Of the numerous instruments designed to assess personality type, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® or MBTI® instrument is undoubtedly the most widely used and well-known. What’s it for? How does it work? How can it help? The purpose of the Myers-Briggs assessment, according to its two developers Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers is “to enable individuals to grow through an understanding and appreciation of individual differences in healthy personality and to enhance harmony and productivity among diverse groups.”
How does it work?
Based on a person’s answers to a series of questions, the MBTI assessment determines personality types based on four criteria. First, people find out if they have a preference for Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I), Sensing (S) or Intuition (N), Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) and Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). The results of the assessment leave you with a four letter personality type, like ESTJ or INFP.
How would knowing my personality type help me select a career?
Knowing your personality preferences can benefit your career development in many ways. Knowing who you are—for example, what energizes you, how you prefer to take in information, your approach to problem-solving, how you prefer to structure your time—can assist you in evaluating the type of job roles and career paths that will be most satisfying to you. The more you understand your own strengths and weaknesses the better able you are to look for opportunities to grow in certain areas and to shine in others—invaluable information as you look to carve out your unique career path.
For those already set on a career path, is it too late for MBTI insights to make a difference?
No, it’s never too late to learn about yourself and use the new knowledge to further your own growth and success. If you’re already set on a career path, knowing your personality type can assist you with navigating choices and answering the myriad questions that will arise along the way. If your work involves selling products or services, knowledge of type can be helpful in understanding what customers need from you, especially how they best like to learn about products and services and how they like to interact during the process of gathering information and making decisions.
Becoming a better manager
Knowing your personality type isn’t just beneficial to you — it can be a tremendously helpful management tool as well. As you learn more about personality preferences, you’ll grow to recognize, understand and appreciate personality differences. And, the insights you gain will help you to adjust your own style to meet the needs of others. One example of how the MBTI framework can be used as a development tool can be found in a case study of the Saint Francis Medical Center.
No right or wrong type
It’s important to remember that MBTI type describes preferences, not skills or ability. There is no one right personality type, it doesn’t predict behavior, and every type has the ability to function well in any career. While it is true that people typically gravitate towards careers that complement their natural preferences, we are all required to tap into those less preferred aspects of our personalities at any given time.
For more information on the MBTI visit https://www.cpp.com/products/mbti/index.aspx
Jennifer Overbo is Director of MBTI® Product Strategy for CPP, Inc., the exclusive publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® instrument.