Effective communication, a gathering of complementary talents, and an appreciation for what others bring to the table are all hallmarks of a successful team, whether it be on the field, in the boardroom, or in a small business environment. The challenge when trying to create or lead a successful team is understanding that effective communication styles differ from one person to another. The path to problem solving and collaboration can take many varying turns based on the unique experiences and tendencies of the individuals involved.
So how does the business manager, team leader, or small business owner navigate his or her team to success? According to Gainesville-based Center for Applications of Psychological Type, Inc. (CAPT), it starts with understanding and eventually appreciating the perspective and differences of others.
Founded in 1975, CAPT was created by Isabel Briggs Myers and Dr. Mary McCaulley. The two women initially met in 1968 when McCaulley was a faculty member of the Department of Clinical Psychology at the University of Florida. Isabel Briggs Myers is the creator, along with her mother Katharine Briggs, of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator instrument (MBTI).
Based on the theory of psychological type introduced by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung in the 1920s, the MBTI is today the world’s most commonly used personality assessment. Identifying four scales – or areas of preference – the MBTI then outlines 16 distinct personality types, based on an individual’s response to a series of questions.
In basic terms, the assessment identifies individual preferences or tendencies toward being an introvert vs. being an extrovert, whether information is gathered by sense or intuition, whether decisions are based on a logical thinking process or a feeling, and how things are judged or perceived by an individual.
As McCaulley’s and Briggs-Myers’ relationship grew, so did their awareness of a need for continued research on the subject of psychological type and its interpretation.
Today, CAPT is a non-profit organization centered on the mission, “to extend and teach the accurate understanding of the ethical and practical applications of C.G. Jung’s theory of psychological types, which shows how our differences in experiencing events and making decisions can be valuable rather than divisive, and can be used constructively … to promote personal development … to manage conflict and … to increase human understanding worldwide.”
According to Betsy Styron, President and CEO of CAPT and Chairman of the Myers & Briggs Foundation, “If you can develop a common understanding as to why someone is not seeing things the way you are, then you can use your communication skills and choose the right language that becomes the bridge between the two.”
In partnership with their sister organization, the Myers-Briggs Foundation (also located in Gainesville), CAPT provides individual or team assessments and group training for individuals, businesses, and organizations in the administration, interpretation and ethical use of the MBTI tool.
Individual and personal assessments may be completed online and include a personal feedback session with a certified professional. Four-day certification programs are also held in Gainesville at the CAPT headquarters on NW 13th Street. Past attendees have included consultants, executive coaches, human resources directors from large and small organizations, business owners, clergy members, and education professionals.
On-site training is also available to businesses seeking workshops on team building, leadership development and career enhancement. A diverse faculty located throughout the country offers expertise in various arenas including team performance, leadership development, communication and decision making skills, change management, and career counseling.
Gainesville resident and consultant Jerry Macdaid has worked in association with CAPT for over 33 years and brings his own unique perspective from a career ranging from engineering to higher education.
“In business, if I launch into a conversation, I do it from my perspective, of which others may not see the value,” says Macdaid, MBTI Master Practitioner and member of the CAPT Certification Faculty. “But by better understanding who I am working with, I can shift or flex my style to fill in gaps that are necessary to get my point across.”
“In terms of team building, high functioning teams can really thrive on diversity if they recognize and capitalize on it versus dismissing opposing views,” adds Macdaid. “By gaining a fuller view and broadening an understanding of a problem, allows teams and leaders to make better decisions,” he continued.
Styron further offers, “Appreciating the strengths of others and understanding their perspectives, allows a leader, as well as individual teammates, to capitalize on each-others talents. There is not much that requires teamwork and communication that MBTI does not help.”
Today, MBTI is the most widely-used personality assessment in the world, but Styron cautions that it should not be used as a final gauge on the hiring or placement of individuals in a business or organization.
“Understanding someone’s type does not include or exclude anyone in a certain position. It does not measure education or aptitude or maturity,” says Styron. “The whole person must be considered including interests and values.”
CAPT’s broad ranging client list includes American Express, Walt Disney Corporation, NASA, and Oracle, Duke, Cornell, and our own University of Florida, as well as USAA, USDA, and military personnel.
By Kathryn Pizzurro