Most people refer to the MBTI® as “the letters from the report that my HR department made me take,” or the quasi astrological, personal life guide. So what is it really?  Your type is not the answer to the universe’s mysteries so receive your report like feedback: it’s just data… 

It’s the psychometric assessment that analyzes your questionnaire responses to offer insight on how you learn new things and make decisions, and on your disposition for your environment (in a nutshell). With that as a jumping off point, let me share the 5 *big* mistakes people make with the MBTI®:

  1. Resenting it:  “I so am not the guy who talks ‘too much’!”  It’s natural to feel like you need to defend yourself, any time a comment is made about you personally. But, remember, the MBTI® is not about right or wrong, good or bad. It’s about your personality preferences. Your type is not the answer to the universe’s mysteries so receive your report like feedback: it’s just data so listen and try to understand what it means.

  2. Dismissing it: “Whatever, I can’t be constrained to Jung’s theories.”   While Jung’s archetypes were the basis, the MBTI® was created by Katherine Briggs and daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. I absolutely agree, you can’t be constrained to any label. Upon learning your preferences, it’s important to realize you’re not just one or the other but rather, you are a dynamic individual. Most times, you have a preference for one over the other, but circumstances and roles we play in our lives, may dictate how we behave including at times adopting our non-preferred preferences. Dig deeper to understand your preferences and actions before dismissing your identified type.  … the official [MBTI] report offers you solid guidance and depending on your report type, it may also offer an actionable plan on how to flex your preferences. 

  3. Not taking it right: “I feel like I’m one person at work and a different way when I’m at home.”   This is perfectly normally – you have multiple hats. When taking the MBTI®, it’s important to take it as “weekend” you. Not you the person who works at XYZ company, not you child, parent, sibling, friend, partner. Just you. Use this to unbury the real you. For example, you go to a restaurant alone, you choose which table to sit at, what to eat and what to drink. That’s the “real, uninfluenced you” that the MBTI® is looking for!

  4. Not taking the official MBTI: “I took the free one. Why pay $50+ when it’s online?”   The unofficial MBTI® can sometimes be good and spot on, but there are other users who’ve said, I’m not sure it’s correct. This goes back to the reliability of the test. How can a free 20 question test compare to a 90+ questions official test? Simply, it can’t. Knowing just your letter type isn’t enough. You need to understand the why and how behind your type. The free test doesn’t support your understanding of the MBTI® while the official report offers you solid guidance and depending on your report type, it may also offer an actionable plan on how to flex your preferences. In fact, I’ll bet that your free MBTI® tries to sell you an additional booklet to help you understand it. In that event, just start legit from the beginning, get an official MBTI that is inclusive of those resources.  To take the official MBTI®, click here.

  5. Not leveraging it for everyday use: “This is interesting but I don’t know how to use this information.”  Most people walk away knowing a little more about themselves, which I think is great! The next step is how do you leverage this new understanding to create success in your life? By knowing the MBTI® preferences (and that this is only one possible perspective of looking at personalities), you have better insight on people’s motives for their actions. “John gives me the third degree every time I share my ideas. Maybe he’s not trying to be a jerk, maybe he sees this as brainstorming or contributing to my planning. OH, I see now, he thinks he’s helping me.” The MBTI® gives you the tools to create or improve situations, relationships and collaborations.

Learn more about MBTI® and Feedback Packages. Interested in taking the MBTI® as a group or on individually? Call us to get started! (201) 503-5298

Karen Galli is the founder of One Leadership Group. She focuses on driving leadership development through relationship building. Through her work, she helps people see that leadership is about self, others and thought. If you’d like to contact her, you can find her on Linkedin by clicking here. 

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