Staying Jung on Berry Island

  Have you ever done an aptitude test? Or one of those online personality quizzes you saw on Facebook. Or maybe during a thrilling team building session?  Perhaps you were the “direct and strong-willed” one in the group, or maybe the “accommodating, tactful and patient” member of the team. But who really remembers, right? Hey, it was a free day off work!

If you have worked for one of the world's fortune 500 companies at an executive level then you have likely taken one of the most popular of these tests called the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, commonly abbreviated to MBTI. It is certainly one of the most popular and widely used of these tests and for good reason!

The MBTI test is based on the research of Carl Jung, a Swiss psychoanalyst and a contemporary of Sigmund Freud. In the 1920's, an American mother and daughter team (Isabel Myers, Katharine Briggs) studied Jung's research. They wanted to make Jung's work available to the world.  The pair subsequently spent decades decoding Jung's extensive writings into a simple and accessible multi- pronged questionnaire.

Well for those of you who have spent time at Farewell Harbour Lodge and have met our great leader Tim McGrady, you may have been lucky enough to have him make a quick “diagnosis” of your personality. It is a pastime of his and he has a great love for the science behind the MBTI program, especially when it comes to building teams!

In another life, Tim spent years working in leadership training and used the MBTI theory to help equip managers with the skills to be leaders, identify the important skills individual employees bring and how to best utilize them within their team.

In its most basic form, the grouping is broken down into 4 sections of personality preferences. The theory states we have a dominant one from each row. See a description of the Types Here.

Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I) – Where do you get your energy.
Sensing (S) or Intuition (N) – How you process information.
Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) – How you make decisions.
Judging (J) or Perceiving (P) – Your orientation to the outer world.

After a series of questionnaires, you will be suggested the best combination of 4 preferred traits (ie. ISTP, ENTJ) that fit your answers. A small talented group (including yours truly) have the ability to “flex” through many of the traits showing a uniquely high level of both emotional and intellectual intelligence!


Since the first days of operation at Farewell Harbour Lodge, this tool has been used to train, team build and resolve conflict! The beauty of MBTI is that the deeper you dive into it, the more understanding you gain of individual personalities and how they interact within a group setting. Few people really take the time to understand the dynamic layers of Jung's work. Those that do will more effectively understand the people around them and why they do what they do. This rare but invaluable skill is generally what separates bosses from leaders.

For example, do people who primarily make decisions using a Feeling preference (effect on relationships, feelings) dominate the ecotourism industry? As someone who makes decisions primarily using my Thinking preference (logic, consistency) the answer is definitely YES!! Often in the workplace, we see staff with a Thinking preference clash with staff who have a Feeling preference when faced with critical decision making. However, if managed correctly, Thinking preferences and Feeling preferences can really complement each other in marvellous ways in a workplace setting leading to better decisions and stronger outcomes.

Understanding MBTI can be a powerful tool to strategically highlight the strengths of individuals and help to grow cohesive and tight-knit teams. I firmly believe that a consistent effort in understanding these dynamics has helped us create such an amazing team at Farewell Harbour - one where guests and staff build long lasting bonds, hug and cry on departure days, extend stays and give glowing reviews and feedback.

Are you looking to increase group cohesion within your staff team? At Farewell Harbour Lodge, we have not one but two MBTI facilitators on staff. Let us make your next corporate retreat a team building success!

-- By James Hallett

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