Myers Briggs – Getting the facts straight

As one of the ‘army of practitioners’ who use Myers-Briggs with clients regularly and successfully, we responded to the Financial Times article  ‘Is Myers-Briggs up to the job?’.

Here’s our response. We’d be interested in your thoughts!

MBTI stands for Myers Briggs Type Indicator. It is just that, an indicator of your preferred style.

Just as most of us have a dominant hand i.e. left or right handed, we each have a preferred style.

We can still write with our other hand but it takes longer, takes more concentration and the result is not as good. It can also feel uncomfortable. The same goes for MBTI; how we get our energy, how we take in information, how we make decisions and how we live our life.

The purpose of MBTI is important today. Work can be a tribal place, and misunderstanding through communication and behaviour happen. One of the positive things about MBTI is that it helps us understand and value our behavioural preferences, and not to make assumptions about people who might just be different to ourselves.

Here at andpartnership, we work with people to find their ‘best fit’ type; the one they are most comfortable with and most like their true self.

It’s absolutely not about shoe-horning people into a box.

During the comprehensive training (which yes, you have to pay for) practitioners are given strict guidelines that MBTI is not a predictor of performance or potential and should never be used in selection interviewing or performance reviews.

Whilst the feedback a person receives may be framed positively, we always cover areas for development.

It is sometimes these that are the cause of conflict with work colleagues. For example, a ‘J’s preference for a set plan with milestones can clash with a ‘P’s preference for a more flexible plan.

Over the years, we’ve seen it help people understand their impact on others, and for teams to ensure the total is more than the sum of the parts.

In conclusion, like so many other things in our life, whether Myers Briggs is up to the job depends on who is using it.

After all, you don’t ban cars because of bad drivers.