Posted on 3/2/2016

3 Things to Consider Regarding the Myers Briggs Type Indicator

Kenneth Meyer

Personality assessments are gaining popularity in the workplace as a way to help find the best role for employees within an organization and to improve communication among teams. Many such assessments are available, but the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, is among the most popular for business. If you are considering using the assessment for your organization, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. The Myers-Briggs is just an instrument. 

Sometimes people get too concerned and fixated on the assessment, and they overlook what it does. We will talk about what it does in a minute. For those concerned about the more technical aspects of what the Myers-Briggs is, I'll address that here.

The Myers-Briggs is a "Class-B" psychological assessment, which means that the user of the assessment has to have some training. In addition, it uses what is known as "Item Response Theory." The reliability and measurement precision of the assessment is quite high. Test-retest reliabilities of the Myers-Briggs show strong consistency over time, with levels of agreement much greater then by mere chance. The instrument is considered strongly valid, and I choose to reflect this by letting folks know that it has a 90 percent plus accuracy rate; only 10 percent of the time will results come back incorrect for the individual.

2. What the Myers-Briggs reveals is what truly counts. 

Personality type. Personality type is made up of an instinctive preference for certain behaviors. There are historical documents dating back over 3,000 years showing us that humans have pretty much always known and seen that humans have preferences for using some behaviors more than others. The ancients wondered if that recurring preference could be instinctive and now we know that it is.

For millennia, the ancients routinely identified four general personality groups, giving them names such as "Earth," "Wind,” "Water," and "Fire," and “Sanguine", "Choleric", "Melancholic", and "Phlegmatic."

We now know there are four personality groups within each of the original four identified by the ancients for a total of 16 personality types.

Each personality type represents a unique, instinctively preferred set of behaviors and is fully capable of using a variety of non-preferred behaviors, which makes up the total individual. I like to be really clear here: While you were still literally being formed in the womb of your mother, you were imprinted to prefer certain behaviors to others. It is just that simple and that powerful.

3. What the Myers-Briggs finds can really help in the workplace!

When one considers that minimally 70 percent of all the workers in America are working in areas of weakness rather than strength which means they are "out of personality type” at work more than " in personality type" — knowledge of personality type differences can be properly applied to minimize, if not eliminate, much of this employee "mismatch."

Virtually every area of business and industry can be improved and the bottom line enhanced through knowledge of and strong application of personality type differences.

For more information on the MBTI or to find an MBTI Master Practioner in your area, visit

About the Author

Kenneth Meyer | Eastern Michigan University

Kenneth Meyer is a senior career coach and adviser at the University Advising and Career Development Center at Eastern Michigan University. Meyer focuses on providing individual and group counseling services. He specializes in using the Myers-Briggs to leverage not only career planning but also higher education administration, relationship communication, business communication and management, and conflict resolution.


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