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Responding to Type Criticism—Does a True Extravert or Introvert Even Exist?

Responding to Type Criticism—Does a True Extravert or Introvert Even Exist?

Short answer: absolutely and most definitely not. The MBTI® tool is about preferences, not about labeling people as one thing or another. Actually, I like to think of the Type Table and all the preferences within as a big 16-room house. I prefer the INFP room, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need to use all of the other rooms (and all of the other preferences). Otherwise, I would start to look a bit like a caricature of my personality.

I train groups as small as eight to a few hundred a day on the effectiveness of the Myers-Briggs® tool in the areas of communication, change management, conflict, diversity, and leadership. I often ask participants to guess whether I have a preference for Extraversion or for Introversion. Most people usually guess Extraversion. When I ask them why, the most common reply is “You seem comfortable talking in front of people” or “You wouldn’t be doing what you do if you were an Introvert.”

That’s when I get to remind people that (1) there really is no such thing as an Extravert or Introvert, because we all draw on (and need to draw on) both Extraversion and Introversion; and (2) any type can do anything. In fact, I love the work I do as a trainer not because of my preference for Extraversion or Introversion. Instead, I love what I do because of my preferences for INFP, which in many ways is about making a difference in people’s lives.

If you enjoyed this post, also check out a recent blog post by Jeff Hayes, President and CEO of CPP, Inc., which includes a response to a recent criticism about the MBTI assessment.

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