Type that personality: how Myers-Briggs can help you work better
What would a Myers-Briggs-informed work-life look like? According to the authors of Do What You are, Myers-Briggs can tell us much more than merely which Harry Potter character we would be. Knowing our personality type can help us find our mission, look for jobs, and even work more productively.
What is Myers-Briggs, and does it really work?
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) is a tool that indicates which of 16 personality types types an individual adheres most closely to. It was developed by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myer in the early 20th century, drawing on the work of psychologist Carl Jung. The MBTI® uses a variety of questions to measure personality type based on four spectrums:
- Introversion/ Extroversion
- Intuition / Sensing
- Feeling / Thinking
- Judging / Perceiving
While there is no way the MBTI® can tell us who a person really ‘is’, it does offer an indication of what energises us, how we gather information, how we make decisions, and our tendencies towards structure or flexibility. Not convinced? You’re not alone: among other criticisms, it has been suggested that the MBTI® is over-simplistic and has weak validity. Find out more about the MBTI® here or take a free brief personality test here.
What kind of occupations suit my type?
In Do What You are, authors Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger include overviews of each of the sixteen personality types. Each type overview identifies criteria for job satisfaction and popular occupations.
For example: Luna Lovegood is a classic INFP Dreamer/Healer. Therefore, Tieger & Barron-Tieger suggest that Luna’s job satisfaction will be highest when the following statements are true:
– [Work] is in harmony with my own personal values and beliefs and allows me to express my vision through my work
– [Work] gives me time to develop substantial depth to my ideas and maintain control over the process and and product
– [Work] is done autonomously, with a private work space, and plenty of uninterrupted time, but with periodic opportunities to bounce my ideas off people I feel respect me – Tieger & Barron-Tieger
Which Muggle careers would best fit Luna? Among others, popular occupations listed for the INFP include artist, translator, minister and counsellor.
How does knowing my type help my job-search?
Based on strengths and weaknesses, Tieger and Barron-Tieger include tips for each personality type on how to look for jobs.
For example: my pal Dr John Watson is a dependable and caring ISFJ. Therefore, Dr Watson would be encouraged to do the following in his job-search:
– Make thoughtful decisions based upon practical considerations.
– Establish a list of criteria and refer to it frequently during the job search process, comparing potential job opportunities against it.
– Try to be objective during the decision-making process so as to remain pragmatic and realistic about what a possible job will really be like, not just how you wish it might be – Tieger & Barron-Tieger
How does knowing my type help me work better?
Tieger and Barron-Tieger also give advice on how to work better: how to increase enjoyment in our existing jobs, strengths to focus on and weaknesses to be aware of.
For example, ENTJ Leader Darth Vader could do better at his job (eg: Sith Lord / Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleetwork) by taking note of the following tips:
– Try to get appointed to strategic planning committees
– Create opportunities to be a leader (volunteer to chair a committee, etc.)
– Develop a “critical friends group” (people that help critique each others ideas) Tieger & Barron-Tieger
Overall, Tieger and Barron-Tieger suggest that Mr Vader should “slow down, focus on the details and tune into others’ needs.” Great idea, Darth.
If you find Myers-Briggs useful, Do What You Are offers a valuable insight into how your personality type works best. If you’re finding your mission, looking for jobs, or want be more awesome at your job, it is definitely worth a read.
Writing & illustration by Liz Willoughby-Martin
Like this post? You might also like next month’s post Seek out work where you don’t hate everyone: 3 fresh ways to find your mission.