Type A, B, or C

  • Peter Tuffin

    Newbie

    Points: 8

    Another thing: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is based on, and inspired by, the work done on this by Carl Jung. His interest was firstly to try to find explanations for the differences in behaviour of different people. It was also part of his entire life's work which was aimed at providing a framework in which people could reach their ultimate potential: to help people to become the person they were "intended" to be.

    So he definitely wouldn't go along with people using his personality types to box people in and limit them. In fact, part of his thesis was that as we mature in life (if we really are maturing and not just getting older), we take on more and more of our undeveloped characteristics. In particular, as an INTJ, I should find that the E, S, F and P aspects of my personality (which are the relatively undeveloped bits) will become more prominent.

    Another personality typing instrument, the Enneagram, also has as its aim the growth of the individual into a more rounded personality. I heard it once said, "The Enneagram doesn't put you in a box, it shows you the box you've always been in, and gives you a way to get out". I think the same would apply to Jung/Myers-Briggs.

  • majorbloodnock

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 9389

    Lynn Pettis (2/26/2008)


    majorbloodnock

    Isn't the 19th century when psychiatry came into being with people like Freud?

    😎

    He, he. Yes, indeed.

    And with that line of analysis came a whole lot more pigeonholes. Don't get me wrong, I agree with what's being said here about the value of knowing yourself and recognising patterns and characteristics in others. The trouble is that spotting similarities is one thing, but extrapolating it to classify people is quite another. As soon as you say "you're a type A", what you're also saying is "you're NOT a type B", even though, in reality, there may be quite a lot of overlap. The tendency is regrettably to focus on differences rather than similarities, and that can be devisive (and is, of course, part of the reason quite a few of these tests are not recommended as part of a hiring decision).

    If we look around, it's quite amazing the number of ways in which people manage to develop a "them and us" attitude, and it can cause immense divisions and prejudices (I'm white, you're black. I'm British, you're foreign. I'm male, you're female. I'm Christian, you're Muslim. I support this football team, you don't. I'm straight, you're gay. I'm well off, you're poor. etc. etc.). My mistrust of classifications such as these is not in their accuracy so much as in how most lay people interpret them.

    Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 396549

    The company I work for puts us through a variety of tests, either administered by HR or through classes with the managers. Unfortunately, I don't know them all. One of them was social styles. It defines quadrants & then subdivides the quadrants again. You fall into Driver, Amiable, Expressive or Analytical. Then it's divided again. The splits are Task Directed, Analytical & Driver, or People Directed, Amiable & Expressive, and then Tell Directed, Driver & Expressive or Ask Directed, Analytical & Amiable. I came out a Driver-Driver, which makes my co-workers insane since most of them are Analyticals (not polar opposites, but definately pulled in different directions). They put us through this, not to help us understand ourselves, but to help us understand how to better communicate with our co-workers. When you can remember what to do with the information, it really can help. It's remember that you can't just TELL the bloody damned analytics to fix a problem, but rather ASK them to investigate the problem. Makes me nuts. "Servers down, FIX IT!" or "Hey, if you have the time today, it seems the server might be down, could you look into it please" BLEH!

    I took the other one, came up INTJ whatever that means.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • Matt Miller (4)

    SSC Guru

    Points: 124208

    Peter Tuffin (2/27/2008)


    Another thing: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is based on, and inspired by, the work done on this by Carl Jung. His interest was firstly to try to find explanations for the differences in behaviour of different people. It was also part of his entire life's work which was aimed at providing a framework in which people could reach their ultimate potential: to help people to become the person they were "intended" to be.

    So he definitely wouldn't go along with people using his personality types to box people in and limit them. In fact, part of his thesis was that as we mature in life (if we really are maturing and not just getting older), we take on more and more of our undeveloped characteristics. In particular, as an INTJ, I should find that the E, S, F and P aspects of my personality (which are the relatively undeveloped bits) will become more prominent.

    Another personality typing instrument, the Enneagram, also has as its aim the growth of the individual into a more rounded personality. I heard it once said, "The Enneagram doesn't put you in a box, it shows you the box you've always been in, and gives you a way to get out". I think the same would apply to Jung/Myers-Briggs.

    ...which goes to highlight what worries me most about these kinds of tests: people with only the foggiest idea of the purpose for these, reading results they don't understand, and making assessments/judgments they can't/shouldn't make based on said results.

    All due respect - but an HR department performing these kinds of tests means they intend to use them for something. Unless there's a doctor of psychology on the staff - it's likely to be used VERY incorrectly.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part...unless you're my manager...or a director and above...or a really loud-spoken end-user..All right - what was my emergency again?

  • Dave-3000

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6186

    Matt Miller (2/27/2008)


    ...which goes to highlight what worries me most about these kinds of tests: people with only the foggiest idea of the purpose for these, reading results they don't understand, and making assessments/judgments they can't/shouldn't make based on said results.

    All due respect - but an HR department performing these kinds of tests means they intend to use them for something. Unless there's a doctor of psychology on the staff - it's likely to be used VERY incorrectly.

    I concur, Matt, with both your points. It's been a long time (thankfully) since I've been subjected to Myers-Briggs or whatever the one with the quadrants is named. In each case, it was either an attempt by management to make a group act as a team that could never, ever act in concert due to their preoccupation with backstabbing, or an attempt by HR to look busy.

    The thing that always struck me as a basic inaccuracy about these tests was they are self-assessments. So if you saw yourself as analytical, generous, non-judgmental, and heroic, that's what the test said, even if you were flaccid, selfish, venal, and dumber than a bag of hammers. But then we were supposed to deal with you according to your Myers-Briggs letters, which were helpfully posted by your desk. I just couldn't deal with it.

    There is no "i" in team, but idiot has two.
  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 396549

    Dave (2/27/2008)


    I concur, Matt, with both your points. It's been a long time (thankfully) since I've been subjected to Myers-Briggs or whatever the one with the quadrants is named. In each case, it was either an attempt by management to make a group act as a team that could never, ever act in concert due to their preoccupation with backstabbing, or an attempt by HR to look busy.

    The thing that always struck me as a basic inaccuracy about these tests was they are self-assessments. So if you saw yourself as analytical, generous, non-judgmental, and heroic, that's what the test said, even if you were flaccid, selfish, venal, and dumber than a bag of hammers. But then we were supposed to deal with you according to your Myers-Briggs letters, which were helpfully posted by your desk. I just couldn't deal with it.

    We actually had to hand the evaluation for our quadrant eval out to five other people. The recommendations were one co-worker, one manager, one-report (if any) and one client. You found out what people thought of you, not what you thought of yourself. Funny thing was, in most cases, it was perceived to be very accurate. It was hilarious when people would argue that they don't act in some particular manner and then proceed to make their case, using the mannerisms that they were protesting.

    It really was a useful tool, but hardly an accurate predictor for how people behaved. My best friend and closest ally at work is my polar opposite in quadrants, but people I should get along with, we grate each other the wrong way. Still, having some knowledge of how a person is likely to deal with stress helps you help them through a stressful situation.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • jcrawf02

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 24198

    The point isn't to let you not argue, it's to let you argue constructively, since you understand how best to get your point across to the other personality types.

    Or, being a jerk, how best to piss them off.

    I was a supervisor over 20 of the most sarcastic, prank-playing, uncouth folks I've ever met. We took the personality test for SELF, and one of the defining characteristics of my type was "abhors disrespect and irreverance". Hilarious. Everyone got self-conscious (for a day or two).

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    How best to post your question[/url]
    How to post performance problems[/url]
    Tally Table:What it is and how it replaces a loop[/url]

    "stewsterl 80804 (10/16/2009)I guess when you stop and try to understand the solution provided you not only learn, but save yourself some headaches when you need to make any slight changes."

  • jcrawf02

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 24198

    Steve, I have to say that I disagree about the personality type in your article not being promotable simply because they wish to contain work to worktime. This may be the healthiest sort of boss to have, and the best advocate for those under them. This, of course, only holds water if they are an efficient AND effective worker during those work-hours, and don't just fart around on their blackberry from 9-5, throw 6 projects on your desk, and go grab a beer.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    How best to post your question[/url]
    How to post performance problems[/url]
    Tally Table:What it is and how it replaces a loop[/url]

    "stewsterl 80804 (10/16/2009)I guess when you stop and try to understand the solution provided you not only learn, but save yourself some headaches when you need to make any slight changes."

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 719720

    The person in the article didn't necessarily want to get promoted. They weren't that type of person. It didn't have to do with overtime.

    It's hard to say why this person wasn't a good promotion. Mainly not a leader as of yet.

  • Bill Prehl

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 101

    Steve,

    Nice job on presenting relational-teams. Unlike SQL server, which has a homogeneous methodology and response system, the various people who use, implement, maintain and leverage it's services come with varying personalities. With that, varying expectations.

    I too believe this information should be known going into a new job - on both sides of the table. Simply having a conversation only presents the first impression, but not this in-depth information. In some regards, it might even make the interview go very smoothly because it allows both sides to know how to best communicate. This idea does have some merit over the concept of watching words spoken and body language during the "on-air" moment of the interview.

    But, as mentioned in these responses, classifying people has in the past succumb to divisional boundaries creating feelings that can directly effect another person's success. This is why the legal statement at the bottom of most job information documents is becoming so long. But, as I stated at the beginning, people are not homogeneous like SQL server. We each have our own, unique built-in engines for performing work, decisions, and other aspects of life. Knowing how we best work together is the best idea of these tests, but using these tests to predict someone's potential performance is not a very wise idea.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 719720

  • David.Poole

    SSC Guru

    Points: 75363

    The point of these tests is to help employees figure out the best way to deal with other employees, senior or junior.

    Those of us less socially skilled are grateful for any help we can get but short of making everyone wear name badges with their Myers-Briggs (or whatever other HR device) brand on it.

    I actually found the process of going through the Myers Briggs assessment quite stressful, particularly as it was done as a group exercise with my peers and my boss. Afterwards I asked my boss what personality type he thought I was and he said "Dave, I was laughing too much to take it all in, you are the 17th personality type in a class of 16"!:doze:

  • TravisDBA

    SSCoach

    Points: 15780

    majorbloodnock (2/26/2008)


    And this is one of the reasons I tend to distrust some psychological techniques.

    Certainly there can be defining characteristics to someone, but shoehorning people into compartments to try to define them is, by its very nature, dangerous. You've shown this by describing how Type A and Type B categories don't do a good job of describing a particular person, but the article seems to suggest this is a mistake in the bounds of the compartment rather than the process of pigeonholing overall.

    Exactly Major. The whole science of psychology is overated IMHO. Eveybody is a Sigmund Freud nowadays. They haven't got the answers anymore than you or I do. They just think they do. Psychology, which supposedly explains everything, explains nothing, and we are all still left in doubt in the end.:-D

    "Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"

  • maroon-78

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1014

    I find the Ned Hermann Brain Dominance model a better predictor of behaiviour. The model describes four quadrants:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herrmann_Brain_Dominance_Instrument

    and assigns a role-based strength rating to each quadrant for a person. So at work I could be more sequential, while at home working on remodelling, I could be more analytical while trying to figure out what I need to do and how to do it.

  • DavidL

    Hall of Fame

    Points: 3580

    I've taken the myers briggs a couple of times, and always came out INTJ -- my wife definitely concurs that that is a fair result (within the limits of the test).

    According to Myers-Briggs, INTJ and their ilk are relatively uncommon, something like about 5% of the population. It strikes me as significant that quite a number of posters have said that they are INTJ or something similar. There are clearly a smaller group of temperaments that are attracted to the work we do, and those may be all captured in the INTJ (and similar) groups.

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