Whatever the circumstances of your life, the understanding of type can make your perceptions clearer, your judgements sounder, and your life closer to your heart’s desire. — Isabel Briggs Myers, American writer
“Having a deeper understanding of yourself gives you an advantage,” the host explained.
I was sitting at the airport listening to one of my favorite business podcasts when the topic of personality tests came up. Speaking to experts, the host delved into one of the most popular tests of them all: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
They claimed that learning our personality type didn’t just offer a new lens through which to view ourselves, but could also be an invaluable tool for helping us get ahead in our professional lives. “Knowing your type can come in handy in day-to-day situations like with clients and colleagues,” they explained.
As CEO of my form-building company for nearly two decades, understanding entrepreneurial archetypes has long been a topic of fascination for me. I believe categorizing our personalities helps us explore our strengths and weaknesses in a way that enhances our performance as leaders.
In my newly-published book, Automate Your Busywork, I speak to how improving productivity can help people feel seen, heard, and connected to on different levels. A large part of this, in my opinion, involves acquiring a higher level of self-awareness.
How understanding personality types influences your productivity
In simple terms, the Myers-Briggs is a test you can take that helps you identify your personality type, strengths, and preferences.
Based on the theory of personality types described by Carl Jung and expanded on by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Briggs, it’s an assessment that places you into one of four categories based on how you perceive the world and make decisions.
According to the assessment, each of us has one favored quality from each category, producing 16 personality types. These four categories include: introversion or extraversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving.
The Washington Post reported that roughly 2 million people a year take the test, describing it as “the gold standard” of psychological assessments, used in businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions.
You’ve probably seen these terms floating around the Internet or have heard your friends drop the acronyms in casual conversation, writes self-made millionaire Gerard Adams for Entrepreneur. “Terms like ‘INFJ’ and ‘ENFJ’ represent a specific type of person, how they like to exist in the world, and the careers they should follow.”
What’s unique about this particular test is that it can help you understand which personality type you fall into so that you’re more equipped to come up with productivity strategies and improve the way you communicate with others at work.
How your Myers-Briggs type affects your work style
In a survey of over 25,000 people, researchers charted the differences between each of the 16 different personality types on their careers and personalities. Their findings, according to business reporter Kate Taylor, show that extroverts tend to make more money than introverts. “While imaginative intuitive thinkers are more likely to be entrepreneurs than their realistic sensor counterparts.”
Many entrepreneurs like Adams, for instance, fall into the ESTP type and tend to exhibit high levels of “perception,” making them especially eager to have an intelligent conversation with anyone they can. “We are much sharper listeners than other people,” he argues. “ESTPs notice subtle changes as they happen around us. Small things people say in conversation are a big part of this.”
Entrepreneurs are always attentive and always learning.
I’ve found that in the end, anyone can be successful regardless of their personality acronym . As Adam Heitzman explains in his story for Inc.com, “The more you know about yourself and how you think, the better decisions you can make about your business.”
Here’s how understanding your type can help you be more productive.
1. Strategize better.
NBC News reporter Danielle Page explains that extroverts shine when tasked with getting up in front of people, like during presentations or meetings. They also excel at building workplace relationships. This, however, can be a double-edged sword as it can be tough to break away from office chatter and get work done.
If you’re an extrovert, knowing this is one of your weak spots can help you strategize by setting clear boundaries around your socializing habits.
2. Communicate more effectively.
Introverts, on the other hand, tend to prefer written communication and are more interested in having a chance to reflect before providing feedback during meetings. “It’s not that introverts don’t like or value interactions with people,” writes Page. “It’s just that their strengths lie in the work that they do solo.”
Knowing this about your type allows you to communicate more effectively because you’re more likely to prioritize opening up and engaging people rather than coming off as aloof or timid.
The bottom line
The above are only a few examples of how learning your personality type can help you remain open and flexible when interacting with others and working toward your goals. This knowledge also allows you to retain energy — saving your brain for the big stuff.
Perhaps the test’s co-creator, Isabel Briggs Myers, put it best:
By developing individual strengths, guarding against weaknesses, and appreciating the strengths of other types, life will be more amusing, more interesting, and more of a daily adventure than it could possibly be if everyone were alike.
Your work environment is composed of many people with different styles, energies, and personalities. Knowing whether you’re extroverted or introverted, sensing or intuitive, thinking or feeling, judging or perceiving — can all help you better navigate how to handle pressure, gratitude, criticism, accomplishments, leadership roles, and so much more.
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