One of the most useful tools for understanding team dynamics is the MBTI Type Table. The table can give you an instant look at a team or entire veterinary practice typologically. It’s also a helpful tool to raise awareness among team members about individual similarities and differences.
To build your own team’s type table (download now by clicking on the PDF at the top of the page), write the names of each team member in the appropriate squares. Make sure that you have each individual’s permission to do this since each person’s type is his or hers to choose to disclose.
Now, add up the number of Extroverted types, Introverted types, Sensing types, Intuitive types and so on and record the totals in the space provided at the bottom of the table. Your team's type is determined by noting which preference in each dichotomy pair is most prevalent within the team.
Team Type Analysis
Here are a few initial questions to consider as you evaluate your team from a typological standpoint:
How diverse or similar are team members?
Typologically similar individuals and teams share the same ways of being energized, gathering information, making decisions, and approaching life; they often find it easy to work together. Typologically diverse teams, on the other hand, can struggle to work well together since individuals and team members prefer to operate in such different ways. However, while a diverse team may take longer to accomplish a project and need to manage more conflict during the process, the end result is often better because more perspectives and strengths are represented.
What preferences does the team emphasize?
What are the potential strengths associated with those preferences? Your team's type can provide helpful clues about team dynamics and strengths. For example, an “ISFJ” team will tend to behave much like an ISFJ individual and will likely excel at taking care of their client’s needs. Collectively, the team will tend to be quiet, friendly, reliable, and thorough and will value order, stability, and harmony.
What preferences are less represented? What are the team’s potential blind spots?
A team that collectively prefers Sensing will naturally have a mastery of the facts, an acute awareness of present realities and an appreciation for knowing and doing what works (Sensing); however, they may have difficulty focusing on where the current trends are leading, doing things they haven’t tried before, and recognizing future growth possibilities for the team (Intuition). Recognizing these tendencies provides an opportunity to achieve a better balance.
Which type or types are minority types within the team? How can minority voices be heard so that everyone’s gifts can be used?
It’s important to be aware of your team’s overall type and where it is over- and especially underrepresented by a particular preference. It’s tempting to ignore or even marginalize an individual whose preferences are different from the team norm. So seek out the perspectives and strengths of those team members whose type preferences are under-represented on the team. Make a conscious effort to value and welcome opposing perspectives.
No matter where you work within a veterinary practice, no matter what you do, you are part of a team. The practice as a whole represents a team effort to reach a goal and each function within the practice (eg, doctors, technicians, client service staff, etc) serves as a team within the larger team. Any team’s success is directly linked to how well individual team members get along and work with each other.
Extraversion (E): Extraverted types prefer action and movement, so they are at the foot of the table.
Introversion (I): Introverted types prefer time to think, so they are at the head of the table.
Sensing (S): Sensing types like “left-brain” activities (eg, careful and sequential use of facts), so they are on the right.
Intuition (N): Intuitive types like “right-brain” activities (eg, hunches and meanings), so they are on the right.
Thinking (T): Thinking types like to be objective and stand apart from their decisions, so they are on the outside columns of the table.
Feeling (F): Feeling types like to please and consider others in their decisions, so they are next to each other in the middle of the table.
Judging (J): Judging types like structure and order, so they are in the top and bottom rows, providing structure for the table.
Perceiving (P): Perceiving types like flexibility and adaptability, so they are in the middle rows of the table, just “going with the flow.”