The first letter of the MBTI is about how people gain energy. It comprises of the E (Extrovert) and I (Introvert) characteristics. The second letter is about how someone takes in and perceives information.
According to Psychologist Carl Jung, people take in and perceive information in one of two ways:
- intuitively a.k.a. iNtuitive (N)
- concretely a.k.a. Sensing (S)
On the MBTI assessment report, this will be labeled as iNtuitive or Sensing. The capitalization in the labels signifies what letter they represent. Don’t let the “N” confuse you. You may ask why is it not an “I”. Well, the “I” was already taken by the first dichotomy.
What being an iNtuitive (S) means
Intuitive’s start with the big picture The Second Letter of the MBTI and over time tread through the details of information.
You can think of this as “right-brain” thinking.
“N’s” tend to provide insight into the possibilities of things. They tend to use their “hunch” and come to a likely conclusion of what another is saying before the conversation is even over (I can say that because I’m an “N”).
Persons who are oriented to the “N” tend to work in the abstract, imagination and are future oriented.
What having Sensing (S) in your assessment means
Sensing (S) people start with the details and work towards the big picture of things.
You can think of this as “left-brain” thinking.
Those with an “S” like to work with what exists, what’s in front of them and what’s observable by way of their senses.
Common characteristics of someone who’s an “S” include:
- powers of acute observation
- memory for the details of the past and present
- a sense of realism
- the possibilities of an idea mean little without proof from experiences
An example of the “S” and “N” in action
If you were to ask an “S” type and “N” type to describe their perception of an apple, you’ll hear two very different descriptions.
An “S” type will describe an apple as “red, crisp, and brown stemmed.” An “N” type is likely to describe an apple as “their mom’s pie, apple crisp, and an apple a day will…”
What this means to a business
If you want to have a solid plan in place for the growth of any kind in any way, you need to have a “San and “N” type in all of your meetings.
Those who perceive information from the “S” perspective are going to come in with details and facts from the past. They’re likly the ones who’ll have data to back everything up. Allow them to share that information as past performance can help you determine what’s working and not working.
The “N” needs to be in your meetings to see connections where others may not seem them. They may understand how one decision in one area of the business can affect another decision in another. They’ll be able to come up with ideas to improve areas of your business your “S” types tell you that needs help (of course, with the data they bring).
The key to having both sides in a meeting is the respect each side has for the other. Everyone needs to understand the point-of-view others bring to the table. Without respect, meetings will become wasted time and cause frustration amongst your staff.
You can be “S” and “N”
Everyone has qualities of both. The MBTI gives you a reference point for where you’re most comfortable… what your go-to modality is when you’re not stressed. What Carl Jung understood and is considered in the MBTI is how people are dynamic. People are not solid states of emotion. Stresses in one’s life affect the amount of “S” or “N” you use in any given situation. This is important to remember when you take the MBTI and see all the letters.
You’re unique. The MBTI is a fluid tool and is not meant to put you in a box. It’s a tool to allow you to understand your most natural operating system.