The top 10 Misconceptions of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator.
I recently discovered this interesting article, written by Breanne in her blog at the THE MBTI BLOG which has many information relating to the MBTI . The following are the top 10 misconception of the MBTI....
Misconception #1: The MBTI is a personality test.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® is an indicator (or assessment), not a test. The term test assumes that there is a right or wrong answer, or the opportunity to pass or fail. There is no right or wrong personality type. In addition, there is no one best personality type.
Misconception #2: I took the Myers-Briggs online last night for free.
No, you didn’t. Unfortunately you were deceived by someone pretending to have a free version of the MBTI. If you look closely you will see that the assessment often calls itself “MBTI-like” or a “Jungian” assessment. This is not the MBTI! Why does this matter? The real MBTI has been around for 60 years and has been extensively researched and continuously improved to guarantee strong validity and reliability. The online versions are not valid and are not reflective of type theory. There are ways to take the MBTI online, but they will never be free. You can go to a Qualified practitioner who uses SkillsOne to administer the MBTI (CPP’s online platform for delivering assessments). You can also go to the MBTI Complete to take the assessment and receive an online debrief with a “best-fit” type exercise.
Misconception #3: The MBTI report said I was an ESTJ, but I feel like I am an ISTJ. I guess I am wrong.
You have the ultimate final say on your personality type. After all, you are the expert on you! It is okay to question if the report accurately describes you as a whole. No assessment can ask enough questions to explain all of the intricacies of personality, preferences, or behaviors. In addition, the report will only be as accurate as you are honest. If you take the assessment while imagining what your employer or teammates want from you, the results will likely not reflect your true inborn preferences. It is for this exact reason that an exercise in determining your “best fit” type is essential- and it is one more reason why the “free online versions” of MBTI-like assessments do a disservice to individuals.
Misconception #4: Wow! This MBTI thing is cool; I should use it to select new employees.
The use of the MBTI in selecting employees is unethical. Again, there is no one right personality type, and every type can function in any role. In addition, there is no evidence that the results of the MBTI can predict performance.
Misconception #5: I’m one of 16 types? I feel more unique than that!
That’s right! You are not one of 16 types. Within the 16 different types, there are even more individual differences. The MBTI Step II highlights 20 of those differences. Specifically, there are 5 facets that explain differences for each dichotomy. As an example, you can be an Introvert that is contained (does not readily share thoughts/feelings) or one that is open (easily shares with others). This is one way that introverts can differ from each other. If you are someone who feels that at times they perform “out of preference,” then the Step II can be an enlightening experience.
Misconception #6: I found out I’m an Introvert, but I’m in a sales job. I guess I should find a new career.
Remember, the MBTI is about preferences, not ability. While it is true that people typically gravitate towards careers that complement their natural preferences, that does not mean you cannot function in an environment that is “out of preference” for you. This is just like being right-handed. If you had to use your left hand to write, you could. It would be awkward, time-consuming, and possibly messy- but you could do it. Over time, you would become more and more comfortable using your left-hand. This is the same as personality type. Everyone can function in an “out of preference” environment. It may be difficult, but it is possible.
Misconception #7: I had a really high score on Thinking, so I’m REALLY good at that!
What many people interpret as “scores” on the MBTI are not indices of ability, skill, or intelligence. Rather, they reflect the clarity with which your answers reflected that preference. I happen to STRONGLY prefer Judging. That doesn’t mean I’m really good at organized and planning. It means that I prefer to be planful, organized, and finish well before the deadline. I may still fail at accomplishing those tasks, but that is what I prefer. Now, if you are in the mid-zone for a particular dichotomy, this is another reason to try the MBTI step II. Again, this could help illuminate when you are in-preference for the function, or out of preference.
Misconception #8: I’ve changed my type several times.
According to Jung’s theory, you do not change type. Type (preferences) is inborn in you and never change. The best way to understand this is the right hand left hand example. A right handed person can function left-handed. And over time can become more and more comfortable using their left hand. HOWEVER, given the chance, they will naturally want to use their right hand. That natural preference towards their right hand will never go away. If your reported type changes, there are several things to consider. First, did you take an authentic version of the MBTI? If not, then there is no surprise you received different results. The “free online versions” are no more accurate than quizzes that determine “which celebrity’s dog you are.” Second, did you walk through an in-depth exercise in best-fit type? Next, have you recently gone through a major life change that is coloring the way you perceive the questions? Did you answer honestly?
Misconception #9: My husband doesn’t need to take the MBTI, I can guess what his type is.
You may have a guess as to what someone’s personality type is, but there is a big danger in teaching someone their type based on a guess. What if you are wrong? This may hinder their development rather than promote development. We make assumptions about others’ preferences constantly, and in many ways we do so in an effort to aid in communication. However, when there is the possibility of taking the actual MBTI, it is necessary to do so.
Misconception #10: I hope that my team members all have my personality type, because that would be the best team ever!
While that team may have the fewest disagreements, there is danger in wanting to surround yourself with only your type. A diverse group will have a greater likelihood of generating creative, unique results. If there is diversity in type, discussions will be more in-depth because each person approaches a decision differently because of their preferences. Conflict and disagreements should not be a negative thing, if handled with proper constructive communication. A diverse group can generate the most well thought through results.