2.4 Personal Characteristics

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2.4 Personal Characteristics 

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Module Two

2.4  Characteristics of Personal Styles 

Characteristics of Personal Styles

The following four pairs of dimensions are present to some degree in all people. It is the extremes that are described here. The strength of a dimension is indicated by the score for that dimension and will determine how closely the strengths and weaknesses described fit the participant’s personality.




Extraversion versus Introversion examines what factors tend to energize or motivate people (to learn). Extraverts are action oriented and tend to gain their energy from people and things. Introverts gain their energy from their inner world of ideas and concepts. They tend to be reflective thinkers before taking action.


I – Introversion – 25% of the Population

Persons more introverted than extroverted tend to make  decisions somewhat independently of constraints and prodding from the situation, culture, people, or things around them. They are quiet, diligent at working alone; and socially reserved. They may dislike being interrupted while working and may tend to forget names and faces.


Characteristics (Kiersey & Bates, 1984).

  • Recharge energy in solitude or with a significant other Become drained by too much social contact

  • Have a few close and long-term friendships

  • More interested in the inner world of thoughts, feelings, personal life

Characteristics (James & Woodsmall, 1988).

  • Prefers internal world of thoughts and ideas to the external world of people and things

  • View extraverts as shallow or not genuine
  • Great depth of concentration
  • look to self for causes
  • reflect before acting
  • Enjoy working alone
  • More self-sufficient
  • Less care-free
  • Value aesthetics
  • Score highly on aptitude tests


Employment: Prefer jobs such as artist, printer, creative scientist, farmer, writer, dentist, engineer, mathematician.


Introvert Potential Weaknesses: misunderstands the external, avoids others, is secretive, loses opportunities to act, is misunderstood by others, needs quiet to work, dislikes being interrupted.

Introvert Potential Strengths: independent, works alone, is diligent, reflects, works with ideas, is careful of generalizations, is careful before acting.



E – Extroversion –75% of the population

Extroverted persons are attuned to the culture, people, and things around them, endeavoring to make decisions congruent with demands and expectations. The extrovert is outgoing, socially free, interested in variety and in working with people. The extrovert may become impatient with long, slow tasks and does not mind being interrupted by people


Characteristics (Kiersey & Bates, 1984).

  • Recharge energy through contact with other people Become easily drained by isolation and solitude

  • Have many friends and social interactions, but they tend to be shallow
  • More interested in the outer world of events, activities, people.


Characteristics (James & Woodsmall, 1988).

  • Sociable

  • More interested in the outer world of people, things, activities than the inner world.
  • Look to environment for causes
  • Greater breadth of interest
  • Happy-go-lucky
  • Like action
  • Get involved in new situations
  • More impulsive
  • More talkative
  • More gregarious
  • More risk-taking
Employment: Prefer jobs in sales, social work, athletic director, personnel director, public administrator.


Extrovert Potential Weaknesses: has less independence, does not work without people, needs change, variety, is impulsive, is impatient with routine.

Extrovert Potential Strengths: understands the external, interacts with others, is open, acts, does, is well understood.






Sensing versus Intuition examines our preferred ways of perceiving information. People who prefer Sensing focus more on details and facts and rely on the five senses of taste, touch, sight, sound and smell. Those who prefer Intuition seek out patterns and relationships in the facts they have gathered and tend to look at the “big picture”.


N – Intuitor – 25% of the population

The intuitive person prefers possibilities, theories, gestalts, the overall, invention, and the new, and becomes bored with nitty-gritty details, the concrete and actual, and facts unrelated to concepts. The intuitive person thinks and discusses in spontaneous leaps of intuition that may leave out or neglect details. Problem solving comes easily for this individual, although there may be a tendency to make errors of fact.


Characteristics (Kiersey & Bates, 1984).

  • Future oriented

  • Theory more interesting than application, may miss details
  • Likes metaphor, fantasy, fiction, daydreams
  • Often described as "spacey" by the sensor
  • More in tune with unconscious processes – inner voice of intuition, hunches, gut feelings. Likes change, when things are constant they begin to feel a vague sense of dissatisfaction and restlessness
  • Reality may be perceived as an inconvenient bother, taking up time and energy that could better be used toward possibilities and changing the actual to make it better
  • A vivid imagination is highly valued
  • "Head in the clouds"


Characteristics (James & Woodsmall, 1988).

  • Future interest

  • Possibilities
  • So much into relationships they may disregard sensory data coming in at the moment
  • Positive attitude toward change
  • Can handle a lot of complexity
  • Like open-ended instructions
  • Value autonomy
  • Organize material in big chunks
  • Good at seeking and finding patterns in complex situations
  • Prefer symbolic and abstract level
  • Creativity increases with intuitor score
  • Read more for pleasure than sensors
  • Higher turnover in jobs such as mechanical or clerical (better for sensors)
Employment: Prefer jobs such as writer, researcher, psychologist, minister, architect, mathematician, musician,


Intuitor Potential Weaknesses: is inattentive to detail, precision, is inattentive to the actual and practical, is impatient with the tedious, leaves things out in leaps of logic, loses sight of the here-and-now, jumps to conclusions.

Intuitor Potential Strengths: sees possibilities, sees gestalts, imagines, intuits, works out new ideas, works with the complicated, solves novel problems



S – Sensor – 75% of the population

The sensing type prefers the concrete, real, factual, structured, tangible here-and-now, becoming impatient with theory and the abstract, mistrusting intuition. The sensing type thinks in careful, detail-by-detail accuracy, remembering real facts, making few errors of fact, but possibly missing a conception of the overall


Characteristics (Kiersey & Bates, 1984).

  • Fact-oriented

  • Grounded
  • Experience is what they are most interested in
  • Past time orientation
  • Remain in reality
  • Tolerate no nonsense
  • Rely on external guidance and instructions more than internal "Down to earth."


Characteristics (James & Woodsmall, 1988).

  • Factual minded

  • Learn through visual aids
  • Interested in economics
  • Value authority and work
  • Prefer practical applications
  • Need order
  • Can be shrewd
  • Solid and realistic
  • Organize material in small chunks
  • Live in the "now"
  • Responsive to current events and activities


Employment: Prefer jobs in business, production, office management, law enforcement, sales, administration, banking, technology, farming


Sensor Potential Weaknesses: does not see possibilities, loses the overall in details, mistrusts intuition, does not work out the new, is frustrated with the complicated, prefers not to imagine future.

Sensor Potential Strengths: attends to detail, is practical, has memory for detail, fact, works with tedious detail, is patient, is careful, systematic






Thinking versus Feeling is the dimension that reveals how we prefer to make decisions. Thinkers tend to base decisions on analysis, logic and principle with an impersonal approach. Those who prefer feeling tend to focus on personal or social values and needs.


F – Feeling – 60% of females are Feelers

The feeler makes judgments about life, people, occurrences, and things based on empathy, warmth, and personal values. As a consequence, feelers are more interested in people  and feelings than in impersonal logic, analysis, and things, and in conciliation and harmony more than in being on top or achieving impersonal goals. The feeler gets along well with people in general.


Characteristics (Kiersey & Bates, 1984).

  • Subjective.

  • May regard thinkers as cold, hard-hearted, remote, and without the milk of human kindness.
  • Social values more important than law and rules.
  • Comfortable expressing them and talking about emotions
  • Justice highly valued


Characteristics (James & Woodsmall, 1988).

  • Makes judgments subjectively and personally

  • May not care about logic
  • Tend to be more social
  • Tend to be more religious
  • Nurturing and affiliation important
  • More free-floating anxiety
  • More tender- hearted
  • Take time personally
  • Past seems more real than present or future
  • Work well with metaphors


Employment: Prefer jobs in nursing, ministry, counseling, teaching, social service, customer relations.


Feeler Potential Weaknesses: is not guided by logic, is not objective, is less organized, is uncritical, overly accepting, bases justice on feelings.

Feeler Potential Strengths: considers others’ feelings, understands needs, values, is interested  in conciliation, demonstrates feeling, persuades, arouses.



T – Thinking – 60 % of males are Thinkers

The thinker makes judgments about life, people, occurrences, and things based on logic, analysis, and evidence, avoiding the irrationality of making decisions based on feelings and values. As a result, the thinker is more interested in logic, analysis, and verifiable conclusions than  in empathy, values and personal warmth. The thinker may step on others feelings and needs without realizing it, neglecting to take into consideration the values of others.


Characteristics (Kiersey & Bates, 1984).

  • Impersonal criteria for choice

  • Objective
  • May regard feelers as overly emotional, fuzzy-headed, illogical, or unable to take a stand
  • Thinkers may be embarrassed by intense show of emotion in themselves or others
  • Tend to experience their emotions privately
  • Policy and law are important
  • Humaneness highly valued.


Characteristics (James & Woodsmall, 1988).

  • Dissociated from emotions

  • Make decisions objectively, considering both causes and possible outcomes
  • Make judgments impersonally on criteria
  • Believe in principles, policies, and laws.
  • Time does not matter much
  • Tend to be skeptical of religious orthodoxy
  • Theoretically oriented
  • Good mechanical aptitude
  • Experimental
  • Learn best from lectures
  • Do well on exams
  • Need order, autonomy, dominance, achievement, and endurance.
  • Perceive time as an objective fact outside themselves
  • "What happened When" more important than why
Employment: Prefer jobs like law, medicine, business, politics, science, technology, dentistry


Thinker Potential Weaknesses: does not notice people’s feelings, misunderstands others’ values, is uninterested in conciliation, does not show feelings, shows less mercy, is uninterested in persuading.

Thinker Potential Strengths:  is logical, analytical, is objective, is organized, has critical ability, is just, stands firm






Judging versus Perceiving looks at our orientations toward the outer world. People who prefer judging tend to be decisive and like closure on tasks. Those who prefer Perceiving tend to be more spontaneous and like to seek more data before taking action.


P – Perceiving – 50 % of the population

The perceiver is a gatherer, always wanting to know more before deciding, holding off decisions and judgments. As a consequence, the perceiver is open, flexible, adaptive, non-judgmental, able to see and appreciate all sides of issues, always welcoming new perspectives and new information about issues. However, perceivers are also difficult to pin down and may be indecisive and noncommittal, becoming involved in so many tasks that do not reach closure that they may become frustrated at times. Even when they finish tasks, perceivers will tend to look back at them and wonder whether they are satisfactory or could have been done another way. The perceiver wishes to roll with life rather than change it.


Characteristics (Kiersey & Bates, 1984).

  • Prefer open ended things.

  • Does not feel comfortable with closure
  • Always wants more data to make a decision
  • May feel uneasy after making a decision.
  • Doesn’t work well with deadlines
  • Play ethic, puts off work for fun and relaxation
  • Process oriented.


Characteristics (James & Woodsmall, 1988).

  • More adaptive

  • Stays away from closure
  • Prefers to live in a flexible, spontaneous way
  • Attempt to understand life and adapt to it
  • Take things as they come
  • Likes to keep options open
  • May be working on multiple projects simultaneously, without feeling pressure to complete any of them
  • Open to change
  • Impulsive
  • Often perform below capability and capacity
  • Need autonomy
  • Less competitive than Judgers
  • Better at abstract reasoning
  • Right brained
  • High tolerance for complexity
  • Need change
Employment: Prefer jobs like writer, musician, architect, artist, psychologist, advertising


Perceiver Potential Weaknesses: is indecisive, does not plan, has no order, does not control circumstances, is easily distracted from tasks, does not finish projects

Perceiver Potential Strengths: compromises, sees all sides of issues, is flexible, adaptable, remains open for changes, decides based on all data, is not judgmental



J – Judging – 50 % of the population are Judgers

The judger is decisive, firm, and sure, setting goals and sticking to them. The judger wants to close books, make decisions, and get on to the next project. When a project does not yet have closure, judgers will leave it behind and go on to new tasks and not look back.


Characteristics (Kiersey & Bates, 1984).

  • Prefer closure, completion Settled.

  • May experience a sense of urgency around making a decision and cannot relax until it is settled.
  • Establish and stick to deadlines.
  • Work before play or rest. Outcome oriented.


Characteristics (James & Woodsmall, 1988).

  • Likes plans and lists

  • Likes calendars and planners
  • Decides in advance how things should be
  • High need for closure
  • Prefers to live in a decisive, planned, orderly way
  • Wants to run his own life
  • Try to regulate and control events
  • Wants to know what is going to happen in the future
  • Likes to have things "settled"
  • Advance planning
  • Competitive
  • React poorly in situations where they have no plan
  • Left-brain thinking
  • Quicker at decision making
  • Like using administrative skills
Employment: Prefer jobs in business, executives, law enforcement, school principle


Judger Potential Weaknesses: is unyielding, stubborn, is inflexible, unadaptable, decides with insufficient data, is judgmental, is controlled by task or plans, wishes not to interrupt work.

Judger Potential Strengths: decides, plans, orders, controls, makes quick decisions, remains with a task.


Myers-Briggs Preference Pair

Diagnostic Questions



Introvert – Extrovert

“When it’s time to recharge your batteries, do you prefer to be alone or with people?”

Sensor – Intuitor

"If you were going to study a certain subject, would you be more interested solely in the facts and their application for the now, or would you be more interested in the ideas and relationships between the facts and their application for the future?”

Thinker – Feeler

1. “Can you remember a one-time work situation that gave you trouble?”

2. “Can you remember a work situation in which you were happiest?”

3. “When you make a decision do you rely more on impersonal reason and logic, or more on personal values?”

Judger – Perceiver

1."If we were going to do a project together, would you prefer that it were outlined, planned, and orderly, or would you prefer that we were able to be more flexible in the project?" or

2."Do you have a day-timer type calendar? Do you use it regularly? Do you enjoy using it?"


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Last modified: 02/27/08
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