In a previous post about Myers-Briggs I mentioned how knowing my typology (INFP) helped. Now I want to discuss some of the system's weaknesses.
1. Tendency WHEN?
When we take the tests we are painfully aware that different situations would get a different response. For instance, the example Moomin Light used in a recent conversation about this was buying a car verses a decision about spending time with a friend. She would be INTJ about the car decision, and INFJ about the friend. We particularly gnash our teeth at questions that pit the two types of situations against each other. I know this is probably meant to get at the deepest underlying preference or style, but we know very well that we shift between modes depending on the situation. Facts or emotions or both (and in what balance). We might decide what car and features using facts, but we're likely to pick the color emotionally.
2. Emotional Intelligence?
It seems to me that a person's ability to switch styles (depending on the situation) is a kind of intelligence. I know people who seem consistent in their style, using the same approach for everything, whether that works in the long run, or not. I also know people, many of them introspective, who consciously change their style. I believe it might be helpful to tease out this factor and apply it somehow to the Myers-Briggs typology. I will admit that we have taken simple Internet tests - and a full Myers-Briggs profile might include a lot more - I don't know.
3. Extroverts Win
We have read that recruiting processes sometimes include Myers-Briggs to weed out the introverts (loners). We have seen many websites that advise job hunting introverts to lie on these tests - pick parties over books. Actually, I think the work world would be better served by finding people with various typologies AND that intelligence I described in the previous paragraph. People who can work with concentration alone AND on teams. People who are exceptionally good listeners AND able to speak to a crowd.
4. Excuse and Condone
Finally, it's tempting sometimes to write-off behavior (mine or other people's) as just a result of the typology. No struggle, no considering that another outcome might have been wiser. While it's good to cut people slack, and anything that helps us forgive each other (and ourselves) might be worthwhile, it's easy to get sloppy.
All in all, though, I believe it's been helpful to know my typology, and others, as well.
(I wonder if any of your are trying to figure out what significance the dump trucks and sand have, in the photo up top. I just haven't had an excuse to use that photo and I figured this was as good a post as any... Sometimes a truck is just a truck - if you know what I mean.)