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Responding to Criticism of the MBTI Assessment

Apr 25, 2017 in MBTI Talk | 0 comments

Written by Dr. Penny Moyle “As an MBTI practitioner, I encounter a lot of individual opinions and viewpoints about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, sometimes incredibly positive and sometimes vehemently critical. When our work and methods are criticized, it is natural to want to defend oneself, but in doing so it can be difficult not to come across as rather defensive. Understanding where critics of the MBTI assessment are coming from, and how to respond to the individual points that they raise, has an important place. However, there are powerful alternatives to the blow-by-blow rebuttal method… I  met someone recently (at a 5-year old’s birthday party, of all places) who, when I was introduced as a Business Psychologist specializing in personality, was quick to tell me that the head of her organization is a ‘big fan of the Myers-Briggs’. She went on to tell me her concern about a recent article that had been doing the rounds, which was critical of the MBTI assessment. I’m sure that this is a scenario that most of us MBTI practitioners are familiar with – first, as soon as we mention an interest in personality, many people’s first thought is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It is after all the world’s most popular personality assessment. Second, even those who have had a positive experience with the Myers-Briggs assessment can’t help but wonder about the value of that experience when they hear about various criticisms. I don’t know exactly which critique was the cause in this case, but I was interested and pleased to hear what the response had been in that particular organization. Apparently the article was emailed around the organization – admittedly an academically-oriented institution in Oxford, full of smart, independently-minded individuals who just love to read articles. The response within the organization was overwhelming. The clear consensus was that these individuals had each found the MBTI assessment process (which, of course, had included a best-fit discussion with a trained practitioner) to be ‘eerily accurate’. On top of this, the advice given to each of them as to how they could improve their performance by having a more complete understanding of where they sit within this framework, and how to engage the other 15 MBTI Types, was very useful. On the back of this discussion about their own individual experiences, the organization concluded that it was best to put their own experiences before the criticism in...

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You, Your Brain, and Your MBTI Personality Type

Apr 18, 2017 in MBTI Talk | 0 comments

By Dario Nardi, UCLA Fellow and type author, trainer and publisher What’s going on in your brain? These days, we can peer inside and watch at every millisecond as brain regions get active, send signals, coordinate, dampen each other, and otherwise sustain ‘you’. A couple of hours with an EEG machine produces 45 million data points. What can that data say about your psyche? Does that data jive with type? The answers, while not tidy, continue to amaze, challenge, and inspire. On a fine October Saturday in 2006, I sat down with some university students to explore the brain. An EEG machine reports electrical activity from the neocortex, that thick outermost layer that is home to much conscious human experience. It is one thing to read about the brain and speculate about links to personality. It is another to see the machine light up, responding in real-time with a telling variety of bars and colours. When the first student that day donned a snug red nylon EEG cap and spoke his first words, auditory regions of his brain lit up. When he made a decision, his left executive region got active, and so forth. We were so excited: the brain is for real! I could hardly sleep for weeks, plotting lab activities and wondering about implications. Now, seven years later, the tool of neuroscience continues to act like type: a fount of practical insights that keeps on giving. A first thing about the brain: it is ‘organised’. Broadly speaking, your brain consists of many small modules. Each module is a neural circuit that helps you do a task. Some tasks are concrete, such as recognising faces, hearing voice tone, and moving a hand. Other tasks are abstract, such as evaluating ethics, adjusting to others’ feedback, and mentally rehearsing a future action. There are easily five dozen modules just in the neocortex. Moreover, there are broad qualities like empathy and imagination – the stuff of the psyche. These are supported by various modules working in concert, like instruments in a symphony. The 16 Myers-Briggs types speak to something real. Each type is like a different song played by our symphonic brain. After working in depth with almost 70 subjects, trying various tasks for two or three hours with each, I can say with confidence that people who identify with the same type code tend to rely on similar brain regions. For...

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What if your date is just not your type? Myers-Briggs Types and Dating

Apr 13, 2017 in MBTI Talk | 0 comments

What can the MBTI® tool tell us about dating? Do birds of a feather stick together, or do opposites attract? And what makes a great date for different types? We hosted a webinar a while back about MBTI Type and Relationships, but wanted to touch specifically on type and dating, especially with the rise and popularity of online dating sites. In fact, of the 54M single individuals in the US, 49M of them have tried online dating, with 16M on eHarmony and 23M Match.com members. Ironically though, a third of the people who are on online dating sites haven’t actually gone on a date in person with anyone from those platforms. Still, currently 5% of people married in the last ten years have met their spouse online. Extraverted and Introverted Dates Those who prefer Extraversion are likely to be the life and soul of the party on a first date. They are perfectly happy and at ease doing all of the talking, as well as instigating the date and making the first moves. In fact, when dating a person with Introversion, Extraverts can spend their whole evening talking and answering their own questions, and even supplying answers for the Introvert, with no response necessary. And at the end of the date they might even thank the bamboozled Introvert for a fantastic time! Often Introverts seek a quieter and more intimate setting for a first date, such as dinner for two, with low lights and soft sounds, where they can really get to know the other person. Depth and meaning in conversation is often important to an Introvert, and too much external noise might leave them reaching for the wine bottle in despair (while we haven’t done any research on the topic of Introversion and alcohol ourselves, we all know how people can use substances to self-medicate, and that includes bad dates). However, despite their differences, an Extravert–Introvert match can often be a very good one. Those with a preference for Extraversion can be very attractive to those with Introversion preferences, who can find them easy companions with a natural flair for conversation. Just make sure you check in first before you take your Introversion-preference date to howl out I Will Survive at a karaoke bar. Great dates for someone who prefers Extraversion might involve going to a carnival or festival or even a concert– hushed museums or libraries are to be avoided...

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Ten Recommended Books about MBTI Personality

Apr 4, 2017 in MBTI Talk | 0 comments

Which books about MBTI® personality theory and type have had the biggest impact on practitioners? We posted this question on one of our LinkedIn groups a while back to discover the titles that had most impressed and inspired practitioners or been a key support in their work with the MBTI assessment. Twenty books rose to the top of the pile. Here are the first ten – in no particular order – with comments from the individual reviewers. We’ll be publishing the second batch later in the year. 1. Life Types – understand yourself and make the most of who you are, Sandra Krebs Hirsh and Jean Kummerow (1989) “A very easy book to dip into to get some insight into the fascinating world of other, different people, especially the chapters on each type in the second half of the book. The section on ‘loving’ for my type has been especially useful…” (John Hackston, Head of Research and Development at OPP) 2. Type Talk: The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love, and Work, Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen (1989) “A detailed glimpse into our working roles within our life cycle in and outside the workplace. This book has assisted me in evaluating close working relationships and how to improve them .” (Stacey Killon, Senior Learning & Development Advisor for NHS South Commissioning Support Unit – Assoc CIPD) 3. The MBTI Manual, Isabel Myers, Mary McCaulley, Naomi Quenk and Allen Hammer (third edition, 1998) “It’s now in its third edition, and I cut my teeth on the second edition back in ‘85 when I was first introduced to the MBTI. Yes, it’s the book with all the technical data in it that many people just put away on their book shelf after they’re qualified. But it has so much more than tables of numbers (that this INTJ loves). Please pull if off the shelf and delve into it – you will find it full of treasures for type practitioners, especially the application chapters: Uses of Type in Organisations and Uses of Type in Multicultural Settings .” (Betsy Kendall, Executive Director, COO and Head of Professional Services at OPP Ltd) “My course manual! Still got it .” (Dawn Sillett, author of How to be Zoomly at work – the essential handbook for thriving at work) 4. Was that really me? How Everyday Stress Brings out Our Hidden Personality, Naomi...

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The Importance of Good Judgement – Values, Leaders & the MBTI Assessment

Mar 31, 2017 in MBTI Talk | 0 comments

So many things in life rely on good judgment. We often find ourselves in situations where there are no right or wrong answers. Our final decision comes down to a matter of judgment. There are lots of examples of good judgement (and bad judgement) in current affairs right now, and it’s more complicated than just asking if someone has broken a law. We need confidence that the people we choose to represent us are going to exhibit good judgment across a whole range of important decisions. Sound judgment is essential, and is perhaps one of the most crucial assets required of a leader. So the question is, do all leaders have the potential to exercise good judgment? With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to say that a leader did or didn’t exercise good judgment. Just look at the Iraq war and what we have learned in retrospect. However, in the case of political leaders, we as voters need to be able to predict … in advance… which candidate has the greatest potential to exercise good judgment when leadership decisions need to be made under pressure. To be able to predict, we first need to understand what influences our leaders’ decisions. One of the key drivers in making decisions and exercising good judgment is an individual’s own set of values, that being a set of deeply held beliefs about what is good, right and appropriate. These values are deep-seated and remain constant over time, guiding us in our daily actions. Our values develop based on many influences such as culture, parental guidance, societal expectations and individual differences.  One of the individual differences that seems to impact what values we adhere to is our personality preference.  MBTI Type preference serves as a mental filter.  Due to the vast amount of stimuli in the environment, we cannot take in and process all information equally. Therefore our type preference can influence the values we develop.  This happens when we consciously or unconsciously pay attention to judge or hold in higher regard certain behaviors, attitudes or characteristics exhibited by others. Over time, these natural biases can develop into deeply held beliefs or values. Values tend to lie underneath and ultimately steer our agendas, and everyone has various subsets of values. When it comes to leadership and good judgment, we can look at two subsets of values: those that guide someone towards acting to...

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