Recently, one of my coworkers shared a laugh with me during a meeting and commented that I must be an ENFJ, given some of my remarks during a presentation. Luckily, I knew exactly what she meant, as years ago I had taken The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) test, a self-assessment exercise designed to identify a person's personality type, strengths and preferences.
On September 12th, Crowfoot Library is hosting Personality Types: Understand, Connect and Work Better. Participants will learn how Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI) can help gain insights into their own and others' personality types and be happier at work. I asked presenter Emma Geoghegan, (M.Ed) more about MBTI, and how it can play out in the workplace:
Emma, more than 2 million people take this test annually. Why do you think it’s so popular?
I think it really helps people understand themselves and others better. This knowledge has lots of utility. It can be used as a tool to enhance communication, make better career choices, and increase a team’s effectiveness.
Can MBTI help employees figure out how they can thrive and perform at a higher level in the workplace?
The MBTI can help people understand their strengths and areas for growth. When we understand our natural aptitudes and what motivates us we can make career choices that allow us to manage our career and pick roles we are likely to thrive in!
What about helping workers better understand better why their coworkers behave or react to situations in a certain way? In other words, can understanding people’s personality types help avoid conflicts in the workplace?
Not only can awareness of different personality types help us avoid conflict but it can improve communication and relationships. When we have a better understanding of how a person processes information, arrives at decisions, and is likely going to behave in a situation, we are better able to anticipate and meet their needs. Likewise, when our colleagues understand us and our needs they are better able to support us.
Is one personality type the "best" or "better" than any other one in the workplace, or valued by employers?
There is no one personality type that is better. Each personality type has different gifts, and the importance is to understand and value your own gifts. We need people of all personality types in the workplace, as it can strengthen the organization as each individual and personality type offers unique insights and strengths. If we all thought the same way or behaved in the same manner, we would not have the innovations we have in today’s society.
Does your assessment result often change as you age, have children or experience significant changes in your life?
According to Myers and Briggs’ theory, personality is innate, so therefore it should not change overtime. However, we can become more skilled or better able to adapt to the demands of our environment. For example, perhaps my innate way of being is that I focus more on the big picture and overlook the details, but if I worked in a detail oriented role, such as bookkeeping, I may enhance my ability to work with details. My skills may become so strong that I question whether I naturally focus on patterns and relationships, or details because my skills in these apparently opposite ways of viewing information are both well developed. As we increase our skills overtime it may become harder to decipher what is a learned skill versus our natural aptitude.
Want more information? Calgary Public Library has dozens of books on personality and occupations.
Search our catalogue to browse for books, or call 403-260-2782 for assistance.