Q: If I am taking the MBTI assessment as part of a workplace initiative, what should I keep in mind when responding to items?
A. First of all, don't try to "game" your results - it generally won't work to make you look better - and it may make you look worse. Here's what we mean: Sometimes executives think their real preferences will be seen as sub-par by their boss or colleagues, so they don't respond truthfully on some items in hope of coming out a “better” MBTI type. For instance, people who are more people-oriented/peace-keeping and/or easy-going/spontaneous, thinking their true preferences are not ideal, deliberately or subconsciously play them down, and therefore the MBTI reports an inaccurate type that they perceive is better. However, even if you successfully manipulate your results, it's not a good idea because:
- all the descriptions of the Myers-Briggs types sound about the same in terms of positives and negatives, so if you skew your type you'll not only wind up with strengths that don’t fit you, you’ll wind up with weaknesses that don’t fit you either!
- it will be obvious to your boss and colleagues that your "tested type" is incorrect. At best they will think "the MBTI isn't very good", but at worst they will suspect that you deliberately tried to skew your results - or that you have no self-knowledge - neither of which is very career-advancing.
Q: Why else do people's MBTI assessment results sometimes "come out wrong"?
A: Because we're all different, some of us will interpret the items on the MBTI differently than the authors intended, and this different interpretation will lead us to answer in a way that will skew our results and our initial MBTI type may not be quite right for us. Everyone who takes the Myers Briggs with a trained facilitator should go through a careful MBTI results interpretation and confirmation process, but unfortunately not everyone does. It is only after a careful MBTI results interpretation and confirmation process that the assessment is complete - and everyone should be pretty close to their best-fit type by this point. It is very important that everyone successfully learn their best-fit type, as it's only after you know your correct type that you can start using Myers Briggs theory to better understand yourself and better understand and work with others.