I've heard a few friends tell me about their experience taking a personality test like the Myer-Briggs. I took one back when I was younger but don't remember the results.
However, while reading Principles by Dalio, he stresses the power of these things constantly. So I finally took one (not Myer-Briggs, but one called 16 personalities which is based on the same research.) I was equally astonished with the results.
Why I'm excited about this
I'm constantly seeking feedback from people I work with about my weaknesses. The problem is that most people find giving feedback difficult, so I rarely get new insights.
However, doing this personality test, I found that it was extremely accurate about how I operate, feel, and think, including my strengths and weaknesses.
I'm not saying a personality test is a substitute for feedback. I'm saying it's a faster way to get a high-level picture of your working style, including your shortcomings.
The personality test that everyone knows about is the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator. While being developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, it is all based on the conceptual theory put together by renown psychiatrist Carl Jung.
After answering a whole bunch of scale questions (strongly agree ←→ strongly disagree), you get assigned a value for 4 personality traits:
- Mind: Introverted ←→ Extroverted
- Energy: Observant ←→ Intuitive
- Nature: Thinking ←→ Feeling
- Tactics: Judging ←→ Prospecting
- Identity (modifier): Assertive ←→ Turbulent
You get a letter for each of the first four traits, which becomes your personality "code" (you probably guessed there are 16 in total).
To learn more about how this stuff works, 16 Personalities has a good page on the light theory here.
Here are my results from the 16 personalities test.
- Personality type: “The Architect” (INTJ-A)
- Individual traits: Introverted – 65%, Intuitive – 67%, Thinking – 63%, Judging – 65%, Assertive – 68%
- Role: Analyst
- Strategy: Confident Individualism
Me in a nutshell
After you get the above numbers, 16 Personalities has a whole bunch of content to help you learn more about your personality type.
I've taken some notes from the content below. I don't think I could have written more accurate strengths and weaknesses for myself if I tried.
- Strategically minded
- High self-confidence
- Independent and decisive
- Hard-working and determined
- Loathe highly structured environments
- Emotional awareness/intelligence
- Following tradition/norms
- Need for freedom
Excels under conditions
- working with switched on people
- else working alone
Some quotes from the content that capture my idiosyncrasies perfectly.
- "It’s lonely at the top, and being one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types, INTJs know this all too well."
- "A paradox to most observers, INTJs are able to live by glaring contradictions that nonetheless make perfect sense – at least from a purely rational perspective."
- "White lies and small talk are hard enough as it is for a type that craves truth and depth, but INTJs may go so far as to see many social conventions as downright stupid"
- "INTJs trust their rationalism above all else... this creates an honest, direct style of communication that isn’t held back by perceived social roles or expectations"
- "This creativity, logic and confidence come together to form individuals who stand on their own and take responsibility for their own actions. Authority figures do not impress INTJs."
- "Office gossip and schmoozing are not the way into INTJs’ hearts – only bold competence will do."
- "INTJs want to be able to tackle intellectually interesting work with minimal outside interference, no more, no less."
- "Titles mean little to INTJs – trust and respect are earned, and INTJs expect this to be a two-way street, receiving and delivering advice, criticisms and results. INTJs expect their managers to be intelligent enough and strong enough to be able to handle this paradigm. A silent INTJ conveys a lack of respect better than all their challenges ever will."
- "INTJs promote freedom and flexibility in the workplace, preferring to engage their subordinates as equals, respecting and rewarding initiative and adopting an attitude of "to the best mind go the responsibilities", directing strategy while more capable hands manage the day-to-day tactics."
What will I change now?
Some of my listed weaknesses, such as lacking emotional intelligence, I'm already managing with daily habits such as meditation.
Others, such as my arrogance and judgmentalness, I will work to be even more aware of their impact on other people with mindfulness. This will allow me to use my strengths while moderating the ill-effects of my weaknesses.
Further, having the knowledge about this, makes me feel like I will be able to identify which of my behaviour/emotions is coming from my innate personality traits and reduce my attachment to them.
My one big take away
In Principles by Dalio, he talks a lot about understanding how different people are wired. When I was reading that I was like: "yeah sure everyone's different, I get it". But after taking this personality test and seeing how predictable my traits and behaviours are, it really hit home.
- Everyone is wired differently.
- The way that people react to situations, approach problems, and work is categorically different.
- But also highly predictable.
- Hence, we should seek to understand our own traits, plus those of the people we work with.
- Be radically open and transparent about them.
- Do not fear our weaknesses.
- Ultimately to work better together and achieve our goals.
Should you take the test?
Yes. However, I do think that these personality tests are best for people who have been in the workforce long enough to actually develop their own authentic traits.
Getting a university grad to do this test would be less accurate/informative in my opinion.
The power of personality trait indicators is their ability to connect with you authentically and hence expose parts of your personality that you're not already aware of.
Interested? Take the test here.