Saturday, September 21, 2013

Goodbye to Myers Briggs, the Fad That Won't Die

I wish all the colleagues I worked with at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in the 1980's and 90's could read this article.  Not that Trinity was unique--the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is more sacred than Moses' two tablets in Episcopal circles.  But it seemed to be a particular obsession of some of my colleagues in those already mentioned decades.  Well it seems that yesterday's infallible personality test is today's Azande chicken divination.  From the Huffington Post, where there is more:
My name is Adam Grant, and I am an INTJ.  That's what I learned from a wildly popular personality test, which is taken by more than 2.5 million people a year, and used by 89 of the Fortune 100 companies.  It's called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and my score means that I'm more introverted than extraverted, intuiting than sensing, thinking than feeling, and judging than perceiving.  As I reflected on the results, I experienced flashes of insight.  Although I spend much of my time teaching and speaking on stage, I am more of an introvert -- I've always preferred a good book to a wild party.  And I have occasionally kept lists of my to-do lists.

But when I took the test a few months later, I was an ESFP.  Suddenly, I had become the life of the party, the guy who follows his heart and throws caution to the wind.  Had my personality changed, or is this test not all it's cracked up to be?  I began to read through the evidence, and I found that the MBTI is about as useful as a polygraph for detecting lies.  One researcher even called it an "act of irresponsible armchair philosophy."  When it comes to accuracy, if you put a horoscope on one end and a heart monitor on the other, the MBTI falls about halfway in between.
Read it all.