Last week I participated in a four-day certification training for the MBTI Type I and II (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). I have been a skeptic and critic of personality assessments for the assumption that we all fit into predetermined boxes or labels.
If you’ve online dated in the last couple of years, you’ve seen four letters at the bottom of profiles. In DC, people wear them proudly. I thought it was pretentious and limiting. How can someone only be four letters?
After digging in more and doing my own research, I quickly realized that most people were using the assessment incorrectly. As you probably have experienced, your preference change based on a situation and your personality may react as a result. Our behaviors are fluid, but to the core we are consistent. Rather than saying all people are like (fill in the blank), MBTI and many others give us insight to behavior preference, but in no way says all people with ENTJ will be a certain way.
So back to the original point of this blog – introversion and why I appreciate it. When you’re in a room with 30 other people, many of which are in the training or leadership development professional, you’re going to get a lot of external energy. Conversations quickly become run away trains of excitement and if you aren’t at that level, it can be extremely draining.
I had my assumption about introverts – they’re quiet and don’t want to be disturbed or forced into social activities.
This may be true for some but not all. What I learned is that the introverted preference professionals in my class had no trouble speaking up, but only did so when they had something concise to say. Unlike my word vomiting self who needs to talk out concepts, introverts process internally and look for the right time to speak up if needed.
I ended up having thoughtful and introspective conversations with the introverts compared to the hyper-descriptive extroverts who resembled energizer bunnies when networking. I appreciate one-on-one conversations that matter and feel myself pulled and challenged when having to be “on” for too long. My acquaintances may know me as the life of the party, but my good friends know that I do best in quiet settings with a glass of wine and a juicy topic to dive into.
The moral of the story. Don’t make the same assumption mistake I did. Give quieter people a chance to think and process and give them the space to express. We all have our own way of communicating and have a longing to be acknowledged and validated.
If you're interested in learning more about Myers-Briggs or having your personality type assessed, feel free to check out more information here: www.laurenlemunyan.com/assessments