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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Guess my type

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 Written by Catherine Rains

I was recently teaching the MBTI® Certification course in Kansas City, and after 2 hours together on the first day of the course, I asked the group to guess my MBTI preferences. Much to my delight, they guessed 3 of the 4 letters wrong. They might have guessed incorrectly because some in the room were just beginning to learn type, however many in the group already knew type quite well prior to the first day and they guessed wrong as well. They couldn’t pick up my type because I was only showing them one of my preferences, which is the one they picked up correctly. I was purposely flexing my type to the opposite of my preferences because it was appropriate to do so. In that situation, I needed to present complex material in a verbal, enthusiastic, concrete, linear, objective, timely and structured manner because that is what was required of me for those two hours.

So did the class fail at guessing type? Actually they demonstrated that they could already pick up type accurately, assuming the person they were guessing was showing their true type. When I am asked to guess someone’s type, which often happens when people find out I teach type, I always begin by saying I can accurately guess assuming they are showing me their best fit type. All I can really do is look for behavioral cues that would indicate a person’s preferences, and if they aren’t behaving in a way that would indicate their type, I will also guess incorrectly. So when guessing type, we need to be careful because all we can really do is look for behavioral cues, and then make a guess based on what we are observing.

So what is the value in guessing type? We’ll explore this question next week, but I would love to hear your perspective on this in the meantime. What do you think?

*It is important to understand that you cannot assess a person's type based merely on type cues; having the person take an assessment and giving them a proper interpretation is always recommended. The point of the blog is to try to understand how to pick up on certain type cues when in the absence of giving someone an assessment and self-verification, such as in a job interview.

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to resist guessing another person's type, but ultimately, it's counterproductive. In a workplace environment, people with F or P preferences might be more likely to show their T or J skills than they would outside work. An INFP might be mistaken for an INTJ, for example. Under this false assumption, you might fail to use the appropriate amount of tact in your communications, and as a result, seriously damage the relationship. It's better to use your knowledge of type to communicate in a way that's inclusive, and respects the needs of all types. (For instance, when giving someone an assignment, give them a general overview, then ask if they need more details before they can proceed. Let the other person tell you what they need, rather than making assumptions.)