Week 3: Who Am I?
In week one, I asked you to evaluate the three roles that small businesspeople must master (technical, entrepreneurial, and managerial). Last week, I asked you to evaluate where your organizational problems lie—with your people, the process, or your product.
This week, I want you to look into yourself. How well do you know yourself? You will be more successful if you know the conditions in which you do your best work. For example, it is unlikely that the accountant would make a great salesman or that a great salesman will make a great accountant. For that reason, I want you to complete the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator.
Despite its detractors, the Meyers-Briggs is the “Gold standard…the most widely used personality assessment on the planet” (Cunningham, 2012). “80% of Fortune 500 and 89% of Fortune 100 companies use it to analyze the personality of employees” (Felioni & Gould, 2014, para.1). In fact,
More than 10,000 companies, 2,500 colleges and universities and 200 government agencies in the United States use the test. From the State Department to McKinsey & Co., it’s a rite of passage. It’s estimated that 50 million people have taken the Myers-Briggs personality test since the Educational Testing Service first added the research to its portfolio in 1962 (Cunningham, 2012, para. 5).
The official test costs $49.95, but there are multiple versions of this test with minor variations. Sometimes it is called the Jung Typology Test, but most are generically referred to as the Meyers-Briggs. Take the test for free at www.humanmetrics.com The Myers-Briggs is one of the most common personality assessments. It will provide insight into your natural tendencies. Answer the questions based on how you normally are (not how you are in a particular situation such as a sales situation). It will give you a 4-letter personality type such as INTJ or ESFP.
Each letter stands for a choice between two tendencies:
E (Extroversion) vs. I (Introversion) – Energy
Extroversion means that you draw your energy by being around people. Introversion means that you draw your energy from solitude. You may enjoy people, but you only enjoy a select few people.
N (Intuition) vs. S (Sensing) – Perceiving information
Next, iNtuition suggests that you lean on hunches. This type of person is comfortable with less than complete information, inferring what lacks. In contrast, Sensing means that you lean on your five senses as you make decisions.
T (Thinking) vs. F (Feeling) – Decision making
Thinking means that you make decisions with your head. Thinkers are logical and rational and they think in terms of the principle of the situation. In contrast, Feelers make decisions with their heart. They are more in touch with their emotions and they naturally consider how their decisions will affect people. They tend to be more compassionate.
J (Judging) vs. P (Perceiving) – Implementation and organization
Judging and Perceiving are not the greatest terms. Judging really means that you have a tendency to want closure. You like decisions to be finalized. In contrast, Perceiving means that you like to keep your options open or your like to explore all the options. This might be understood as Order vs. Options (but they could not use the letter O twice).
There are 16 personality combinations. Each type should average 6.25% of the population, but some are more common than others. According to the Meyers & Briggs Foundation (2016), ISFJs and ESFJs are 13.8% and 12.3% of the population respectively. In contrast, ENTJs are only 1.8% of the population.
Some professions are disproportionate too. Accountants are disproportionately ISTJs and ESTJs. In fact, the Accounting Editor’s Journal found that 42% of accounting students fell into these two personality types (Thompson, 2016). This does not mean that you cannot be an effective accountant if you have a different personality type, but the odds are that you might be less comfortable as an accountant if you are an ENFP.
Finally, the magic of the Meyers-Briggs is not just in learning about yourself, but understanding how others are different. Read about each personality type at http://www.16personalities.com/personality-types.
Actionable items:
Take the Meyers-Briggs Test. What is your type?
Read the more elaborate descriptions about your personality type from http://www.16personalities.com/personality-types. Does it ring true? How does it affect you in your current work situation?
Watch this month’s Snack-Sized skill from Practical Dramatics on telephone etiquette. It provides great advice about etiquette, but as you watch this first video, think about your perception. How does your personality color the situation?
Cunningham, L. (2012). Meyers-Briggs: Does it pay to know your type? The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-leadership/myers-briggs-does-it-pay-to-know-your-type/2012/12/14/eaed51ae-3fcc-11e2-bca3-aadc9b7e29c5_story.html
Feloni, R. and Gould, S. (2014). The best jobs for every personality type. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/best-jobs-for-every-personality-2014-9.
How frequent is my type? (2016). The Meyers & Briggs Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/my-mbti-results/how-frequent-is-my-type.htm
Jung Typology Test (n.d.). Humanmetrics, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes1.htm
Personality types (n.d). 16Personalities.com. Retrieved from http://www.16personalities.com/personality-types
Thompson, S. (2016). The personality types of people who become accountants. Global Post: America’s World News Site. Retrieved from http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/personality-types-people-become-accountants-37039.html