Personality and behaviour patterns
My first encounter with personality-typing was not a good one. At university I came across a basic framework based on four temperaments: Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic and Melancholy. By answering a series of self assessment questions, respondents were assigned a dominant and secondary temperament. It came at a time when I had some friends who I admired. I was drawn to them, not only as mates, but as people who aspired to be like. We, and a whole bunch of other people we knew completed the assessment survey.
My two mates both had Sanguine Phlegmatic profiles. They were outgoing, likeable Aussie blokes who had a certain nonchalance about authority. Me on the other hand, I was Phlegmatic Melancholy. I didn't like the stereotypical description of my type, which would have been OK if, on discovery of my typing, my mates exclaimed, 'Yep, that is so you!'.
It would be much later that I came across a quote attributed to American actress Pearl Bailey, "There's a period of life when we swallow a knowledge of ourselves and it becomes either good or sour inside." At the time I didn't have the emotional maturity to embrace who I was, rather than who I wanted to be.
Since that first encounter, I have become familiar with a number of personality profiling tools including DISC, TMS, Herman Brain Dominance and Enneagram, but the one that I have found most useful has been the Myer Briggs Type Indicator. (I'm not suggesting it is the best, simply that I am most familiar with it, having become accredited as an administrator of the tool at an advanced level.)
The development of the different types within the MBTI framework happened over a very long period of time, leaning on the work of formative psychologist Carl Jung. Essentially, it was patterns of behaviour that were synthesised and grouped which led to the 16 basic personality types within the MBTI framework. It was recognised that people tended to live out a preference on 4 binary scales, in ways similar to how we have preferences for right or left handedness. The combinations of these preferences fitted with beautiful symmetry onto a 4 x 4 matrix.