31 Days of Myers-Briggs :: Day 5 Tools & Communication


If you're new to this series, then I recommend taking a look at the other days. 

Day 1: Introduction

Day 2: What do the Letters Mean?

Day 3: Where I'm coming from, the Nature vs Nurture of Personality

Day 4: Synoposis of the Four Personality Types


In understanding more about the Four Personality Types, I am indebted to David Keirsey & his analysis on the use of tools & communication as integral parts in the contrast & comparision within the types.  It is the way in which we use tools & communication, which not only sets us apart from all other species in the animal world; but, they also distinguish us among humans.  Through Keirsey's research, he found two ways in which tools were manipulated & words were communicated.  

Tools were used cooperative or utilitarian.  Words & communication was done abstractly or concretely.

NTs use tools for utilitarian function & use communication for abstract function.

SPs use tools for utilitarian function & use communication for concrete function.

SJs use tools for cooperator function & use communication for concrete function.

NFs use tools for cooperator function & use communication for abstract function.


How do we make sense of this?

NFs & NTs use words & communication abstractly.  They communicate on the same wavelength.  This is why NTs & NFs might "get" each other when it comes to communicating.  In fact, these two types would pair rather well together in relationships, due to their likeness in the communication field. However, they utilize tools differently (more on that in a moment).

SPs & SJs use words & communication concretely.  They communicate on the same wavelength, but organize their worlds differently.  SPs & SJs tend to "get" each other when it comes to communicating as a result.  Just like the NT & NF pair well in relationships, so do the SP & SJ.  However, they utilize tools differently as well.

SPs & NTs use tools with a utilitarian mindset, while SJs & NFs use tools with a cooperator mindset.  Tools can be seen how they implement their goals.  Tools are not just what one would find at a hardware store.  It's much more broad & also not.  It's clothing, walkways, food, cars, computers, chairs, etc.  The Cooperators tool usage is highly dependent upon how it will affect their relationship with the greater or smaller community, and/or laws that be.  While the Utilitarians tool usage has more to do with how they can effectively use & manipulate tools to get where they want to go, without regard to social rules.  

Cooperators (NFs & SJs) do consider the effectiveness of tools, but only second to ensuring that they please others & observe the established rules.  Utilitarians are less interested in abiding by the rules if it means they can create with their tools something for their end goal.  

We can see Steve Jobs leaving this legacy of utilitarian tool usage.  It might shock some of us NFs & SJs to think of someone not being cooperative in their tool usage, because it defies the greater community (in our minds at least).  However, Jobs with his innovative ideas, breaking the "norms" & seeing greater potential for the world of technology, he utilized tools with a utilitarian mindset & we can see the value of it. Jobs happened to be an ENTP.  


By looking at the uses of tools & communication, we can see how the four types crossover & have connections & then some don't connect at all under tools or communication (SPs & NFs=no commonality & SJs & NTs=no commonality).  But as you look at people, you can also begin to see how they communicate & use tools to get a better understanding of where they are coming from & how they are created.  This is true in marriage, partnerships, parenting, working environments, etc.  

Do you have any clarifying questions? Input or thoughts? How does knowing tools & communication help you identify the beauty in relationships that would otherwise drive you nuts? How can you best implement this in your people watching?