According to the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, I’d be classified as an INTJ. Or maybe ISTJ. Could depend on the day.
The Myers-Briggs classification format is widely used in our industry (and many others), but is it really worthwhile? According to this article with a rather provocative title (Why the Myers-Briggs Test is Totally Meaningless), the entire scheme is questionable. I’d encourage you to read the entire article.
Today, I want to focus on one question: is the Myers-Briggs test a good tool for predicting career success – or, for that matter, helping shape career choices?
I am actually a big fan of profiling – mapping out one’s makeup and tendencies and abilities (I often use the terms personal/professional DNA, or internal wiring) to try to see where a person can ideally “fit” career-wise.
But I think a personality test – whether or not it’s resting on a valid foundation – has limits. Because a truer indicator of success is a performance test.
What are you actually good at doing? What does your track record of work indicate is your professional “sweet spot“?
Some of our traits are hard-wired (I, for instance, am an introvert) but can be managed and behaviorally-modified over time (I am an outgoing networker). Looking strictly at my Myers-Briggs personality type, I’m a very unlikely entrepreneur – but there’s more to us than 4 letters and 16 boxes.
We each have unique gifts. We have special (and cultivated) abilities. We act in ways that succeed or fail. We perform, sometimes well beyond what one might expect out of an arrangement of our profile descriptions.
I’ve talked to an amazing array of successful sales people, some of whom are analytical introverts, others of whom are outgoing relationship-sparking wizards. They’ve succeeded by using their abilities, and as they’ve moved into new roles, it becomes evident (sometimes painfully so) where their best competencies truly are.
Performance joined to personality tells the story.
What are your feelings about Myers-Briggs and other such approaches? Helpful? Bogus? Share your insights in the comments!
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