Stephen Colbert’s Results Are In: The MBTI Gets a Thumbs-up for Understanding Yourself and Your Career. Watch Stephen Colbert take the MBTI on air (YouTube video follows) — complete with his irreverent humor, a professional MBTI interpretation, and a striking imitation of a tyrannosaurus rex.
I’m a fan of the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator).
Not only have my clients benefitted immensely from learning about their results, the MBTI had a profound impact on my career.
The first time I took the MBTI, it helped me understand why I was having so much trouble with my boss. It wasn’t because I was stupid or incompetent – it was that we were virtually opposite types on the MBTI. While I was interested in in-depth analysis, she valued efficiency. While I enjoyed finding creative new ways to solve problems, she preferred keeping things as they were unless there was a critical reason to change.
Neither of us was wrong; we just weren’t aligned.
For me, the MBTI was affirming and confidence-building. It gave me ideas to keep me from derailing, as well as pointing out opportunities where I could soar.
Understanding your MBTI preferences can help you articulate the specific types of work that will engage you, and identify work environments where your efforts will be aligned and appreciated.
Read on for:
- What’s worth repeating from the Colbert clip – what made me want to stand up and cheer
- What’s worth rephrasing – in the efforts to make a lively TV segment, some comments may have been misleading.
- How to take (or re-take) the MBTI and get a professional interpretation of your results in the current context of your life and career.
What’s worth repeating? What made me stand up and cheer?
The MBTI is a great assessment, both for self-understanding and importantly, for career exploration.
It was created by the mother-daughter team of Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, based on the work of Carl Jung. The story goes that the mother (Katharine) was prompted to learn more about personality theory after meeting Isabel’s future husband, and realizing that, to put it kindly, he looked at the world differently from the way her family did!
There is no one “best” type. The best personality is your innate one. People want to see the real you.
Each of the 16 types has its strengths, and each has its blind spots. Understanding these will help you take advantage of your strengths and interests, and be aware of ideas for handling the inevitable blind spots.
People are often attracted to people who share similar types.
We tend to gravitate to people who think and act like us. But we also share the same blind spots! That’s why all the types are important, even if it may be challenging to get along with people who think and act differently from the way we do.
What’s worth rephrasing? What may have been misleading?
“Parents make their kids take the MBTI to help them figure out what they want to study in college.”
- The MBTI has great career implications for people of any age. However, it works best when people choose to take it on their own, rather than being told to by someone else.
- My clients have found the MBTI to be very helpful in pointing out the characteristics of what makes them happy in their work, and also ideas about specific jobs that may appeal to them.
“You take the MBTI assessment and it tells you what your preferences indicate.”
- This may be misinterpreted to mean that the assessment tells you what your type is. In fact, you are the final decision maker as to what your preferences are.
- You know yourself better than anyone else. The MBTI is an assessment to give you a structured way to understand personality preferences, and you decide which feels most like you.
- When my clients take the MBTI, they complete the questionnaire online between sessions. When we meet, the first step is that we discuss the four preference characteristics, and then the client self-assesses their preferences. Then we go over the results from the assessment to see how they indicated on the questionnaire, and we look at where the self-assessment lined up with the assessment results, and where they differed.
- The next step is to explore where the results differed; there are different exercises I take clients through to help them nail down for themselves what they feel their true preferences to be.
- Last, we talk about the implications their MBTI preferences have on their careers.
“Stephen Colbert’s type is the most creative, brilliant, intellectual mind!!”
- Yes, people who share his type tend to be creative, sensitive, out-of-the-box thinkers. But no, there are other types that also share these traits.
- Also, the MBTI is not an intelligence test. It will give you insights on how you like to behave in different situations, and there is research I share with clients that shows interests that people of the same type preferences share. But it won’t tell you how smart you are.
“Stephen Colbert has the same type preferences as William Shakespeare.”
- No one knows what William Shakespeare’s type was because he died 300 years before the MBTI was created!
- However, many people like to “guess” the types of others. And if there’s someone we really admire, we like to believe that we are the same type that they are.
- But ultimately, the individual determines what their type preferences are. And they can choose who they want to share the results with.
Did the video make you curious to know what your MBTI preferences are?
While there are copy-cat versions you can take online, there is only one true MBTI assessment — and it can only be given by a qualified professional.
If you’d like take (or re-take) the MBTI, and get a professional interpretation of your results and the implications for your career, please contact me. The MBTI is part of the comprehensive coaching package I offer to help clients find meaningful and rewarding work that is suited to their unique interests and preferences.
Could your MBTI change over time?
While theories suggest that your preferences do not change over time, I have seen results differ depending on the context in which clients took the assessment. For example, if you took it at work, your results may indicate what you felt you needed to be to be successful in your job, rather than what your true preferences are.
Will knowing results really help me at work?
My clients overwhelmingly agree that they have found tremendous insight and affirmation from understanding their MBTI preferences. I can attest to my own personal experiences as well. Work is most fulfilling when you first understand what your true preferences are, and then are able to use them in a work environment where they are recognized and valued.
Here’s to self-understanding and professional fulfillment!