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    Aug 25, 2022    |   Camille Labrie

Conflict and Complementarity

MBTI® Step I Exercise

2 minute read
Written by Shawn Bakker, Psychologist

Conflict in teams often occurs between people with different processes for information-gathering (Sensing or Intuition) and decision-making (Thinking or Feeling). This exercise helps team members uncover hidden type biases, and also recognize the value of opposites. While this exercise works especially well for the S-N and T-F preferences, it can also be used with any preference pair.


Draw the table below on a flipchart and get some answers from the group. Be aware of S-N or T-F preferences within the group but there is no need to divide the group.

How does S see N?



How does N see S?



How does S need N?



How does N need S?



  • Allow hidden type biases to be revealed in the ‘see’ sections. For example, ask Sensing types “On a day when you were feeling uncharitable, how would you describe people with a preference for Intuition?” and vice versa.
  • Help draw out the value of the opposites in the ‘need’ sections.
  • Do the same for T-F and, if you want, for E-I and J-P preferences.

Debrief – You may get the following types of responses:

Conflictual View

Complementary View

  • S sees N: vague and impractical; difficult to follow
  • S needs N: to envision the future; to offer radical ideas
  • N sees S: nit-picking; pessimistic
  • N needs S: to remind them of the facts; to be realistic
  • T sees F: illogical; overly emotional
  • T needs F: to be in touch with feelings; to persuade and reconcile
  • F sees T: critical, cold and insensitive
  • F needs T: to be tough; to weigh costs and benefits
  • E sees I: withdrawn; inaccessible
  • E needs I: for reflection; to build depth of understanding
  • I sees E: superficial; intrusive
  • I needs E: to make contacts; to take action
  • J sees P: disorganized; irresponsible
  • J needs P: for adaptability; for information gathering
  • P sees J: rigid and inflexible; overly serious
  • P needs J: for organization; for completion




While we prefer to use one of the processes, both are important and accessible to us. Conclude by asking team members the following questions:

  • What will you do differently in the future to work more effectively your colleagues?
  • How can this team make sure it is covering all the bases of S-N-T-F?
  • What new behaviours will you use to address the gaps in your preferred approach?
Filed under: Conflict