Is Myers Briggs old fashioned?
Does it still have its use in forward-thinking businesses?
That’s what we’re looking at now.
So let’s get started.
First of all – what is Myers Briggs?
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality assessment tool that identifies the personality types of you and your staff, helping you all become the best version of yourselves.
Developed by Katherine Myers and Isobel Briggs in 1942, it is still to this day the most popular & trusted personality assessment tool.
Criticism & conspiracies
Twitter has its uses, but it’s perhaps the most useful for conspiracy theory fans looking to lose six days down a rabbit hole. So, like many things (including Flat Earth) Myers Briggs has been victim to this.
Unlike some of the Tweets suggest, Myers and Briggs were not white supremacists looking to use MBTI to build a superior race.
I’d say it’s “fake news”, but am not keen on that phrase (for some reason).
MBTI is fakeable
I’ll be honest about this: it’s relatively easy to fake your MBTI personality type.
If someone really wanted to, they could identify which personality they thought would be desirable, and then answer the questions to match it.
Why would someone do this?
Because society has us believe acting in a certain way is better than others. People think being extroverted is better, for example. But that’s not the case.
(This is very true in leaders – introverted leaders often become extroverts overnight after a promotion.)
But if you have a team full of people who think the same way, you’ll have no creativity. It’s essential everyone is different.
The fact Myers Briggs is fakeable is one of the reasons why it’s not licenced for recruitment use. I agree with this.
But in a business setting, in the right circumstances and with the right goals, it’s invaluable.
In MBIT’s defence
In some spaces, Myers Briggs has a cult-like following. I’ve seen this first-hand.
(At one MBTI event I went to, I found about four people who could hold a normal conversation without getting evangelical about it.)
But it’s the way you use Myers Briggs that makes it a powerful tool – not the tool itself.
Yes, it’s interesting when everyone gets their personality type and people enjoy it when they have the same as their friend on the team…
… however, the real power is then how you use this information to grow each individual person on your team, while improving your teamwork and communication.
It’s about how you align MBTI with your business goals and needs and this starts with identifying whether MBTI is what you actually need, or not, to begin with.
My approach to Myers Briggs
If I don’t think MBTI is going to be part of the solution to your problem, I won’t suggest it or try and shoehorn it in.
MBTI isn’t the special key to unlock your business potential or anything like that. It’s not the secret cure. It’s a tool.
And if your team reject it or you don’t put into practice what we do, it won’t work.
Another terrible reason to do MBTI is because you think it’s ‘interesting’ or ‘fascinating’. If a client says this, I won’t do it.
MBTI must have real business and commercial applications. It must contribute towards marginal gains and get your:
- Leadership team performing at least 10% more effectively.
- Team communicating better.
- Senior leadership team seeing the impact on your bottom line.
All of the above is more than achievable with the help of MBTI – but that’s the essential part here… with the help of.
It’s then down to us and how we apply the findings to make sure your team are happy, feel valued, and feel safe enough to be creative.
Because that’s where true business growth comes from.
Like anything in life, there are two sides to everything.
So it’s up to you who to believe – years of data-backed research or someone sitting in their mam’s spare room spreading stories on Twitter.
(I’ll stop there, though – in case I start sounding evangelical about it too!)
I thought it best not to shy away from some of the stories since you’re always better hearing both sides of an argument before you make up your own mind. Similar to leadership.
If you’d like to learn more about how MBTI can help your business, here’s how Myers Briggs helped Tennick accountants achieve a record month.