I wrote an article for the Business Coaching Worldwide in 2005 and began:
Hi, My Name is Roberta and I am an Assessment Addict
label me an INTP, Di, 5, Green with Orange (but red in another model),
Driver, Theoretical, Synthesist with high expressed control needs and a
fact finder / quick start action mode. Yes, it is true; I am an assessment
junkie. And if you know what most of this means, then you too need AA–Assessments Anonymous!
Obviously, the article was meant tongue in cheek.
What does your Name Tag Personality Badge Say?
I was horrified – OK maybe not horrified but dismayed to read an article at SmartBrief called: "Pink-slip personalities". This was definitely a catchy title that landed the article as one of the top five articles the second week of January.
The actual title is: "Your workplace personality could help or hurt your odds of keeping your job"
by Marcia Heroux Pounds. I hate scare tactics more than I hate labels.
With so many managers now looking over their staff lists to identify who they might have to lay off, the ability of employees to get along with each other, communicate well and work well in teams can come into play. Some companies, such as Slaton Insurance in West Palm Beach, Fla., have used personality tests to help employees understand each other and avoid disagreements. James Looram, author of "Your Essential Self," says employees need to keep in mind they don't have to like each other, they just have to work together. Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) (01/14)
It is OK if I choose to label myself – that is my prerogative but I do not think it is appropriate for me to be pressured socially to do so. I am not a two dimensional character and I am tired of individuals in organizations reducing staff into a color or a four digit anagram. Don't get me wrong, I love the MBTI and I am willing to tell you my type. I have personally benefited from understanding my Ennegram number. And I think the Kolbe which is the assessment of labeling in the above article is excellent.
So, is this avatar me? Or this serious version? Or how about me at 2? Cute, yes, but I am so much more that these pictures. These are mere representations of me; a snap shot in time. A piece of the puzzle that makes up Roberta F. Hill. They may capture a little bit of me to those who know me well but if you don't. . . you end up making your own assumptions. Why do you think we try to get great looking professional pictures to post on our blog, or web site, or bio or book? I like my new picture up top – informal and makes me look less than my real age!
In keeping with this discussion I am pleased to present the following article (where you will find great comments) in full by a colleague, Sandy McMullen, from her own blog on PersonalityPlusinBusiness.com entitled:
Repeat after me “I am not a label”
Imagine a work environment where everyone has their MBTI type label posted on their office door. This may strike some as just terribly efficient. But no No NO NOOOOO…this is just bad practice and a misuse of the MBTI or any other assessment tool IMHO.
People are NOT any label that you might hang on them, and this way of viewing the use of assessment tools does a disservice to everyone. MBTI professionals are very careful in their language to make the distinction. They will talking about “those with a preference for Extraversion” as opposed to “those who ARE Extraverts”. People are wonderfully complex and they definitely should not be limited by any label. People HAVE a preference – they AREN’T their preference. This distinction matters.
When you hang a sign on a door that limits possibilitites for genuine engagement. People can make all kinds of false assumptions based on too little information and misunderstanding. It is an act that separates us from each other rather than building true connection and compassion.
Knowing that someone may have a different type helps me to understand how they process information and make decisions differently from my way of being. I don’t have to take their behaviour as a problem or weird or even better than mine – simply different. If I spend some time observing myself I may even come to appreciate the benefit of how their type handles some situations where my way of processing may have blind spots.
Yes – use the MBTI to learn how to communicate with other styles. Yes – use the MBTI to find work that fits your natural ways of being. Yes – use the MBTI to learn to see and appreciate each other and to share in a way that builds trust. This approach involves real conversation about our different perspectives and a desire to learn and understand those with whom we work. Putting type labels on office doors may do the opposite – contributing to judgment and alienation. Don’t do it even if you think people will be okay with it – it may seem harmless but it isn’t.
About the author:
Sandy McMullen is accredited in several assessment tools including the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Emotional Intelligence 360 (ECI) assessment. She holds a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario. Please visit Sandy's websites at www.sandymcmullen.com and www.personalityplusinbusiness.com