DIFFERENT BUT EQUAL

Mention “personality assessment” to anyone and you are likely to get a blank stare or even a disapproving groan. But you might also find that some folks proudly report their Myers-Briggs personality types as if being an INFJ is a badge of honor.

Since its release in 1943 as a standardized way to categorize Carl Jung’s 16 different personality types, over 50 million people have taken the Myers-Briggs assessment. It is commonly used in career counseling to identify types of jobs and job settings that would be best-suited for people. In the business world, it is often used to help organizations understand their strengths–and challenges.

The work of Jung and others taught us that people tend to differ in terms of personality in four ways–typically leaning more towards four of the eight personality traits: introversion and extroversion, intuitive and sensing, thinking and feeling, and judging and perceiving. The Myers-Briggs is just one structured way of assessing and giving feedback to people about their preferred traits. Used successfully, it can lead to amazing insights and strengthening any team.

Unfortunately, sometimes participants approach the assessment process in a competitive light, thinking that some personality types and traits are inherently better than others. While it is true that having a particular personality trait in certain settings is helpful (for example, having an extroverted person on a sales force might lead to higher sales), the world needs a balance of each personality trait. Carl Jung was clear that each trait has specific strengths and challenges, but none is better or worse than another, and we need them all in the world. For example, a feeler type might focus on the emotions of people affected by a decision, but without the thinker types, there could be limited focus on what is fair for everyone involved. Although a judging type likes to make decisions quickly, which often helps people to feel like “something is happening,” the perceiver type might open the path to make sure that all avenues of possibilities have been explored. In a perfect world, every organization needs the balance offered by all traits. Jung also told us that preferred traits do not prevent us from understanding or acting like the opposite; introverts may often find themselves in extroverted roles, and they can learn to do the job very well, even if it is not always intuitive or comfortable.

At FarVision, we understand this balance and cheer everyone for their strengths. But we also incorporate a bit of reality into the situation, helping organizations see natural gaps that exist. Understanding tasks at hand and personalities, we can predict fairly accurately what challenges may exist, and help people understand how to best meet them. All personality types contribute great and necessary things to every business, and to our world, and none is less important than another; however, understanding these traits may be one key to being the most effective organization possible.

Learn more about the Personality Assessment we offer that will help your team work together.