Looking for insights into your personality? The MBTI framework might be doing more harm than good.

JP Michel

According to Adam Grant, the MBTI's popularity (+2m users per year) doesn't match its effectiveness.

Find out why below. Then, check out an alternative tool you can use.

1 - Personality types are a myth.

Mark Zuckerberg is an ISTJ. Oprah Winfrey is ESFJ. What are you? 
The MBTI assigns each person one of 16 personality types.

The truth is that you are more than your type. In fact, personality “types” are a myth. Instead, every personality trait appears on a continuum.  

2 - MBTI results are likely to change.  

If you take the test twice, you might get a different result.  Research shows that as many as 75% of personality test-takers receive a different result when tested again.

If your results aren’t consistent, how accurate can they be?

3 - The MBTI doesn't predict outcomes.

There is no evidence that MBTI types affect job performance or team effectiveness.

In research terms, predicting outcomes is called “validity.” A test is valid if it predicts outcomes that matter.

For example, researchers William Gardner and Mark Martinko write that “few consistent relationships between type and managerial effectiveness have been found.”

Adam Grant’s conclusion? The MBTI is astrology for nerds.

When I was 22, I was inspired by the real-life examples of my type in the MBTI career book Do What You Are.

After my masters degree in industrial-organizational psychology and my experience working in the field, I changed my point of view.

While it can be fun and inspiring to discover our personality type or astrological sign, there are significant down-sides to using tools that aren't valid or reliable.

Use this instead: the Big Five personality traits

If you want to learn more about your personality, what tool can you use instead? Try the Big Five.

The Big Five is the most researched personality tool. It meets the criteria listed above, and you can use it to derive meaningful insights about your personality. 

Ready to try the Big Five? Check out PersonalityLab or PrinciplesYou.

Learning about your personality can help you create a more purposeful career. Want to learn more? Follow me for advice on #purpose and #careers.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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