For me, one of the best things about Paul Tieger’s Do What You Are is his online personality quiz. (It might be helpful to stop here and take the quiz to get a feel for your personality type.) It’s a quick tool to help you identify which of the 16 Myers Briggs Personality Types is your preferred personality style.
The 16 types are combinations of the Myers Briggs personality factors:
- (Judging by) Feeling vs. Thinking
- (Perceiving by) Sensing vs. Intuiting
- Introverted vs. Extraverted
- Structured vs. Spontaneous
The reason the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, is the most widely used personality assessment in the world is that it helps you understand how to connect with people on the job. I believe that it’s one of the best ways to explain why we click with some people immediately and find that others are a mystery to us. More than your skills, your education, or your training, who you are will determine how you approach problems and stay motivated at work.
Sound familiar? “I’d rather be respected than liked.” “I feel like my work is never appreciated.” “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” “Rules are made to be broken.” We do things by the book or not at all.” “I get bored doing the same thing every day; I need more variety.” Chances are, you recognized some of these people from work immediately. Do What You Are spends time helping you understand why their behavior makes sense or drives us crazy.
Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers said that knowing these personality types helps because “The essence of the [personality] theory is that much seemingly random variation in behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.” We observe the world differently based on our preferred style. People who score as Sensors focus on details & specifics while Intuitives focus on the big picture and possibilities. Sensors remember facts and details and trust past experience; Intuitives notice things that are new and different and rely more often on their gut instincts.
Thinkers often appear cool and reserved, and are motivated by achievement. Feelers come off as warm and friendly, and are motivated by appreciation. As you go through the personality results, you begin to see how your style has probably been a part of you since you were very young – and how little you’ve changed over time. (You can predict your four-year-old’s behavior just as accurately as your spouse’s, can’t you?) Once you understand other types, you can begin to adapt your communication style and other behaviors to theirs. Gradually, life gets easier on the job.
Next: Keys to job satisfaction for different types.