Are you Suited to your Work?

As soon as I did my first Myers Briggs test I was hooked. I found it amazing how a few questions could get my personality so (scarily!) spot on! For those of you who haven’t taken the test, the Myers Briggs test is an often used in business tool where the person answers a number of questions and based on those answers is put into one of 16 categories. On the face of it, it sound unrealistic and a little bit freaky.

The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people's lives. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behaviour is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgement. In developing the Myers-Briggs test the aim of Isabel Briggs Myers, and her mother, Katharine Briggs, was to make the insights of type theory accessible to individuals and groups.

The test is based around 4 “preferences”:

  • Favourite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extroversion (E) or Introversion (I).

  • Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).

  • Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).

  • Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

*Reference: The Myers & Briggs Foundation

"Types" change over time, in the past I have been an "INTJ" but now I firmly sit in the "ISTJ" camp. It is funny when I tell people I am an introvert they always have the same look of surprise on their face - "But you are so confident!" - ha ha yes you can be a confident introvert! I just get my energy from quiet and often solo work (a good thing now I work at home on a permanent basis). But others, particularly extroverts get their energy from noise, being around lots of people and places that are buzzing.

One of the reason I wanted to write this blog was to talk about a game changing moment for me which is when the coach I had at the time suggested I worry less about what I wasn't so good at and to focus more on what I WAS good at - simple but effective. I realised what everyone else around me could of already told me - that my strengths lay in process, systems, order, establishing clarity and logic. My personality type is profiled as the "Inspector" or the "Logistician", responsible organisers, driven to create and enforce order within systems and institutions.

Could I be more suited to my current role?! ISTJs are sometimes referred to as "Inspector" personalities because of their focus on details and interest in doing things correctly and this is what I talk to leaders about every day - using process and focus to lend time and cost efficiencies to their business. The industry I work in tends to be headed up most of the time by sales focused individuals - who often (not always) are extroverted and focused on the bigger picture and not the details, which is where I come in. Some of the most successful working relationships I have had are where I have been paired with someone with a seemingly very different working and personality style.

You can take the free 16 Personalities test here: which is based on the Myers Briggs principles. Are your results surprising or as expected? Please do comment and share!

Sally Rice is the Founder and Managing Director of S Rice Consultancy who offer companies in the commercial interiors industry advice on the Operational areas of business with the aim of helping them gain more time and cost efficiencies, maintain sustainable growth and ultimately improve their bottom line.

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