Thursday, September 14, 2006

Know thyself

It’s so true! Those were the words that came out of my and my husband’s mouths when we read our MBTI personality profiles. Like a good friend of ours, I enjoy taking the occasional personality test, but I’ve never felt like any of them actually pegged me accurately.

For example, the most recent one I took told me that the famous leader I’m most like is Hitler. Um, not cool. I’ll try again later when I’m in a better mood.

I first learned of the Meyer’s-Briggs Type Indicator through my company, which tests all of its employees to help them understand how they communicate and work with others. I’ll admit, I was skeptical. But the results of the test really did help me understand my strengths and weaknesses and gave me a greater appreciation for how other people are different. (And when you learn a little about my personality, you’ll see that I definitely needed that.)

First, here’s a rundown of the preferences MBTI evaluates.

Introvert and Extrovert: How do I prefer to receive and direct my energy? Extroverts prefer outward energy flow, focused on other people and things. Introverts, on the other hand, prefer inward energy flow, focused on one’s own thoughts and ideas. For example, while introverts often make good writers, extroverts are more likely to enjoy debate and are able to think more quickly on their feet

Sensing and Intuition: How do I best receive data? Sensing people prefer to receive data primarily from the five senses, and intuitive people prefer receiving data from the subconscious, or seeing relationships via insights. This also accounts for a person’s eye for detail. Intuitive people see the big picture, and sensing people are more likely to remember specific facts or details.

Thinking and Feeling: What do I take into account when making decisions? Both strive to make rational judgments and decisions using the data received, but thinking uses logical “true or false, if-then” connections while feeling uses “more or less, better-worse” evaluations. Feeling judgments also rely more on how specific people might be affected by a decision.

Judging and Perceiving: How do I organize my life and make decisions? Judging types tend to prefer a step-by-step approach to life and prefer quick closure. Perceiving types often rely on more subjective judgments and desire to leave all options open. (Don’t misunderstand—Judging does not imply judgmental, and Perceiving does not imply perceptive.)

I’m an ENTJ: Extroverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging.

Here’s one brief description:
ENTJs are natural born leaders. They live in a world of possibilities where they see all sorts of challenges to be surmounted, and they want to be the ones responsible for surmounting them. They have a drive for leadership, which is well-served by their quickness to grasp complexities, their ability to absorb a large amount of impersonal information, and their quick and decisive judgments. They are “take charge” people.

That’s great, right? Well, there is a downside:
ENTJs are very forceful, decisive individuals. They make decisions quickly, and are quick to verbalize their opinions and decisions to the rest of the world. When challenged, the ENTJ may by reflex become argumentative. Alternatively she may unleash an icy gaze that serves notice: the ENTJ is not one to be trifled with.

After taking this test, I started to notice major flaws in my character. For example, when I’m part of a group trying to solve a problem (or debating an argument), I tend to come across the solution (my solution) very quickly. I announce it to others in the group, often aghast when they do not also quickly come to the same conclusion. I promptly tell others when I perceive flaws in their logic. And when I make a decision, I might not take into account how it might affect “the little guy.”

The funny thing? According to some estimates, ENTJs make up about 5% of the population. But somehow, I managed to marry one.

So I’m working on this. I’m trying to better take into account others’ perspectives and not be so rigidly demanding. And I’m relying on the grace of God to help me through it. I love that he promises to do that.


Blogger Will said...

"The funny thing? According to some estimates, ENTJs make up about 5% of the population. But somehow, I managed to marry one."

You know what they say: birds of a feather...

Oh, and that picture? That's pretty much how my brain works. :-)

Thu Sep 14, 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Spring said...

Or maybe we're just that closed-minded. :) Glad we have friends who can broaden us out a little.

Thu Sep 14, 02:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

It's interesting that we both scored the same on Myers-Briggs and that leader test. We are ENTJ Hitlers. How exciting.

Thu Sep 14, 08:07:00 PM  

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