Reader Keith asks:
Do you believe you can “shift” your MBTI through specific study and training to develop areas that are not strengths with the goal of being more effective in your vocation or career goals? If so, what types of training/study would you recommend? I acknowledge of course that the MBTI is only a measuring tool and not the objective.
That’s a great question! My off-the-cuff answer is “no” your MBTI doesn’t shift. That being said, your brain type/personality profile/MBTI type isn’t something that you are bound by. It’s a measurement of natural tendencies, and all of us curb those tendencies either by need of the moment or by God’s sanctification when the exhibition of those tendencies would be sinful. Learned behavior (aka habits) are not forever ingrained, but we tend towards, especially while we are young, habits that are consistent with our natural tendencies as measured in the MBTI. But we all learn to curb those for various reasons over the years and so will have behavior that is “inconsistent” with the MBTI profile, even if that profile measurement is consistent.
Measurements at the margin (I have two of them that I measure in the mid-range) may lean one way or the other from time to time based on circumstances and the specific questions in the tool, but I would be amazed if I ever measured as an introvert since my extraversion measurements “peg the needle.” But my S and N are a little more towards the middle, so I have occasionally come in as an N even though I think I am an S, and my P and J sometimes measure in the middle, even though I am extreme on all five of the sub measurements in the step II MBTI.
Keith followed up:
Thanks. Perhaps the first question should be, “Do you believe the MBTI is a good tool to use in pre-hire screening?”
Absolutely not! I think the value of an MBTI is in finding ways to work together as a team better, to anticipate potential miscommunications and tendencies under stress before they happen, and to aid supervisors in better communicating with direct reports. Because we’re not bound by our personal tendencies, using this measuring tool for hiring could shut out a fantastic, adaptable, and mature candidate by pigeon-holing him before getting to know what he’s like. Tendencies are tendencies, but unless one is given to wantonly following urges, they’re not the real picture of how a person will be on the job.
I can be convinced otherwise, but my gut is that behavior isn’t bound by personality, and can change, but your natural propensities (God-given leanings) remain consistent.
Thanks for the question! And remember any reader can leave a question in the comments here or on this special post.