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    Jan 24, 2018    |   Psychometrics

Type and Change: What We Need

Nancy Barger and Linda Kirby – two major contributors to many of our current MBTI® Resources and tools – have integrated type theory with William Bridges’ stages of transitions. In the 1980s, Bridges outlined the three stages of any change or transition as being akin to reconciling a loss, gaining neutrality, and finally treating the new as normal. Thereafter, Barger and Kirby set out to assess how type influenced the way in which different people moved through these stages, and what different people may need in order to successfully adapt.

They asked 2,000 workshop participants to respond to the following question, “What does each Preference need during a time of change?” The responses provide some understanding of how various people facing the same transition may have different needs as influenced by their type.

They found the following: What does each mbti preference need during change

Extraversion requires:
  • Time to talk about what is going on
  • Involvement – they want something to do
  • Communication, communication, communication
  • To be heard – to have a voice
  • Action, getting on with it, keeping up the pace


Introversion requires:
  • Time alone to reflect on what is happening
  • To be asked what they think
  • Thought-out, written communication and one-on-one discussion
  • Time to think things through before discussions and meetings
  • Time to assimilate change before taking action
Sensing requires:
  • Real data – why is the change occurring?
  • Specifics about what exactly is to change
  • Connections between the changes and the past
  • Realistic pictures of the future that make plans real
  • Clear guidelines on expectations, roles, and responsibilities around implementation
Intuition requires:
  • The overall rationale – the global realities
  • A general plan or direction to play around with and develop
  • Chances to paint a picture of the future – to create a vision
  • Options – a general direction, but not too much structure
  • Opportunities to participate in designing the future
Thinking requires:
  • Clarity in the decision making and the planning
  • Demonstration that leadership is competent
  • Fairness and equitability in the changes
  • The logic – Why? What will it do/what problem will it fix?
  • What are the goals? What systemic changes will there be?


Feeling requires:
  • Recognition of the impacts on people
  • Demonstration that leadership cares
  • Appreciation and support
  • Inclusion of themselves and others in the planning and implementing on change
  • A consideration of how needs be dealt with going forward
Judging requires:
  • A clear, concise plan of action
  • Defined outcomes, clear goals
  • A clear statement of priorities
  • A time frame, with each stage spelled out
  • As few ‘surprises’ as possible
Perceiving requires:
  • An open-ended plan
  • The general parameters
  • Flexibility, with lots of options
  • Information and the opportunity to gather more
  • An attitude of trust in the process


The challenge of a leader, decision maker or change agent is to ensure that the change initiative has enough of all these characteristics that – regardless of whether or not they are aware of their followers’ preferences – individuals will receive what they need to navigate the transition successfully, and thrive in a new context. Without special attention and careful consideration of these needs, we run the risk of resistance, turnover, loss of engagement and poor productivity. Alternatively, if individuals are given the resources, time, and information they need alongside a forum that is conducive to processing what is proposed, success abounds.

For more articles like this and more, check out our change management section of our blog.

**Barger and Kirby provide much more information on how to deal with change in their book “The Challenge of Change in Organizations.” More information can also be found in Introduction to Type and Change.

Filed under: Type Talk