Taking a Jackboot to Myers-Briggs

These days, there seems to always be someone who wants to criticise the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and I am only too happy to wait my turn in the queue in order to join them.

As I have written before I am not a fan of any kind of personality tests.

Although the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator may have been born out of the worthy-sounding ideal of matching women to suitable jobs during World War II, it also hails from an era when the identification and ‘sorting’ of different personality types was being used for an altogether more sinister purpose.

For me, one of the biggest faults in the Myers-Briggs assessment of the world is one outside of the scope of the test itself: it is the personality of the manager who has taken the decision to roll out the test to all their staff in the first place.  Behind the decision, I predict a narrow-minded totalitarian; too lazy to actually get to know their staff; happy to forever imprison them within the strictures of a random four-letter mnemonic.

A far quicker and more accurate way to assess the individual personalities of an office of workers is to take them all down the pub for an afternoon.  No group activities; no organised bonding sessions; just simple drinking and chatting.

Here you will identify the show-off and the tight-wad; the flirt and the piss-head; the philosopher and the comedian.

In 1947, the German philosopher and psychologist Theodor Adorno designed the California F-Scale Personality Test.  The ‘F’ stood for ‘Fascist’ and the purpose of the test was to identify prejudice.  I think that it should be compulsory for anyone proposing to roll out any other form of personality testing.

© Simon Turner-Tree

Simon Turner-Tree is still searching for his own personality.

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