In the last article, I introduced what self-awareness is and why it is so important for leadership development. To better understand ourselves, except for the reflection and asking others how they see us, we could also take a personality test. The most popular personality test is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which consists of 16 personality types. Here I will use the MBTI personality test to explain how we use it to know who we are and what personality we have.
Free MBTI personality test
The official MBTI test is a paid test, however, there is a free version through a platform, called 16 Personalities. You could take a free test and get the result to know what type of personality you are.
Why do I need to know my personality?
Our behavior is decided by our personality traits, and the behavioral outcomes would highly impact our relationships with others. There 6 different types of relationships in our lives:
- The container: people who make you feel safe and secure
- The twin: people who have similarities with you
- The adversary: people who usually oppose and confront you
- The mirror: people who provide reflection to you
- The mystic friend: people who know you in a mysterious way without speaking to you
- The conscious partner: people who company with you and share the life experience with each other
We all need these 6 types of relationships to help us for personal growth and transformation at certain time points in our lives. Therefore, we have to learn our personalities and manage our relationships.
4 key elements in the MBTI personality test
In the MBTI personality test, we use 4 elements to characterize us from these personality aspects: mind, energy, nature, and tactics. In each aspect, we could divide into 2 different personality types.
- Mind: where you focus attention; extraversion (E) or introversion (I)
- Energy: the way you take in information; sensing (S) or intuition (N)
- Nature: how you make decisions; thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
- Tactics: how you deal with the world; judging (J) or perceiving (P)
To better understand the personality type, here is the definition for each type:
- E, Exroverts: Enjoy hanging out with people, easy to get energized by people, enjoy a variety of tasks, a quick pace, and are good at multitasking
- I, Introverts: Enjoy working alone or in a small group, prefer to work at a deliverate pace, also like to focus on one taks at a time
- T, Thinkers:Good at using logical analysis, objectively weigh pros and cons, and value honesty, consistency, and fairness to make decision
- F, Feelers: Tend to be sensitive and cooperative, and decide based on their onw personal values and how others will be affected by their actions
- S, Sensors: Realistic, like to focus on the facts and details, apply coomon sense and past experience to come up with practical solutions to problems
- N, Intuitives: Prefer to focus on possibilities and the big picture, easily see patterns, value innovation, and seek creative solutions to problems
- J, Judgers: Tend to be organized and prepared, like to make and stick to plans, and are comfortable following most rules
- P, Perceivers: Prefer to keep their options open, like to be able to act spontaneously, and like to be flexible with making plans
According to the 4 elements and 8 types, we could divide people into 16 personalities. First, we use goals, interests, and activities (Energy&Nature) to define 4 roles, Analysts (_NT_), Diplomats (_NF_), Sentinels (_S_J), and Explorers (_S_P). In each role, 4 personality types are defined by the preferred way to achieve goals (Mind&Tactics).
Once you find out which type of personality you have, there are resources on the 16 personalities website to introduce the personality including strengths, weaknesses, relationships, friendships, parenthood, career path, workplace habit…etc. From this information, we could better understand ourselves and train and grow to compensate for our weaknesses.
From my personal aspect, I think that finding out who we are, and what personality I have is a fun thing because it provides some clues that I never thought of. Taking me as an example, the test result is Commander (ENTJ-A), and I checked the information about this type. I learned that my weaknesses might be stubborn, intolerant, poor handling of emotions, cold and ruthless, but I could start to work on these to develop my own leadership. What is your test result? Please share with me. I am interested in seeing other personality types.