The Myers-Briggs personality test is still one of the most widespread assessment tools used in business today. Based on the work of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, it sets out sixteen personality types that supposedly determine our strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and communication styles.
In fact, many other popular assessment tools are also founded in the Jungian tradition. While they are great ways to develop some self-awareness, we work with many leaders who take them way too seriously.
Here are some things to think about next time you get a binder that explains who you are.
There is no bad style
A common misconception that people have, especially with the Meyers-Briggs test, is the extent to which being extraverted or introverted affects their leadership potential. For example, it’s often said that introverted people speak up less, tend to be socially shy, and get overwhelmed during intense social interactions.
When young leaders are told they’re introverted, they often take it to mean that they are doomed to be quiet and overlooked. They may even believe that they will not make great leaders. And worse yet, other senior managers, who make hiring and promotion decisions, may incorrectly believe that introverts do not make great leaders when they do!
What the extraversion/introversion scale actually reveals is what energizes people. In other words, introverts are very capable of being assertive and leading teams – it just tends to drain their energy levels so they plan their time and energy differently.
Introverts make great leaders
In fact, introverts make very successful leaders. They simply bring their own valuable leadership skills as excellent listening skills, deep thinking, a sense of calm and a true value for meaningful relationships to name a few.
In HBR’s May-June 2017 edition, in their article on What Sets Successful CEO’s Apart, they share the power of introverts to lead. They share,
“Our findings challenged many widely held assumptions. For example, our analysis revealed that while boards often gravitate toward charismatic extroverts, introverts are slightly more likely to surpass the expectations of their boards and investors.”
In another example, Susan Cain, in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts reveals how introverts have been undervalued and at the same time, the value they bring to organizations and the world. Visit quietrev.com to learn more about the Quiet Revolution.
Our Relationship Intelligence™ Tool
Personality tests are valuable tools that enable reflection and self-awareness. However, when it comes to providing actionable steps to improve your leadership presence, these tools often fall short.
Our Relationship Intelligence™ Model helps you build great relationships and collaboration skills, work faster and create space for innovative ideas.
Contact Cheryl Breukelman for more information about Relationship Intelligence™.