Now that the results are in, it’s time to use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) on a day-to-day basis. It’s important to incorporate its usage soon after people receive their results. If you wait too long, employees might question your motivation, label the exercise a “waste of time,” or lose interest in the benefits you presented earlier. Your goal should be to create (or help each person create) an action plan that will leverage everyone’s strengths.
Further, you want to show people how the results can be used to overcome both typical and out-of-the-ordinary obstacles. In other words, you want to encourage flexible use of the results. Hopefully, this will minimize any frustrations that may arise. Remember, the MBTI or any employee assessment tool is not a panacea for problems in the workplace, nor is it something to fear. It is a tool that can enhance communications, improve teambuilding, and shed light on certain personality conflicts.
Here are some ways you can incorporate what you’ve learned so that you can use the MBTI to your company’s advantage:
- Encourage discussion. Have people who work together on a consistent basis talk about the differences that surfaced as a result of taking the Myers-Briggs test. Discourage finger pointing and judgmental statements, but allow people to explore the ways in which they work differently. For instance, emphasize the value of working with different personalities (multiple points of view, for example, can help a company understand how a customer might perceive a new product) and remind people that you rely on a variety of perspectives to help the company stay close to the customer.
- Give your staff permission to gloat. Naturally, you don’t want people walking around all day singing their own praises, but it is important to let people recognize and celebrate their talents. Someone might discover, for example, that he’s more congenial than he originally thought. That discovery alone could be all it takes for that employee to take new risks and perhaps initiate more customer contact, something you may have wanted for a long time. Someone else might have always thought her problem-solving skills were below par. An MBTI score could indicate otherwise and inspire this employee to have more faith in her analytical abilities.
- Share its value. Let people know that their MBTI results can be used to help them plan and develop their careers. Clearly, you want your investment to pay off on your time and on your turf. Still, just as your employees can take their skills and talents to new jobs at new companies, they can also bring along the knowledge they glean from the MBTI. The information will always be useful.
- Remind your staff that the MBTI is a snapshot. No one likes to be pigeonholed — into a job, a personality, anything that seemingly limits his or her potential. Some people may find that on certain days they’re more likely to behave like an ISFP (Introverted/Sensing/Feeling/Perceiving), while the next day they might take on the traits of an ISTJ (Introverted/Sensing/Thinking/Judging).
- Share success stories. Do some research and bring up examples of companies that have successfully applied their MBTI findings to specific issues in the workplace. Try to share success stories that your staff will relate to.
- Be honest. The MBTI is widely used and has been around for a long time. Still, it has its critics and while you don’t have to enumerate the test’s limitations, you should refrain from making promises. For example, don’t say that once everyone knows what kind of personality they have the company will be a wild success. Instead, temper your language so that everyone understands that the results, when applied effectively, have the potential to increase the organization’s effectiveness.