Using the “Myers-Briggs” Assessment to Understand your Co-Workers and Employees

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iStock_000030444460LargeMany different personalities show up at work every day. These distinctions between people and the way they work can present huge challenges if they go misunderstood. Using the Myers-Briggs assessment, you can reach a new level of understanding about your employees, the way they work and lead, as well as the way that your personality impacts your professional self.

The Myers-Briggs test is a series of personality profiles based on the work of Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, “who developed their theory of personality type using psychologist Carl Jung’s text Psychological Types.” The sixteen personality types are based on four areas, each area with a “pair” of tendencies. Every person has a preference between the two tendencies. “These pairs include extraversion and introversion, sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling, and judging and perceiving.” These characteristics are labeled E/I, S/N, T/F, and J/P.

Company culture at the individual level

Every time an employee is hired, the company culture shifts. When companies go through high-growth phases, culture is altered more significantly. Myers-Briggs is helpful on an individual basis as it informs each employee what their strengths are, what their opportunities for growth are and how they typically work and lead. Many employees validate that taking the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) test empowers them to understand others and to feel more understood. Incorporating learnings from an MBTI test can better prepare your company for new hires and high-growth phases.

Optimize employee happiness and performance

Personality tests can measure communication styles.” When managers and co-workers understand the fundamentals of communication styles and preferences, and learn how these styles are typically expressed, it’s much easier to minimize conflict and maintain strong communication channels between co-workers and with management. For example, an employee with a very strong preference for “intuition” (N) might have difficulty expressing their perspective in a convincing way to an individual with a high preference for thinking (T), as these individuals tend to rely on data and hard facts to make nearly every decision.

Transform employee relationships and team dynamics

The Myers-Briggs personality types are powerful in understanding team dynamics because they explain each individual’s dominant function (preference), which empowers others around them to work more effectively and communicate more successfully with them. These dominant traits are described in workplace roles when used professionally. Traits include “actor,” “executive,” “counselor,” “teacher,” “mentor,” “leader,” and more. These traits are equally valuable and certain traits are especially valuable in certain workplace scenarios. Many CEOs and executive figures tend to have extroverted tendencies as well as thinking tendencies/preferences. However, extroversion and analytical thinking aren’t synonymous with success. Some of the highest performing employees are introverted and tend to possess a strong sense of intuition in their decision-making.

Each employee presents a different set of preferences, skills and leadership styles. Intentionally working to understand these character types and how they manifest in the workplace is critical to integrating a high level of emotional intelligence into leadership and management.

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Author: Claire Topalian

Claire Topalian is a writer, non-profit Communications professional, and advocate for diversity in business. She currently leads Communications and the Startup Women initiative at UP Global, an international non-profit that builds startup communities through educational programs and events. You can follow her on Twitter @clairetopalian.

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