Beyond the Myers-Briggs: Assessment tools for Organization Development Practitioners
Each year millions of copies of the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) are administered by counselors, coaches, and consultants yet some experts in the field of psychometrics are not impressed by the reliability and validity of the instrument. Still, others feel that its role in executive coaching is very limited (see Wagner 2003, Using the MBTI as a tool for leadership development? Use with caution).
There are a number of other common tools used in coaching that are nearly as popular as the MBTI:
Although these tools can offer insight and information that might be useful in coaching, I’d first like to emphasize that these are simply one piece of the assessment puzzle and although all have been tested, none are completely valid and reliable in all situations
There are many other assessment tools that can be used to gain useful information when the need arises. Here are some often overlooked instruments to consider adding to your coaching toolbox that have been proven valid and reliable:
- LMX: Leader-Member Exchange explores the relationship between a manager and subordinates
- Big 5 Personality Test measures five broad areas of personality
- Quality of Work Life scale measures several factors that contribute to well-being at work
What are your thoughts about the MBTI and other tools? Can you locate a link to an additional instrument or tool that might be used in Organization Development at the individual, team, or organization-wide level?
MBTI is largely focused on individuals’ internal thinking and has four human behavior: intuition, feeling, thinking, and sensation. The other model assessment is the DISC is designed to measure personality that focuses on individuals’ external behavior. I remember, we focus on several assessment tools in the Executive Coaching class two semesters ago.
I think the MBTI is useful when a person needs to look inward and think about what direction they need to go. When looking a two different potential roles, an individual can reflect on the MBTI and utilize it for guidance on where they should be. I look at my type and it defines me when I sometimes question myself. Trying to pick apart each little piece and put it together would be more trouble than it is worth, in my opinion.
I have taken the MBTI Assessment on several occassions and the results have been very similiar each time. However, I believe that having a variety of tools available in order to derive specific organizational development capabilities can serve to offer a more specialized result structure. Depending upon each agency’s issue or leaders area of development, each tool brings forward value in the intervention and assessment. I have seen several FIRO-B assessments utilized with excellent results.
For many years, I have taken the Meyers-Briggs test for personal entertainment and curiosity. Consistently I would receive the INFJ personality. Within the past two years, I discovered that I was an ENFJ. I believe that I take on in the workplace has a direct impact on my personality. The MBTI may or may not be reliable in all cases . I have taken the DISC personal assessment on a few occasions before being employed at a company and in group collaborations. I feel that this assessment tool is helpful in team building.
Another personality assessment test that I took recently and found to be extremely insightful personally and professionally is True Colors https://truecolorsintl.com/ . This model provides an understanding of yourself based on your personality temperament. The colors of Orange, Green, Blue and Gold are used to differentiate the four central personality styles .
I cannot recall partaking in any of the listed assessment tools or personality tests. I know I definitely took personality tests before joining TSA in the Department of Homeland Security and during my testing period while going through the application process for various police departments and before joining the military and joining the military and before being employed with contract security companies. So yes, I took a lot of these type tests but not sure of they were any one the ones listed in this article.
If these assessment tools are answered honestly then it can really reveal important information worth knowing and addressing. If these assessments are answered dishonestly then the person taking the test is the one who will only suffer.
I found the link below to an OD assessment tool and I quote, “The Workgroup Climate Assessment (WCA) is a simple, reliable, and validated tool designed to measure climate in intact workgroups at all levels of an organization.”
Sixto Lopez Jr.
MBTI are widely used in many different areas from school to work. One aspect I find troubling is that the test relies heavily on honest answers from the individual taking the test. The results are based upon the understanding that individuals are truthful in their responses. Furthermore, the results obtained from the test have limited uses. Additionally, It is often difficult to the results achieved from MBTI tests.
As many of my colleagues have previously stated, we were required to complete the Gallup StrengthsFinder questionnaire prior to starting classes. The results from this survey were meant to allocate each of us into 13 respective groups, in essence creating the perfect group of individuals. While the results from StrengthsFinder were fairly accurate, it appears that many persons failed to complete it truthfully. When discussing our top 5 strengths as a group, some people did not appear to match their strengths.
However, an important aspect to remember when using these assessment tools is that the individual(s) analyzing the results must be trained to do so. Understanding the behavioral psychology associated with these assessments is crucial to using them appropriately.
While I believe that tools such as MBTI can be useful in bringing teams together, they should not be the only resource used. Lets face it some people freeze up when taking any type of quiz, even one such as those mentioned above. However, when used together with other tools I do believe it can be useful. For example, knowing someone’s preferred communication style can be a huge help in overcoming communication issues, or barriers. Knowing that a yourself can be equally use. Hard imagine people may not know their own style, but you would be surprised. It is important to note that none of these assessments should be used as a means to discipline or in any negative way towards employees.
Another tool that I have recently seen is Deloitte’s Business Chemistry self assessment, information about their assessment tool can be found here:
First off I wanted to pick the 360 Feedback as an option for another assessment tool to use however the link leads to a message that states: “domain name registration has expired” so I could not pick that one. However, after reviewing the Emotional intelligence tool, I feel this along with the Myers-Briggs assessment would be invaluable to organizations that are searching for employees that deal directly with the public. However I would not limit the usage of these tools to only that section of employees I would add decision makers from supervisors to CEOs to this group in order to develop policies and procedures that reflect a mutual concern for the well-being of the organization’s members, the community and customers it serves.
Although the MTBI is fairly correct in its assessment many of the different characteristics of the 16 different personalities can sometimes, I believe, equally shared, so to determine if the right type of individual is being assigned to the position that best suits them (and the organization) I would use both tools. First I would use MTBI to gather a general sense of the various personality aspects and then the Emotional intelligence tool to determine how empathic the individual would be in their interactions with others.
I would also use a frequently and commonly used tool in the workplace, the Employee Engagement survey this can help determine individual perceptions in regards to the state of the organization as seen by the survey taker:
Okay, the majority of folks have indicated that they see value in using this instrument within their company. There are also a couple comments about the positive value to the OD practitioner. You’ve convinced me to attend the MBTI training to learn more about its background and use. Then, the use of the technique will be up to me! Thanks for the motivation, folks. TLT
We had to complete the StrengthsFinder assessment of ourselves when entering RU’s pharmacy program. I think this is a great tool to not just learn more about yourself and what your true strengths but I also think it is a great way to find out what your peers strengths are and who would work the best together. I found it interesting when our classes (the class of 2018) strengths as a whole were compared to all the other classes before us. It was interesting to see which strengths varied from class-to-class and which ones were common among all. I found it to be a great reflection of those who want to be a part of the pharmacy field. Thinking back now I think tools such as the StengthsFinder one are a great way to find out which strengths are the most common, and most valued, among various occupations, such as OD.
For me personally, I like the MBTI and think is useful in helping me better work and interact with my coworkers and teammates. For example, I sat in a group training exercise where we discussed various personality types/traits. While I may have very specific traits that make me respond or act in a certain way, my coworker could be the exact opposite. These differences could easily lead to tension. Rather than being annoyed at Susie because she doesn’t do or respond to things the way I do, having that background knowledge that she has xyz personality traits can help me understand why she does things the way she does. We are having a consultant come in this fall to conduct DISC testing. I am confident going through this with our entire department can only improve the way we understand each other and work together as a team.
I think, like anything, the MBTI has its appropriate applications. Never use the results of a single instrument as dogma, but a guideline. It’s only one piece of a much larger puzzle.
It seems to me that the MBTI really gained popularity in our industry (nuclear) twenty-five years ago, but has fallen out of favor since. When it was popular, we heard, “Oh yeah, everyone in this industry in management is an ENTJ. Everyone except LLLL, and that’s why he doesn’t get along.” I’m sorry, and I don’t mean to be a contrarian, but that was all anyone in my field really said about it after the first couple of months after completing the questionnaire. I have little faith in it as a useful tool for management improvement or for the OD professional. It may give us some insights, but I’ve never seen it consistently referenced by any management individual in a positive manner for an improved behavior.
I like personally like the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory on several different levels, even though I feel the assessment could be misinterpret on some levels only because the individual has to answer several personality questions. I’m sure you’ll have the individual who will try and answer as honestly as they can and on the other spectrum the individual who may answer 50% accurately which could produce a different results in this instance.
I have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory several times and my assessment has been pretty close on all occasions, I like how the feedback presented allow you to look at things differently such as your strengths, emotional intelligence, personality measures and items relating to your well-being.
Here’s an assessment which was very interesting, relating to individual, teamwork and organization analysis it’s called the KTS-II, it determines your personality.
At school, we commonly use the Gallup StrengthsFinder for personality, leadership, and professional identification of strengths. It has been pretty effective for identifying team members. If as individuals we are aware of our personal strengths we can better complete our jobs. We will know how we work best and where we need to improve. Here is the link to the personality test: https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/?gclid=Cj0KEQjwwMi7BRDGptbvwOCDj8oBEiQAIALyDFzlh5cbIL8WEyC9mNh0CEgfqocjiAO7kyfvNeTLXGQaAt0c8P8HAQ
I like the MBTI for the purposes of getting personal insight for my development, but I’m not sure I’ve seen it used effectively in many organizations. It seems like it’s something that everyone knows about so they just gravitate to it without really spending the time to consider what the results mean and how to use them to benefit the individual and the organization. Same goes for the other assessment tools. I think they are great, but I have not experienced the results used to effectively coach and develop team members.
Even though I believe MBTI is useful for psychological type, there are no comparison for results especially since some people are entraverts and others introverts. I personal like the
Interactive Wheel of Life Tool Interactive Wheel it benefits an individual by giving get a visual design of balance in personal or organization life for change.