Even if you never heard of the Myer Briggs personality test before, it’s very likely that your career has been influenced by this test developed in the 1960’s by Isabel Myers (1897-1980) and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs (1875-1968). Their vision was to enable individuals to grow through an understanding and appreciation of individual differences in healthy personalities and to enhance harmony and productivity in diverse groups.
Corporations and recruitment agencies spend millions of dollars each year giving workers and potential candidates for a job the Myer Briggs personality test (also referred to as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test (MBIT)) to steer training programs and career goals. The graphic below gives you a sense of how 16 bigger-than-life personalities would fit in the Myers-Briggs philosophy.

the myers briggs personality test

Whether people first hear about the two kinds of perception and two kinds of judgment as children, high school students, parents or grandparents, the richer development of their own type can be a rewarding adventure for the rest of their lives.–Isabel Myers


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16 personality types

The official test is based on Carl Jung’s work in psychological typology. In 1921, Carl Gustav Jung published a book entitled Psychological Types which categorized people into primary personality types. Jung’s suggested that individuals are either born with, or develop, certain preferred ways of perceiving and deciding. The Myer Briggs Personality test sorts some of these psychological differences into four opposite pairs with a resulting 16 possible psychological types. The four pairs are; Extroversion (E) vs (I) Introversion, Sensing (S) vs (N) Intuition, Thinking (T) vs (F) Feeling and Judging (J) vs (P) Perception. People who prefer judgment over perception are not necessarily more judgmental or less perceptive. None of these types are considered better or worse, but research indicates that certain personalities will be a better fit to certain tasks & challenges within a business.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein would be classified as an INTP (Introvert, Intuition, Thinking, Perception, 1-3% of population). INTPs are quiet, thoughtful, analytical individuals who tend to spend long periods of time on their own, working through problems and forming solutions. They are curious about systems and how things work. Consequently, they are frequently found in careers such as science, philosophy, law, psychology, and architecture. They prize autonomy in themselves and others. They also tend to be impatient with the bureaucracy, rigid hierarchies, and the politics prevalent in many professions. INTPs have little regard for titles and badges, which they often consider to be unjustified. INTPs accept ideas based on merit, rather than tradition or authority. They have little patience for social customs that seem illogical or that obstruct the pursuit of ideas and knowledge.

INTPs organize their understanding of any topic by articulating principles, and they are especially drawn to theoretical constructs. Having articulated these principles for themselves, they can demonstrate remarkable skill in explaining complex ideas to others in very simple terms, especially in writing. On the other hand, their ability to grasp complexity may also lead them to provide overly detailed explanations of simple ideas, and listeners may judge that the INTP makes things more difficult than they need to be.

Winston Churchill

On pretty much the opposite side of the scale we have the Winston Churchill, or the ESTP  (Extravert, Sensing, Thinking, Perception, 4-5% of population). According to the Myer Briggs personality test, ESTPs are hands-on learners who live in the moment, seeking the best in life, wanting to share it with their friends. The ESTP is open to situations, able to improvise to bring about desired results. They are bold and tactical people who want to solve their problems rather than simply discuss them.

The Myer Briggs personality test

The Myer Briggs personality test has been used for decades, but it is commonly criticized as a “soft” tool that produces results that aren’t always relevant enough to be applied fully in business and career settings. But despite the criticism, the test offers a lot of value for small business owners and freelancers who want to learn more about themselves and identify potential opportunities for greater success. Find out more about your personality on the Lighthouse8, FREE resources page – Free online version of the Myer Briggs personality test.

Sources&Resources

http://www.washingtonpost.com

http://www.123test.com

The Myer & Briggs Foundation

Lighthouse8, FREE resources – Free online version of the Myer Briggs personality test

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