I’m currently reading Ray Dalio - Principles, in which the billionaire investor and fund manager goes to great length to talk about personality types and how their characteristic behaviors influence their decision making and performance within teams and organizations. Mr. Dalio seems to have put great emphasis on creating company where people and situations are analyzed deeply and then matched to each other for maximum efficiency and profitability. Prompted by Mr. Dalios enthusiasm about the different types of personalities and how they typically react to certain stimuli, I followed his recommendation and just did theMyers-Briggs Type Indicator instrument(MBTI).
The MBTI personality instrument is aimed to give you insight into four main character traits:
1. The way you direct and receive energy 2. The way you take in information 3. The way you decide and come to conclusions 4. The way you approach the outside world
Each of these divisions has two possible preferences a person might choose over the other. Thus, there is a possibility of 16 types that the MBTI is trying to explain. The type explains how you would most likely react in a certain situation. It doesn’t set you any borders and would make you incapable of reacting in another way, its just how you react instinctively, intuitively and without further training of your other characteristics. As these are merely preferences the results are fluid, whereby 2. and 4. make up the core of your personality and are most significant in determining your personality.
The MBTI is a self-reporting instrument, that depends on the honesty of the individuals taking the instrument. This is problematic as an individual might manipulate the instrument according to his or her desired result. Two other common critics of the instrument I find important, though surmountable, argue that its results are too vague and unreliable. Critics argue that the results are vague and general, so as to allow any kind of behavior to fit any personality type, making the MBTI appear just like another astrological chart which people give a high accuracy because their are supposedly tailor-fit. The instruments unreliability is something I even thought about while taking the instrument, and in 2013 Fortune Magazine [found], people obtained different type classifications after retaking the instrument only five weeks later.
Intuitively, I give this criticism a lot of validity, and believe that in order to obtain a useful outcome, you have to know yourself quite a bit already before taking the instrument in the first place. Knowing yourself will help you step around its obvious weaknesses and get a result that you can work with. Having said that, I did find the results surprising and helpful at the same time.
Furthermore, I am convinced, the instrument is only helpful to me if I am consisting in working with the results in the longterm.
My assessment indicated my personality type to be
Introversion | Sensing | Feeling | Perceiving
Most interestingly for me is that my reported type is in fact the exact opposite for each of the 4 divisions, resulting in a ENTJ type. Notably, the best-fit result is only achieved after a learning session and self-reflection, stacking the reported and estimated result against each other, finally letting the individual choose the type he feels best about. This Best Fit Type method is what I, now that I have finished the instrument, think makes the MBTI so powerful. MBTI makes you the expert of your result in conception, interpretation and consequence. The MBTI showed me which type I am, by letting me discern what I am not. If you plan to take the MBTI, make sure you reflect on the Best Fit decision long enough to make a carefully thought out decision leading to a useful result.
Having just done the MBTI assessment today I am still reflecting on its results. I have yet to fully understand the “whole type” theory and use it to my full advantage. Next, I will ask my wife Jade to complete the instrument, so that we can use our personality preferences in leading a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship. It will also be fun to share our different approaches to work and social life, with our potential weaknesses laid bare.