Personality typing is a subject that has captivated me since the first time I have encountered it. Reading an article on how the President of Operations for the Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, uses expert brain typer Jon Niednagel to make any important decision was the match that ignited my obsession. Niednagel uses the Myers Briggs template of typing. There are 16 types. You can be one of 2 possibilities for 4 different categories. You are born with one type. Just because two people may share the same personality type doesn’t mean they act exactly the same. In terms of nature vs. nurture, Niednagel concludes that the end product of one’s behavior is 65% based on nature(personality type) and 35% due to their environment and upbringing.
Let’s dive into the 4 categories:
Introverted(I) vs. Extraverted(E)
This is one that seems easy to identify straight away and that can be true at times. Roughly 70% of people in the world are extraverted. Either type is able to mimic the other for periods of time, but spending a lot of time with a person should reveal their true nature.
Extraverts can get energy from conversing with other people and doing activities. They tend to reveal their thoughts right away as they come into their head in open settings. It is not very common to see an extravert sitting still. Extraverts typically have many acquaintances that they would consider to be their close friends.
Introverts get their energy from being alone. They gather their thoughts internally before saying them out loud. Doing activities and being in large groups drains their energy. Introverts typically have a smaller inner circle of close friends.
Examples: Extraverts – Mark Cuban, Joe Torre; Introverts – Larry Bird, Don Mattingly
Sensing(S) vs. Intuition(N)
I’ve seen quite a few breakdowns and it seems to be widely agreed that sensates make up 30% of the world.
Sensates live in the moment. They are generally practical and like to rely on their five senses, rather than using their imagination. S’s are not ‘what if? what if? what if?’ people. Instead they are more interested in ‘what is.’
Intuitive people rely more on their imagination. They look towards the future constantly and try to seek potential in different avenues. Sometimes they like to make decisions based on “hunches”, rather than using the practical evidence in front of them.
Examples: Sensates – Michael Jordan, Emmitt Smith; Intuitives – Kevin McHale, Jerry Rice
Feeling(F) vs. Thinking(T)
The world seems to be split in half when it comes to feelers and thinkers.
Feelers usually make their decisions based on their emotions and how it will make others feel. This is often true when that decision isn’t the most logical decision. Some can be very persuasive because they know how to appeal to people’s emotional side.
Thinkers use logic in everything they do. This can make them seem ruthless and cold hearted, but they are doing what they believe to be the best thing for the group or individual. Thinkers are usually the ones to be critical when the situation calls for it. You tend to see significantly more thinkers than feelers in coaching and management.
Examples: Feelers – Magic Johnson, Grady Little ; Thinkers – Jerry Sloan, Tony La Russa
Perceiving(P) vs. Judging(J)
Perceivers vs. Judgers is another category which is split in half amongst the world’s population.
Perceivers are flexible in their plans and aren’t necessarily quick to make a decision. They like to gather in their surroundings and all of the information and then make their choice. These traits tend to play out in the same way in sports. Perceivers don’t go into a play knowing exactly what they are going to do because they are more in tune with adapting on the fly. Perceivers are also known to be procrastinators that don’t enjoy sticking to a tight or set schedule.
In my opinion, Judging is a poor way to describe how J’s act. Judgers like to have strict plans/schedules and want to make decisions as soon as possible. They are rigid in most things they do. They tend to be more mechanical and plan their moves out.
Examples: Perceivers – LeBron James, Derek Jeter; Judgers – Pau Gasol, Chuck Knoblauch