It's Not Alphabet Soup

Posted by Stephen Lemire on January 12, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Nearly twenty years ago I first had the opportunity to take the Myers-Briggs assessment. Since I was curious as to how my personality, attitudes, and aptitude fit with my career as an association executive, I jumped at the chance. (My pedestrian description of the Myers-Briggs is that it is a questionnaire which measures your perceptions and how you make decisions.)

The timing was particularly important because, until that time, I always believed that I was a health care professional (two degrees in health care administration) that happened to manage associations. Once I got my results, it only made sense that I was, in all actuality, an association professional with a strong interest in health care.

The Myers-Briggs is not the only standardized measure as there are many other tools used. Since this is not my area of expertise, let me invite you to respond:

· What other assessment do you like? Is it reliable?

· Is it useful to evaluate potential employees and leaders?

· Is it helpful when making career choices?


According to the Myers-Briggs, I am an ENFJ which is a personality group that accounts for less than 5% of the population. ENFJs are frequently known as visionaries or called “The Mentor”. ENFJs can frequently be found in the following careers: consultant (check), nonprofit manager (check), teacher (check), and writer (check). ENFJs generally have some of the following traits:

  • Creative and imaginative
  • Enjoy variety and new challenges
  • Strong organizational capabilities
  • Exceptionally good people skills
  • Get personal satisfaction from helping others
  • Genuinely and warmly interested in people
  • Value people's feelings
  • Loyal and honest
  • Value structure and organization

My summary reveals:


· E – Extraversion (preferred to I - Introversion): motivated by interaction with people...enjoy a wide circle of acquaintances…gain energy in social situations

· N – Intuition (preferred to S-Sensing): more abstract than concrete...focus attention on the big picture and future possibilities

· F – Feeling (preferred to T-Thinking): value personal considerations…give weight to social implications when making decisions

· J – Judgment (preferred to P-Perception): plan activities and make decisions early...sense of control through predictability


If you have completed the Myers-Briggs questionnaire, what was your result? Do you feel that it describes your personality? Is the result compatible with your career choice?

If you have not taken the test and would like to do so, you can follow this link http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp to a free, online questionnaire based on the Myers-Briggs which will provide you with your corresponding personality group.

Surprised at the findings?

I was wondering if my result had changed over the past twenty years (maybe shifting from Judging to Perception) so I took the online survey provided above. There had been no change. To mix metaphors: the old dog has learned a lot of new tricks, but you can’t take the ENFJ out of the old dog.



Categories: Management, Behavioral Health, Odds & Ends

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