Should Myers-Briggs Be Required?

Question:

What is you opinion of using the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator as a mandatory employee test and using the profile?

Signed,

Should It Be?


Answer:

Dear Should It Be?:

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has been proven reliable and valid and is the most widely used psychological assessment in the world. It looks at normal personality and is not an indicator of any abnormal behavior. The MBTI is an indicator of preferences and as such it helps us understand “how we prefer to be.” Any reputable MBTI practitioner will tell you that there are no “right or wrong” answers or “ways to be” as indicated by the instrument, so in effect it is not a test, but rather a self assessment instrument. As a self-assessment instrument, the results belong to the individual being assessed and should only be shared with others at the discretion of the individual. Because of these facts, the MBTI should never be made mandatory or used for making personnel decisions. You can think of “preferences” in the same way we think about being right handed or left-handed. We are born with this preference but we can learn to be just as skilled with our non-preferred hand as with our preferred hand. It just takes practice! We are also born with our personality preferences (although environment can have some impact on it) and many times we do learn to develop our non-preferred “way of being.” Often this takes place at work where we adapt to work expectations that cause us to develop other skills that we may not initially be comfortable with. In short, the MBTI is a great indicator of how someone “prefers to be”, but it does not indicate someone’s skills at behaving in any certain way. If individuals decide to share their MBTI results, which they often do if the environment is non-threatening, much can be learned about one another and how a work group functions together and why they function in that way. It is often used in teambuilding, leadership development, personal development and career counseling, but as always, the results belong to the individual to use for his or her own benefit.

“It’s a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”

– Albert Einstein

Kolman Rosenberg