MBTI is a widely-known personality test and is especially valuable for individuals and 1-on-1 situations. For team chemistry, however, there's a better option.
Updated
April 17, 2024

Group MBTI Chemistry Can Make a Huge Difference. Learn How Now!

MBTI is a widely-known personality test and is especially valuable for individuals and 1-on-1 situations. For team chemistry, however, there's a better option.

“What’s our MBTI chemistry?” Understanding Myers-Briggs, group chemistry, and team performance.

👉 TL;DR

MBTI can provide valuable insights into group chemistry, including communication styles, conflict resolution, and decision-making. And certain MBTI personality types work better with others.

However, if you're looking to understand group dynamics, there are better personality tests available. Consider TeamDynamics, the personality test for modern teams, instead.

In this article:

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the world’s most widely used personality tests. There’s a good chance you’ve taken it (or at least know someone who has). Based on the theory that individuals have innate preferences for how they interact with their world, it can be a powerful tool for understanding oneself and the dynamics between two people. However, it has limitations when applied to a group setting – and there’s a better option to understand your team chemistry.

Myers-Briggs is one of the most popular personality tests

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a psychological assessment used to determine an individual's personality type. First published in 1962, MBTI is one of the most popular personality assessments: millions of people take the assessment every year. The MBTI is used in a variety of settings, including education, business, and counseling.

The assessment is based on the theories of the psychologist Carl Jung, who believed that people have innate preferences that determine how they perceive and interact with the world around them. MBTI uses a series of questions to determine an individual's preferences in four areas: 

The way you direct and receive energy

  • Extraversion: Focusing on the outer world and other people, vs.
  • Introversion: Focusing on one's own thoughts and feelings.

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The way you take in information

  • Sensing: Focusing on the concrete and tangible aspects of a situation, vs.
  • Intuition: Focusing on the abstract and theoretical aspects of a situation.

The way you decide and come to conclusions:

The way you approach the outside world

MBTI assesses an individual’s preferences in each of these dimensions and combines them into a four-letter abbreviation of an individual’s Myers-Briggs personality type.

Myers-Briggs MBTI personality types
MBTI's 16 personality types
ESTJ (Extraversion-Sensing-Thinking-Judging), INFP (Introversion-Intuition-Feeling-Perceiving), ENTP (Extraversion-Intuition-Thinking-Perceiving), and so on (MBTI has 16 combinations in total).

MBTI also evaluates the strength of an individual’s preferences for each dimension. This indicates how consistently one should expect to behave according to this preference. A “strong extravert,” for example, will more consistently draw energy by focusing on the outer world and other people than will a “weak extravert.” 

The results of the MBTI assessment provide individuals with insight into their personalities and can help them better understand others.

Team chemistry is defined in part by the personalities of team members

Team chemistry refers to how individuals in a group interact and work together towards a common goal (you’ll often hear it referred to as “group dynamics” or “team dynamics”). Developing good team chemistry is important because it can improve morale, increase productivity, and enhance the overall success of the team. A team with good chemistry is typically cohesive, collaborative, and effective. A team with poor chemistry may struggle to communicate and work together effectively.

Team chemistry is a complex dynamic. Several factors affect team chemistry: leadership style, the broader organizational context, the alignment of a team with its objectives, and personality differences among team members. 

Team chemistry is affected by the interplay of many factors, one of which is the personalities of those on the team.

Personality differences can create tension within a team if individuals have different communication styles, work habits, or goals. These differences can create conflict and serve as a source of disruption for a team. However, if understood and managed correctly, even the most different personalities can combine to create strong team chemistry.

MBTI can provide insights into group chemistry

Personality types and their nuances can have a big impact on how a team functions. Let's dive in and explore how MBTI influences communication, decision-making, and conflict management in a team.

First up: communication styles. Picture a lively team meeting where ideas are flying around. Some people are enthusiastically sharing their thoughts, while others are quietly taking it all in. This is where MBTI comes into play. Those who lean towards Extraversion (the 'E' in MBTI) often express themselves openly and energetically, while Introverted ('I') folks may prefer to reflect before they respond. For instance, an Extravert might brainstorm ideas out loud, while an Introvert might write a thoughtful email after the meeting. Recognizing these different communication styles can help everyone feel heard and respected. see for yourself, and try using MBTI to improve how individuals communicate with one another.

Looking to use MBTI for team building? Download these free templates for MBTI team building workshops!

Next, let's talk about decision-making. Imagine a tough decision needs to be made. The Thinkers ('T') in your team might focus on logic, objectivity, and outcomes. On the other hand, the Feelers ('F') might emphasize people, values, and emotions. For example, when deciding on a budget cut, a Thinker might focus on the numbers, while a Feeler might worry about the impact on the team. Understanding these different approaches can help the team make well-rounded decisions.

Lastly, how we handle conflict can also be influenced by our MBTI type. Picture a disagreement in your team. A Judging type ('J') might want to address the issue directly and find a resolution quickly, while a Perceiving type ('P') might prefer to keep options open and explore different perspectives. For instance, during a disagreement about a project timeline, a 'J' might push for a strict deadline, while a 'P' might suggest a more flexible approach. Being aware of these conflict management styles can help your team navigate disagreements constructively.

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In a nutshell, understanding the MBTI types in your team can be like getting a playbook for better teamwork. It can help you communicate effectively, make balanced decisions, and manage conflicts in a way that respects everyone's preferences. And that's a winning game plan for any team!

Successful Myers-Briggs personality pairings can enhance MBTI chemistry

Just like a well-cooked meal, the right mix of personality types can create a fantastic team. Let's look at some successful MBTI pairings and find out why they work so well together.

One good pairing can be ISTJ (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) and ENFP (Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving). You might be thinking, "Wait, aren't they total opposites?" You're right! But think of it like a puzzle; their differences can actually fit together quite well. ISTJs are detail-oriented and practical, while ENFPs are big-picture thinkers and people-oriented. In a project setting, the ISTJ can handle the nitty-gritty details, while the ENFP can dream up creative solutions and rally the team with their enthusiasm. They balance each other out, like salt and pepper in a recipe.

Another great pair could be ENTJ (Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging) and ISFP (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving). ENTJs are natural leaders who excel at strategic planning, while ISFPs are adaptable and keen observers. Imagine them working on a product launch. The ENTJ might create the roadmap, while the ISFP ensures that the product aligns with customer needs and values. It's like a pilot and a co-pilot; both are essential to reach the destination.

10 great MBTI personality pairings for team chemistry (note: click the header row to sort!)

MBTI Type 1 MBTI Type 2 Potential Reason for Compatibility
ENTJ ISFP ENTJs provide the structure ISFPs often lack, while ISFPs help ENTJs appreciate the moment and details.
ENFP ISTJ ENFPs bring creativity and spontaneity that can balance ISTJs' structured approach, while ISTJs bring order to ENFPs' chaos.
INTJ ESFP INTJs can help ESFPs plan for the future, while ESFPs help INTJs enjoy the present and engage socially.
INFP ESTJ INFPs help ESTJs to be more empathetic and considerate, while ESTJs provide the structure and direction INFPs may lack.
ENTP ISFJ ENTPs stimulate ISFJs with new ideas and possibilities, while ISFJs offer ENTPs stability and practical care.
INFJ ESTP INFJs provide ESTPs with deeper insight and foresight, while ESTPs help INFJs act in the moment and adapt.
ESFJ INTP ESFJs help INTPs connect with others and society, while INTPs help ESFJs see beyond the social norm and consider unconventional ideas.
ISTP ENFJ ISTPs offer practical solutions to ENFJs' visionary plans, while ENFJs help ISTPs realize the human impact of their actions.
ESFP INTJ ESFPs help INTJs relax and enjoy life, while INTJs provide ESFPs with structure and future-oriented thinking.
ISTJ ENFP ISTJs provide reliability and stability to ENFPs' lives, while ENFPs bring creativity and spontaneity to ISTJs'.

So why do these pairings work? They balance each other's strengths and weaknesses. Different MBTI types bring different perspectives and skills to the table, just like different ingredients contribute to a great dish. When we recognize and appreciate these differences, we can create a team that's more than the sum of its parts.

Click here for more tips and tricks if you are a Judger looking to get along with your team of Perceivers (or a Perceiver looking to work better with your group of Judgers).

In conclusion, understanding MBTI chemistry can help you put together a team that truly clicks. It's about appreciating the unique flavor each person brings, and how these can combine to create something truly special. Whether you're forming a new team or seeking to improve an existing one, considering MBTI chemistry can be a game-changer!

Challenging MBTI personality pairings can throw off team chemistry

Just like in any recipe, some ingredients might not blend well together. Similarly, some MBTI pairings can lead to a bit of a clash. But don't worry, understanding these dynamics can help you turn potential challenges into opportunities for growth and understanding.

Let's take the pairing of ESTJ (Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) and INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving) as an example. ESTJs are pragmatic and decisive, often focusing on the task at hand. INFPs, on the other hand, are idealistic and value-oriented, often seeking deeper meaning in their work. In a team project, an ESTJ might push for quick results, while an INFP might want to explore the impact of their work more thoroughly. This could lead to misunderstandings, like mixing vinegar and baking soda – it might bubble over!

Another challenging pair could be ENTP (Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving) and ISFJ (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging). ENTPs are innovative and enjoy challenging the status quo, while ISFJs value harmony and are often more comfortable with established procedures. When working on a process redesign, an ENTP might suggest radical changes, while an ISFJ might prefer incremental improvements. This could create friction, like trying to mix oil and water.

10 challenging MBTI personality pairings for team chemistry (note: click the header row to sort!)

MBTI Type 1 MBTI Type 2 Potential Reasons for Friction
ENTJ ISFJ ENTJs' strong will and ambition can be overwhelming for the more reserved and sensitive ISFJ.
ENFP ISTP ENFPs' emotional expressiveness and idealism might clash with ISTPs' practical and detached nature.
ESTJ INFP ESTJs' practical, rule-abiding nature might collide with INFPs' idealistic and emotional approach.
ENTP ISFJ ENTPs' theoretical, debatable nature can clash with ISFJs' focus on practicality and harmony.
INTJ ESFJ INTJs' introspective and analytical nature might collide with ESFJs' sociable, harmonious approach.
INFJ ESTJ INFJs' need for deeper understanding and idealism can collide with ESTJs' straightforward, pragmatic approach.
ESFJ INTP ESFJs' sociable and consensus-seeking nature might collide with INTPs' independent, logical mind.
ISTP ENFJ ISTPs' preference for solitude and hands-on practicality might clash with ENFJs' social, visionary nature.
ESFP INTJ ESFPs' spontaneity and sociability might be difficult for the more introverted and planned INTJ to handle.
ISTJ ENTP ISTJs' structure and routine can feel stifling to the more improvisational and free-thinking ENTP.

So, how can we navigate these challenging pairings? It all starts with understanding and respect. Just like a chef knows how to balance flavors, teams can learn to balance different personality types. In our ESTJ and INFP pair, for instance, they could agree to dedicate time for both task-focused discussions and explorations of wider implications. Our ENTP and ISFJ duo could create a safe space for proposing innovative ideas while also considering the value of existing practices.

Read these resources if you're a Feeler looking to get along with your team of Thinkers (or a Thinker trying to get better at working with your team of Feelers).

In conclusion, challenging MBTI pairings don't have to be a recipe for disaster. With a dash of understanding, a sprinkle of respect, and a good helping of communication, any team can turn potential conflict into a delicious dish of collaboration and growth. So, let's embrace the diverse ingredients in our team and cook up some success!

Leveraging MBTI for Improved Teamwork

Imagine a kitchen where every chef knows the strengths and flavors of each ingredient. With this knowledge, they can create amazing dishes. Similarly, understanding MBTI can lead to improved teamwork and success in the workplace. Let's explore how leaders and teammates can use MBTI to build stronger, more effective teams.

Leaders can use MBTI as a tool to build balanced teams, just like a chef selects ingredients for a well-rounded meal. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each personality type, a leader can create a team that complements and supports one another. For instance, a leader might pair a detail-oriented ISTP (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving) with a visionary ENFJ (Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging) to balance their strengths. This kind of intentional team composition can lead to greater innovation and productivity.

Teammates can also leverage MBTI to work better together. By understanding each other's personality types, teammates can appreciate and respect one another's unique perspectives and working styles. For example, an INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging) who values logic and rationality might learn to appreciate the empathy and emotional intelligence of an ESFJ (Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging) coworker. By recognizing the value of different approaches, teammates can collaborate more effectively and create stronger, more cohesive teams.

Finally, it's essential to value all personality types within a team. Every type brings something unique to the table, just like different spices in a dish. By embracing diversity and appreciating the distinct contributions of each team member, teams can become more creative, adaptable, and successful.

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In conclusion, using MBTI to understand and appreciate one another can lead to powerful improvements in teamwork. By building balanced teams, valuing diverse personality types, and learning to work effectively with different styles, teams can cook up some truly amazing results. So, let's get to know our teammates and turn up the heat on our team's success!

However, MBTI has fundamental limitations in team chemistry

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is designed to assess an individual's personality, and it is a valuable tool for doing so. However, because MBTI preferences are unique to each individual, it is by design limited in its applicability to team chemistry. 

For example, what can we conclude about the team chemistry of this group of 4 people: two ENTJs, one ISTP, and one ENFP? Answering that question requires much more information: the style of the team leader, the broader organizational dynamic, and even the types of work that the group does. And, as noted previously, not all the areas of MBTI are equally relevant to a group setting.

MBTI is most helpful when understanding an individual, or how two individuals’ preferences relate to one another.

MBTI’s applicability to team chemistry is limited because it does not accurately capture the dynamic and complex nature of group dynamics. Given this, it is not surprising that the MBTI has not been proven to be a valid or reliable assessment of group personality.

Tests focused specifically on team dynamics provide more accurate and applicable results

Most modern work is team-based. So it’s surprising that few behavioral assessments focus on team chemistry, especially given how frequently MBTI (and other personality tests) are administered in the workplace. Some individual personality tests offer packages that “aggregate” individual results to provide a teamwide summary, but that falls short of fully describing a group’s dynamics.

That’s why we built TeamDynamics. TeamDynamics helps you objectively assess, describe, and act on the unique ways in which your team interacts to accomplish its shared work.

Put differently, TeamDynamics describes your team chemistry.

Equipped with your TeamDynamics, you can take action to improve your team chemistry and performance

  • Build your team by defining team culture and values, setting actionable team norms, and conducting high-impact team offsites;
  • Manage your team better by coaching team members, turbocharging cross-team collaboration, and resolving team conflicts; 
  • Recruit and hire more effectively by honing your recruiting pitch, refining your interview process, and accelerating new hire onboarding;

And much more!

The right tools can make team chemistry tangible and actionable

Myers-Briggs is a great individual personality test. It’s simple, descriptive, positive, and widely known. Millions of people use it every year to understand themselves and individuals around them. However, the key to getting the most out of MBTI is knowing when to use it, and when not to use it. And MBTI just isn’t designed to assess team chemistry.

If you find yourself asking, “What’s our MBTI chemistry?” or “What’s my team’s MBTI chemistry group?” and you’re asking about more than a pair of individuals, you should look for another behavioral assessment. Consider TeamDynamics, which is built to assess team chemistry.

Team chemistry might seem like something magical or mysterious. However, with the right tools, you can measure it, manage it, and make it better!

Check out our other MBTI resources!

We hope you've found this guide useful. Remember, everyone's experience is unique, and it's about finding strategies that work best for you. If you enjoyed reading this, don't keep it to yourself! Share it with your friends, colleagues, or anyone you think could benefit from it. Let's create a more understanding and inclusive workplace together!

MBTI is one of the most popular personality tests, and people are always asking us how they can better use it with their teams. Here are a few other useful articles you can try:

And if you're looking to crack the code on working with a specific MBTI type, check out our guides written just for you:

Interested in diving deeper into personality types, teamwork, and team performance? We've got a treasure trove of insightful articles just waiting for you to explore. Check out our other blogs on topics like team dynamics, effective communication strategies, and more in-depth dives into different personality tests. And check back often - we're always publishing more great content!

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