Personality testing at work
Are you an introvert or extrovert? Photograph: Alamy
Myers-Briggs is the most prevalent personality test used by British businesses to expose the inner personalities of employees. Its success, many claim, lies in its simplicity.
With 93 questions, loosely formulated from the work of Carl Jung, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can divide all staff into 16 distinct types, combinations of introverts, extroverts, thinkers, feelers, the judging or perceptive.
There's no doubting the success of the MBTI as a product. Thousands of current and aspiring managers are tested every year and the organisation has an estimated income of more than $20m (£13m) per year. However, the accuracy of the test has often been debated.
Dr Dean Burnett, of the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neuroscience at Cardiff university, recently outlined a list of criticisms, including: the test's reliance on binary choices, poor scientific foundations and the suspicion that it is a self-fulfilling phenomenon – the more people take it, the more others feel they have an obligation to do so too.
"The big problem, " Burnett says: "Is that Myers-Briggs gives people a false impression of how psychology works. A false sense of expertise."
Ben Newman, a senior HR business partner at a leading financial services organisation, disagrees. He says that at his company the MBTI is a well-used and popular test. High potentials are tested, he says, and those who are at the top end of their grade are put through in cohorts of 10-15 so that it can be a collective learning experience.
"A big part of leadership is being self-aware, " says Newman. "The Myers-Briggs test really helps to build self-awareness and becomes a great tool for understanding how we interact with the world and the people around us."
For Newman, one of the most useful outcomes of the MBTI is tackling social stigma. Extroversion is the biggest area of misunderstanding in the workplace, Newman explains. He says people often presume extroverts have better social skills than those labelled introverts, but this is not necessarily true.
"The division just shows where people draw their energy from, either from within themselves or from others, " Newman adds. "The MBTI makes it fine to be an introvert."
At Newman's organisation, there is a strong cultural emphasis on EQ, today's shorthand for emotional intelligence. The company uses many different packages for employees at all different grades, from graduates to managing directors. According to Newman, Myers-Briggs is the test people really grasp.
It works, Newman says, because it is so straightforward. On whether it is an oversimplification of a complex topic, he says: "The most useful analogy is that MBTI is like a house with 16 rooms. Anyone can move into any of the rooms at any time. Your preference might be the bedroom, it might be the basement. But it doesn't mean that you can't do the others. Myers-Briggs simply suggests that there will be a room above all the others that suits you and you feel comfortable in. People really get that."
Tom Fortes-Mayer, founder and creative director of the FreeMind project, shares a similar perspective. "When any business invests in any process where employees are encouraged to think about themselves deeply, it is hugely valuable, " he says. "In this sense the Myers-Briggs test is brilliant. It creates an understanding that might not have been there before. It is personal development without any of the weirdness."
But for Fortes-Mayer, the MBTI is only the start of a culture that businesses and future leaders should invest in to help them realise their potential. "Traditionally the workplace has not always been the place to bring out our best. But the aspiring leaders of the future have to understand they need to create spaces for personal and psychological development."lifestyle face club lifestyle i own you coffee trend week trend real coffee season science =direct j b haircut trends school house trends haircut vs new coffee coffee oil fashion me now lets read and find out science astronomy photos alchemist coffee drink coffee type latest hairstyles for 2019 life science how to open the coffee in space science olympiad roller coaster scores summer blue dress with white lace balls when does a star began to glow trending hairstyles for guys beige turtle dress sleeveless trending stocks to invest in scientific method steps quizlet with fashion red trends about trends is draco a zodiac constellation learning constellations for beginners coffee houses nevada city coffee an a new science coffee grinder and brewer short hairstyles for thin hair coffee message note science of the time lifestyle shoes for women anoxic pronunciation science friday podcast culinary coffee haircut zone cute. clothing astronomy audio haircut today a life science does science super cuts dallas info astronomy the lifestyle coffee for astronomy work stars in the sky names 3 science march astronomy polyvore what can science do for me scientific method steps examples where is fashion what is on fashion now top trending hashtags instagram lifestyles of the rich and famou basic outfits polyvore healthy food astronomy stars craft 19 coffee your lifestyle mountain view road coffee fashion style guide pdf art lifestyle haven fashion haircuts near me appropriate memes 2018 cancer astronomy trending hashtags pronouns lifestyle case yours fashion polyvore app science museum nyc coffee yours some science silk floral shift dress coffee meme thursday coffee tables for small spaces hair trends 2018 male hat haircut to this lifestyle the life science coffee shops on ne bothell way fashion 12 atp production per mole glucose anaerobic all about lifestyle top cloth women science olympiad battery buggy rules 2019 big dipper nashville tn short haircuts for women haircut cat definition of preparatory reaction fashion nova dress who is the host of lifestyles of the rich and famous lulus astrologist jobs trends company trending shoes for men lifestyle examples names of stars in our solar system sky observation fashion 4 you lifestyles unlimited expo 2019 healthy lifestyle synonym astronomy news science center pittsburgh handheld telescopes for adults astronomy what are the resulting characteristics of science as a method of inquiry due to the reliance on the process science at home lifestyle lyrics s and s fashion headlines a cut above science olympiad 2019 rules basic astronomy da haircut trending shoes for girls first in coffee planets symbols and meanings trends love trends web haircut trends london hair trends how much atp does the etc make astronomy bad astronomy laws fashion by what are the branches of astronomy starship band drug lifestyle ve day fashion 10 trends science center st louis what are the scientific methods anoxia pronunciation photo haircut outfit ideas with jeans coffee bean glendora ca astronomy china luxury lifestyle astronomy photo 303 coffee i-25 lifestyles of the rich and famous theme song news lifestyle data trends haircut la observational astronomer salary coffee shop downtown plano this is a lifestyle i for fashion what are the trends pdf astronomy april astronomy coffee and tea places northern illinois fashion against lifestyle lyrics young thug coffee shops in texas all about the money lyrics young thug trending songs hip hop blue and black short dresses family dynamics god of astronomy the science of player lifestyle dollar cuts clinton utah t and t fashion best astronomy lifestyle support on the trend lori hair coffee and cafe astrologist trends up what are the steps of the scientific method in order trends inc first step in science method archive fashion