung.

Carl Jung’s father was a pastor, and his grandfather was a physician. He was influenced in the field of psychology by Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler and in the field of philosophy by Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Nietzsche. These great thought leaders informed Jung’s practical psychology, and he drew from medicine, psychology, philosophy, religion, and anthropology to shape his views. However, integrating these views with what he observed in human behavior is the genius of his work. His psychology and certainly his concepts in relation to psychological types are very practical and applicable to our everyday life, and that is what this book will strive to demonstrate.

Carl Jung did not imagine his concepts being utilized to develop a personality assessment instrument. In fact, Jung expressed these thoughts about the inappropriateness of typing people: “Even in medical circles the opinion has got about that my method of treatment consists in fitting patients into this system and giving them corresponding “advice.” My typology is far rather a critical apparatus serving to sort out and organize the welter of empirical material, but not in any sense to stick labels on people. It is not a physiognomy (way of judging character) and not an anthropological system, but a critical psychology dealing with the organization of delimiting of psychic processes that can be shown to be typical.”

He added: “Although there are doubtless individuals whose type can be recognized this is by no means always the case. As a rule, only careful observation and weighing of the evidence permit a sure classification. However simple and clear the fundamental principle of the (opposing attitudes and functions) may be, in factual reality they are complicated and hard to make out, because every individual is an exception to the rule.”

We will not dive deeply into the psychological theories of Jung nor the research on the MBTI as an assessment instrument. No personality assessment instrument is perfect, and MBTI is not. However, it is the most used and most researched instrument of its type. MBTI has been used for over 70 years in the following settings: for leadership development, personal effectiveness, teambuilding and other ways in business and industry; various usages in academic settings; career counseling; marriage and family counseling; and teambuilding in athletics and other settings. MBTI is used in 115 countries and in 88% of the Fortune 500 companies. Jung’s typology and the MBTI, as an instrument, have withstood the test of time.

This book will give example after example of the value I have seen MBTI deliver in a variety of settings. However, I do want to cite a few factors that need to be considered in using the instrument and applying the concepts it measures.


The MBTI has comparable reliability (consistency of results when a person takes it again) to other instruments of its type. It also has comparable validity (measures what it says it measures). I am certified to use many personality instruments like MBTI, and they all are useful. None of them are perfect and all of them should not be treated like a dispensation from heaven about the true nature of an individual’s personality. We are too complex and too many things, both nature and nurture, contribute to defining who we are. To expect an assessment instrument to utilize our response to a series of statements or questions to tell us who we are is absurd. What a good assessment instrument can do is provide a framework for better understanding the creatures we are. I have found MBTI to be extremely helpful for me and many others over the years.

MBTI is great for helping us to better understand ourselves and others, but it should never be used to put someone in a box that might limit the way we see them. Every person is different and even people with the same personality type will do things very differently at times. This is one reason MBTI is not utilized for hiring or job placement of employees. People with diverse types can be equally successful in the same job. They will just approach things in diverse ways.

You are not just one preference or the other. MBTI measures our preference for one set of behaviors or the other on four dimensions of behavior. It is comparable to the preference we have for using our left or our right hand to write. Unless we are ambidextrous, we prefer using our right or our left hand. It does not mean we cannot use the other hand. It just means we have a preference for using one hand over the other. We can all get better at using our lesser preferences with practice. In fact, Jung said as we mature it gets harder and harder to identify an individual’s preferences because we develop the ability to use our lesser preferred preferences more effectively with practice and when it is more beneficial in each situation.


Enough about the background of the MBTI, I am excited about sharing real stories of ways the knowledge and use of MBTI has helped people to better understand themselves and others in a way that enabled the transformation of people, teams, and organizations.

It is not necessary to know your MBTI Personality Type to benefit from reading this book. However, it might make it more interesting. For information about taking the MBTI, go to the following website:

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