A note: a lot of this is based on what Linda Berens thinks, feel free to dismiss it if you find you disagree.
Step 1: Determine your Interaction Style
Determining your Interaction Style can help narrow down your type. If you manage to settle on just one, you've only got four left to choose from!
(Adapted/Stolen from here )
more info on interaction styles: Understanding Berens' Interaction StylesEach of us has two other opposing pairs of innate preferences. In our communications we prefer either Directing or Informing. In our interaction with others we prefer either Initiating or Responding.
- Directing communications have a time and task orientation with an implication of urgency to get the task done. "Have your report to me by close of business today."
- Informing communications are designed to enroll the other in the process by providing motivation with relevant information. "Your report is an essential part of our project."
The directing style of communication is easiest to spot. The extreme form is the style used by traffic cops, stressed parents, and military commanders. It includes communications that would be classified as a "direct order." Examples include: "Sit down", "Put it over there", "Clean your room."
The informing style of communication is harder to detect. Sometimes those with the directing style are simply oblivious to it, not recognizing that a defining interaction just transpired. Extreme forms of this communication include messages that might be classified as "victim talk." Examples include: "I don't have any money", "That music is so loud", I'm not feeling good."
- Initiating types are more comfortable with making the first contact and establishing role relationships. They like to engage others in interaction and conversation and are more fast paced.
- Responding types are more comfortable letting others initiate contact and accepting the roles established by others. They are more slow paced and are comfortable with silence.
All introverts prefer the responding communication style. This is often a simpler yardstick than choosing between "gregarious" and "shy," which is how extraversion and introversion are sometimes defined. The "responding" communication style simply means that other people are more likely to start up a conversation with you than you are to start up a conversation with them. It's all about who goes first. In contrast, extraverts are "initiating" types, which means they tend to initiate dialogue more often than "responding" types do. That doesn't mean extraverts can only initiate and introverts can only respond -- it simply reflects what each type is more inclined to do.
There are four possible pairings of communication preferences, which naturally create four Interaction Styles. They are:
- In-Charge (Directing and Initiating). Typically taking quick action and focused on results, they drive the team to achieve the goal. (ESTJ, ENTJ, ENFJ, ESTP)
- Chart-the-Course (Directing and Responding). Typically knowing the plan and what needs to be done to reach the goal, they focus on keeping the team on track. (ISTJ, INTJ, INFJ, ISTP)
- Get-Things-Going (Informing and Initiating). With a focus on interaction, they act as a catalyst using information, enthusiasm, energy and excitement to persuade and involve others. (ESFJ, ENTP, ENFP, ESFP)
- Behind-the-Scenes (Informing and Responding). With patience and a calm, quiet style, they focus on understanding and accommodation to lead the team to the best possible result. (ISFJ, INTP, INFP, ISFP)
Step 2: Determine your Temperament
Choosing a Temperament also narrows down your possible type to just four.
(Adapted/Stolen from here)
Step 3: Put Them TogetherWe often relate to more than one temperament pattern because each pattern has something in common with the others. These things-in-common reveal themselves in the interactions between people, especially in our communications. As you try to sort out which temperament is the best fit for you, you may identify a preference for one or the other of the dynamics that are at play when the temperaments interact.
Language—Ways to Use Words
Language provides us a way to think about things, a way to translate back and forth between our thoughts, feelings, and world views and the events and people in our world. Our language usually reflects our natural way of viewing the world.
- Abstract Language
Thinking and talking about concepts and patterns, referencing sensory detail as needed. Implication, hypotheses, or symbolic meanings might occupy most free “thought time.”
- Concrete Language
Thinking and talking about tangible realities backed up by sensory observation. Free “thought time” is likely filled with reviewing events, facts, images, memories, and how things look, feel, taste, and sound.
Roles—Ways to Interact
When people come together to accomplish something, they typically either (a) refer to other people and strive to get the job done together in an affiliative manner; or (b) refer to the desired outcome and more autonomously take whatever action they see fit to get the outcome in a pragmatic manner.
- Affiliative roles
Affiliative roles require that people act in community, with a sense of what is good for the group. They may be people or task focused. They may be practical or idealistic. No matter what, there is always some sense of cooperation and agreement, even if competing or being an individual.
- Pragmatic roles
Pragmatic roles require that individuals act in accordance with what they see needs to be done to get the desired result. They may be people or task focused. They may be practical or idealistic. When a decision needs to be made or an action needs to be taken, their first inclination is to act independently.
The 4 temperaments (as Linda Berens and David Kiersey define them) are:
- Artisan/Improviser (Concrete and Pragmatic): Want the freedom to choose the next act. Seek to have impact, to get results. Want to be graceful, bold, and impressive. (ISFP, ISTP, ESFP, ESTP)
- Guardian/Stabiliser (Concrete and Affiliative): Want to fit in, to have membership. Hunger for responsibility, accountability, and predictability. Tend to be generous, to serve, and to do their duty. (ISFJ, ISTJ, ESFJ, ESTJ)
- Idealist/Catalyst (Abstract and Affiliative): Want to be authentic, benevolent, and empathic. Search for identity, meaning, and significance. Are relationship oriented, particularly valuing meaningful relationships. (INFP, INFJ, ENFP, ENFJ)
- Rational/Theorist (Abstract and Pragmatic): Want knowledge and to be competent, to achieve mastery. Seek expertise to understand how the world and things in it work. (INTP, INTJ, ENTP, ENTJ)
Once you have both an Interaction Style and Temperament, cross-reference them from this table and you should land on a type!
Your last resort (apart from abandoning this whole enterprise and dismissing it as a waste of time, of course) is to start investigating the cognitive functions that help describe the generalized behaviours of each type. Unfortunately, there's so much information on Cognitive Functions that they're hard to sum up quickly! Instead, I'm going to post some links to other sites that investigate how the different functions help to define the different types. Happy reading!
- Eight Cognitive Processes (a nice intro to the functions, their orders and how they work)
- The Lenore Thomson Exegesis Wiki (an amazing resource, a wiki that goes very in-depth about how the functions inter-behave depending on the order they're put in)
Just remember: the functions do not operate independantly of each other, and type behaviour is best understood as greater than the sum of its parts.