According to estimates of the United Nations, the world is populated by more than 7.5 billion individuals. When thinking about this huge number of people, you may be left wondering how many different personality types there are in existence. When considering the Earth’s enormous population, you will perhaps come to the conclusion that there must be at least thousands – if not millions – of different personality classes. Well, quite the contrary is the case. Astonishingly enough, every single one of us can be categorized within the (rather minuscule) spectrum of 16 different personality types. In the following, we’ll explore the 16 different Myers-Briggs personality types and the unique characteristics of each of the 16 personalities.
Publicized in 1944, the Briggs Myers Type Indicator Handbook was originally intended as an in-depth investigation of the different personality types, designed to aid women in finding a suitable profession during World War II. However, the personality types outlined in the handbook have vastly outgrown the original purpose of their creation.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Today, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) serves as an extensive tool to analyze the psychological preferences and the personality type of a person. In fact, it is one of the most popular classifications of personality types.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is based on Carl Gustav Jung’s four primary psychological types that he proposed in his typological theory. However, the MBTI significantly expands Jung’s work by adding 16 personalities to the four Jungian dichotomies as subcategories.
16 Personalities: The Myers-Briggs Personality Types
The underlying premise of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is that your psychological preferences influence your perception of the world, how you respond to certain situations, and how you meet decisions. By gaining an understanding of the 16 personalities, you will not only gain a better understanding about yourself but about other people as well.
As already mentioned, the MBTI is based on Carl Gustav Jung’s theory of the four psychological types in existence. As such, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator agrees with Jung’s argumentation that humans experience the world through four primary psychological functions, i.e. feeling, intuition, sensation, and thinking. Similarly, Myers and Briggs agreed with Jung that one of the above-named psychological functions is predominant in a person. From this it follows that your specific psychological preferences build the foundation of your actions, thinking patterns, values, interests, and desires.
Hence, by understanding a person’s personality type, you can gain important insights on their behavior and how they are most likely to respond in certain situations.
Table of contents
I. The Myers-Briggs Personality Types
Let’s have a closer look at the 16 personalities of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
If you’re looking for a personality category that is made for problem-solving and strategic planning, look no further. Rational Analysts are strategic problem solvers that are particularly interested in investigating complex systems. No matter if these systems are technological, mechanical, digital, social, or organic, Rational Analysts strive not only to understand their functionality but are also very keen on finding ways to improve these systems.
When compared to other personality types, Rational Analysts are quite sporadic as they are estimated to occur only in approximately 7 to 10 percent of the human population. Let’s have a look at the first four personality types of the 16 personalities:
Largely considered to be one of the rarest of the 16 personalities, The Mastermind is highly analytical and is found in no more than 2 percent of the human population. Individuals of this personality type are very logical and pragmatic, which is why the question “Is it working?” predominantly shapes their thinking and behavior. This also manifests in the distinct desire of Masterminds for efficiency.
At the same time, INTJs are described as perfectionists who dislike authority and do not actively seek leadership roles. However, if need be, they are willing to lead others and do so quite successfully, thanks to their high pragmatism.
INTPs can be described as quiet and introverted individuals that are modest but also very thoughtful. People that are classified as Creators spend many hours of the day in solitude. This helps them in solving complex problems and developing adequate solutions. Consequently, they feel less comfortable in social situations and dislike (unnecessary) social customs. Another characteristic of INTPs is that they appreciate autonomy. This could also be one reason that they have a tendency to distrust authority.
Creators are highly interested in discovering how things work. As a consequence, they are highly interested in analyzing, understanding, and describing the world around themselves. Similarly, INTPs greatly enjoy designing systems of any kind. For this reason, the INTP personality type can be often found in areas such as architecture, law, philosophy, psychology, and science. However, you will seldom hear INTPs speaking about their titles and accomplishments. This is mainly because they mostly disregard titles and other forms of displaying status. To them, many of these “badges” are hindering the pursuit of knowledge.
At the same time, INTPs perceive the external world as – often disorganized – resources or materials that need to be structured and organized. In short, Creators flourish when they can develop systems that help to bring order to unstructured or chaotic resources or systems.
If there’s one personality type among the 16 personalities that is designed to be a leader, it’s the ENTJ. Commanders are highly competitive, self-driven, assertive, and energetic individuals that get things done. Thanks to their high confidence, ENTJs seek leadership roles and do not shy away from taking responsibility. In general, Commanders prefer to keep the bigger picture in mind rather than investigating only one element of the picture in great detail. Similarly, ENTJs are long-term planners and therefore excellent developers of long-term strategies.
Commanders are skillful leaders, which helps them in directing others to accomplish the goals of the ENTJ. Because of their inherent urge to lead, ENTJs take up leadership roles from an early age on. It is also their desire to direct others and to structure their behavior that makes them seek leadership positions later on in life. At the same time, ENTJs may have the tendency to expect too much of their followers and subordinates. This is mainly because they expect their own high standards from others as well without considering subjective or emotional factors. Consequently, ENTJs are often perceived as overly demanding or even outright exploitative.
In short, Commanders flourish in professions that require them to prioritize, generalize, systemize, execute long-term strategies, and delegate responsibilities.
To learn more about ENTJs, have a look at The ENTJ Personality Type Analyzed.
Among the 16 personalities, The Originator is the most suitable personality type in situations that require finding and developing innovative improvements. In fact, ENTPs are continuously striving to find better ways of doing things. They are innovative inventors with a well-developed entrepreneurial spirit. Even more so, ENTPs quickly identify areas that need improvement, which is why they never shy away from taking up new projects.
If there’s one thing Originators struggle with, it’s when they are forced to follow strict routines or instructions that require exact implementation. To them, this is a dangerous and limiting approach that only hinders them in utilizing the manifold opportunities for improvement. However, if ENTPs are allowed to develop their own approaches to their tasks, they will inevitably come up with innovative improvements.
Another characteristic of the ENTP personality type is that they are highly curious individuals. They have lively relationships with other people and quickly pick up complex interconnections between people. In general, Originators are very clever and verbally outspoken. They make loyal partners and friends while being enthusiastic and outgoing individuals.
Ethical, enthusiastic, intuitive, authentic, and kindhearted are the main adjectives to describe this personality category. Idealistic Diplomats are highly passionate about development, growth, and improvement – be it their own or that of other people. They do not only seek to discover and understand themselves but are also keen on helping others to reach their full potential. In short, they want to better themselves and the world.
At the same time, Idealistic Diplomats are on a quest of self-discovery and continuously seek to learn more about themselves. Even more so, they seek to establish harmonious relationships with the people they interact with on a day-to-day basis. To them, upfront confrontations, angry arguments, and heated discussions are simply a waste of their time and energy. This is mainly because Idealistic Diplomats are firmly convinced that friendly collaboration, respectful behavior, and cooperative partnerships will get things better done. And interestingly enough, their ability to establish harmonious relationships greatly contributes to the accomplishment of their goals.
Idealistic Diplomats are quite as rare as Rational Analysts and make up approximately 10 to 15 percent of the population.
Generally considered to be the rarest type of the 16 personalities, INFJs seek to better understand themselves and other people. They are highly value-driven and derive meaning of ideas and relationships. At the same time, INFJs are highly intuitive and have learned to trust their insightful perceptions.
Due to their intuitiveness, Advisors base their decisions less on logic than on subjective factors. This is one of the reasons why many of their decisions cannot be rationally understood by highly logic personality types. Another important characteristic of the INFJ personality type is that they are highly introverted individuals. As such, they need times of solitude to recharge their batteries. At the same time, their profound understanding of their inner landscape gives them important insights about other people’s actions and emotions.
Read more about this personality type: The INFJ Personality Type Explained.
Mediators have a well-developed sense of right and wrong, which governs their thinking and actions. Their friends may value INFPs for their calmness, serenity, and their deep care. In general, Mediators have the innate ability to resolve conflicts and actively seek to bring divided individuals back together. In fact, they are passionate about bringing peace to quarreling parties. And thanks to their strong sense of right and wrong, INFPs are very successful at this kind of mediation.
The underlying reason for Mediators’ distinct desire to resolve conflicts lies in their intense inner world. As such, INFPs have a tendency for introversion and are highly observant of their inner landscape. Their inner world is primarily characterized by ethics but also intense feelings. Consequently, they continuously seek to manifest their values and ethics in the external world. At the same time, INFPs greatly struggle with criticism and are poor organizers.
Educators flourish in professions that allow them to interact with other people. Specifically, ENFJs are exceptionally talented at motivating others to discover their full potential. As such, this personality type makes great teachers (in all areas of life) that spark the imagination of their students. At the same time, ENFJs have a genuine interest in their students and strive to help them in developing their full potential. It is the ENFJs’ honest belief in their students that makes them so popular among them.
In general, ENFJs are often regarded as individuals that are cooperative, tolerant, and easy to interact with. Similarly, Educators have an excellent understanding of their own inner landscape. For this reason, they are not only exceptionally insightful about themselves but also about others. These insights manifest in an ENFJ high sensitivity towards others and their deep care for other people.
Read more about this personality type: The ENFJ Personality Type Analyzed.
Promoters can be described as outgoing and creative individuals that are highly flexible. ENFPs have an aptitude for identifying patterns in complex systems. Even more so, they are quick to assimilate complex information. The underlying factor of their actions is their great passion for helping others. Similarly, ENFPs are highly devoted to their moral beliefs, ethics, and ideals.
In general, ENFPs have a very broad emotional landscape and enjoy experiencing intense emotions. In fact, many consider these intense experiences as a necessary aspect of life. To them, life is an exciting rollercoaster that comes with many ups and downs that cannot be avoided. For this reason, ENFPs fully immerse themselves in the (positive and negative) experiences life has to offer.
Another characteristic of ENFPs is their keen desire to communicate their experiences with others. As such, they greatly struggle when there’s no one around who wants to listen to them. But if they do find someone, they can talk (almost) to no end. Even though ENFPs talk a lot, many of their stories contain important insights and come with great benefits to the listener.
Guarding Sentinels are widely considered to be the vital element of just societies. It is their inherent (or acquired) proficiency at managing and supervising goods and services that provides the fundament for smoothly functioning processes in businesses or entire societies. At the same time, Guarding Sentinels are exceptionally dutiful, loyal, responsible, and dependable. They make trustworthy friends, devoted parents, dependable employees, and faithful mates. Another characteristic of Guarding Sentinels is that they trust in authority and observe rules carefully.
According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, roughly 50 percent of the human population consists of individuals that can be categorized as Guarding Sentinels.
In general, ISTJs can be described as highly dependable individuals that are very logical and well-organized. ISTJs have an innate wish to regulate not only their own life but also their environment. Others may perceive Examiners as silent, reserved, and (overly) serious. However, it is their exceptional thoroughness and their organized approach that often makes them exceptionally successful in their fields.
At the same time, ISTJs are exceptional at making sure that standards are maintained, rules followed, and laws adhered. Therefore, Examiners are often found in professions that require them to ensure that others follow the specified rules of a company, organization, or country. However, their greatest weakness lies in their inability to consider the individual needs of others. For this reason, ISTJs have little to no tolerance for those that circumvent regulations – even in situations where this may be the only option.
To learn more about ISTJs, have a look at The ISTJ Personality Type Explained.
Defenders take a keen interest in maintaining harmony and order. Individuals with the ISFJ personality type mainly focus on the safety and security of others – especially that of their beloved ones. However, this does not have to be limited to family members and friends only. Instead, ISFJs may also care about the people they regularly interact with, be it their colleagues, employees, or customers. To them, it seems as if they have a certain moral obligation or responsibility to take care of the safety of others. Even more so, Defenders derive meaning and fulfillment from protecting others from the negative influences of the outside world.
At the same time, the ISFJ personality type prefers to follow time-proven habits, procedures, and routines. Doing so gives them a certain sense of security and helps them to reduce potential dangers. This, however, also means that ISFJs try to avoid change as best as they can. For this reason, Defenders prefer professions that do not require them to repeatedly change themselves or their work routine.
On the positive side, ISFJs are often the protectors of the exploited and the abused. Even more so, they never shy away from aiding those that are confronted with unjust opposition.
While not all ESTJs rise to leadership positions, most of them are in some way, shape, or form in charge of others. This personality type thrives in positions where other people’s actions can be coordinated. At the same time, they have a natural ability at supervising others, directing them, and giving them orders.
ESTJs are also very community-oriented individuals. As a result of this, you will often find that The Executive is a member of various different social organizations and other associations of his or her community or industry.
When it comes to the dimension of uncertainty avoidance, ESTJs rather prefer to follow the tried and tested paths than experimenting with something new. At the same time, this personality type is very diligent and often works long hours.
Of all the 16 personalities, ESFJs are potentially the best hosts and entertainers. They are naturally gifted speakers and address audiences in a confident and entertaining manner. You will find that ESFJs are very social individuals that take care of the well-being of the people around them. Similarly, you will discover about this personality type that they derive satisfaction from spending their time making sure that other people’s needs are fulfilled.
At the same time, ESFJs struggle greatly with solitude and isolation. Individuals with the ESFJ personality type simply need other people around themselves. In fact, spending time with others and engaging in deep conversations is what helps them to recharge their batteries.
If you want to learn more about this personality type, have a look at our analysis of the ESFJ personality type.
If there’s something in your life that you find beautiful, joyful, fun, or basically any other thing you absolutely enjoy doing, it’s very likely that it was created by an Exploring Artisan. While this personality category is often mistaken to be merely made up of artists, Exploring Artisans are much more diverse and complex than that.
There are certainly many Exploring Artisans that have become masters of the fine arts and are therefore successful musicians, composers, painters, sculptors, and artists. At the same time, this personality category also includes individuals that have become true masters of other arts. These “arts” can be political, militarily, athletic, industrial, or mechanical in nature. Not to mention that many Exploring Artisans have also become popular business leaders due to their unconventional approach.
What can be safely said about Exploring Artisans is that they prefer creating and working with solid objects of the real world. At the same time, they may become quickly bored with tasks that do not allow them to work with their hands. That’s mainly because Exploring Artisans place great value on exploring the projects they are working on with all their senses.
Interestingly enough, the human population consists roughly of 25 to 30 percent of individuals that can be classified as Exploring Artisans. As such, this personality category is the second most common right behind Guarding Sentinels.
Let’s continue with our investigation of the 16 personalities. Here are the Exploring Artisans:
This personality type is naturally reserved and quiet. In fact, they may often seem detached, while in reality, they are highly observant. At the same time, ISTPs can often be found in professions that require engineering skills. One reason for this is that ISTPs have a great interest in discovering how given systems work and how they can be made more efficient. Their skill at precisely analyzing a situation or system and identifying problems greatly helps them at doing so.
Another characteristic of ISTPs is that they can develop an unusual enthusiasm whenever they are pursuing activities they are truly interested in. However, you will find that this personality type quickly gets bored when having to do repetitive tasks for too long. At the same time, ISTPs never shy away from exploring the unknown and are driven to break free from routines they perceive as limiting. In some cases, ISTPs will feel a great need to challenge themselves with extremely dangerous spare time activities or even professions.
Michael Jackson may have been one of the most prominent individuals with the ISFP personality type. In general, ISFPs are exceptionally peaceful, cooperative, and caring individuals that are easy to get along with. At the same time, they are perhaps the most sensitive personality type of all the 16 personalities. Artists have a natural inclination to fully live in the present. For this reason, they dislike being pressured by other people’s deadlines. Instead, ISFPs fully flourish in situations where they can perform their duties at a pace that is comfortable to them.
What is very interesting about this personality type is that ISFPs do not feel the need to convince others of their worldview and their opinions. Artists are fully comfortable with the fact that the people they are dealing with may have completely different beliefs. At the same time, this personality type may greatly resist adopting other people’s viewpoints.
Naturally gifted at improvising, Entrepreneurs are masters at making the best of what is available. They have a hands-on mentality, live in the present moment, and are skillful problem solvers. At the same time, they are highly impatient when confronted with people who prefer to define and discuss problems rather than actively solving them.
Interestingly enough, ESTPs are exceptionally influential individuals that are gifted at making others do their bidding. They are skillful at getting to know those influential individuals that can help them accomplish their aims. Their unique ability at quickly winning other people’s confidence greatly helps them to do so.
If you want to learn more about this character, have a look at our explanation of the ESTP personality type.
ESFPs are another personality type that enjoys living in the present moment. Of all the 16 personalities, ESFPs are perhaps those who strive the most to make the best of their lives. Never to reject pleasurable experiences and physical comforts, ESFPs always find unique approaches to meet their needs and desires.
Most ESFPs are very popular because they make good team players and focus on getting the job done. At the same time, Entertainers prefer learning by real experience rather than by acquiring theoretical knowledge. As such, they are very active individuals that always seek to learn new things by experimenting and exploring.
That’s it, we’ve discussed all of the 16 personalities of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Out of curiosity: what is your most favorite personality type to interact with and why?
I hope you enjoyed reading this overview of the 16 personalities.