Ask Liz: how useful is the Myers-Briggs test?

Ask Liz: how useful is the Myers-Briggs test?
Dear Liz, I recently read a thought-provoking and interesting article on the usefulness of the Myers-Briggs personality test. The article argues the test is meaningless and likens it to a Buzzfeed quiz. Yet, it’s widely used within many businesses including in adland. What are your thoughts on the test and why is it still being used?

View the article here.

I am not a psychologist but I am a Myers Briggs Practitioner and can only answer this question from my personal experience of using the MBTI. For those of you not familiar with this researched tool , the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is based around 4 dichotomies. Extraversion – Introversion, Sensing – Intuition, Thinking – Feeling, and Judging – Perceiving.

The Indicator It is most importantly based on the concept of our preferences, so thinkers can feel and feelers can think and all of us have the ability to operate all eight dichotomies. The key point is to explore what our natural preference initial entry point is. This then determines the final four letter combination. The questionnaire is based on self assessment; it is not about strength and should never be used for selection purposes. Having completed an online questionnaire, the process is to then debrief the person in an interactive way with the person deciding their own preferences.

Having run many of these sessions now, the clarity and insight that people gain when going through the MBTI process is always quite extraordinary. Each group I have worked with gain considerable awareness of the fact that we all do not view or operate in the world in the same way, the appreciation of our differences and the gifts we all have to offer. This knowledge is game changing for some teams.

The MBTI profile can also help with stress, understanding diversity, can assist leaders with managing change and provide valuable focus for the coaching relationship. Self awareness is great gift to have as it allows you to look how you interact with others; with your team, your client and in your personal relationships.

Our business is all about relationships and if it means we have tools to allow personal flexibility in these interactions then this surely has to be a good thing.

If you have an HR-related issue that you need answering by our expert Liz Nottingham, HR Director at Starcom MediaVest and VivaKi Country Talent & Transformation Officer, please contact her via anjali@ipa.co.uk. Any questions published will appear anonymously.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and were submitted in accordance with the IPA's terms and conditions regarding the uploading and contribution of content to the IPA's newsletters, IPA website, or other IPA media, and should not be interpreted as representing the opinion of the IPA.

Last updated 23/07/2014

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