For more see the full article at Northcentral University Higher Degrees Fall 2013
For more see the full article at Northcentral University Higher Degrees Fall 2013
Several courses I teach include discussion regarding the importance of understanding personality preferences. Students often take personality tests to determine their “type”. Part of their type includes whether they are introverts or extraverts (Myers Briggs spells extravert with an “a” instead of an “o”). In my training to become a qualified Myers Briggs MBTI trainer, I learned that people have preferences for how they like to receive and process information. We were told it was similar to how people prefer to write with their right or left hand. That is why I found the recent Wall Street Journal article titled How an Introvert Can Be Happier: Act Like an Extrovert to be so interesting. The title contradicts some of what I learned in my training.
Some interesting highlights from this article include:
If Myers Briggs information teaches us that people have certain preferences and feel more comfortable with those preferences, this research contradicts that. However, not all researchers agree with these results. Some of the researchers in this article believed that trying to act against type would deplete glucose resources due to the concentration involved. If genetics truly plays a role in whether someone is introverted or extroverted, then people may find it difficult to constantly fight their natural tendencies.
Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, argued that the people should draw on their strengths rather than try to be something they are not. This is not unlike the position Tom Rath, author of Strengths Finder 2.0 takes in his book that embraces working on strengths rather than weaknesses. In the book, It’s Not Your It’s Your Personality, several of the top personality theories and assessments are addressed including Myers Briggs and Strengths Finders, DISC, and Emotional Intelligence.
HR professionals within organizations have given personality assessments to potential employees for many years. I was asked to take a personality assessment for a pharmaceutical sales job in 1987. The changes I have noticed since that time include the type and frequency of personality tests given. What also may be trending is the fact that leaders of schools have become more interested in personality assessments. In the Wall Street Journal article Business Schools Know How You Think, but How Do You Feel, author Melissa Korn explained, “Prospective MBA students need to shine by showing emotional traits like empathy, motivation, resilience, and dozens of others.” Schools may be interested in these traits because organizations value these traits. Korn also explained, “Measuring EQ-or emotional intelligence quotient-is the latest attempt by business schools to identify future stars.”
I find this trend to be particularly interesting because I teach business, I am a qualified Myers Briggs instructor, a certified EQ-i instructor, and I wrote my dissertation on the relationship between emotional intelligence and sales performance. I have also witnessed that online schools have placed more importance on personality assessments. Many of my first-year students must take a Jung-like personality test. Many of my undergraduate and graduate business students have to assess their EQ.
I think it is important for these personality preference and emotional intelligence issues to be addressed in online courses. Some of the things that may hurt a graduate’s chance of obtaining is job include having poor self-assessment skills, poor interpersonal skills, and a lack of concern for how they are perceived by others.
When I was in pharmaceutical sales, they rated us each year on our concern for impact. It was such an important part of what they believed made us successful in the field, that there were consequences to poor judgment and rude behavior. In the book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, there is a chapter regarding concern for impact, as well as one for Myers Briggs MBTI, Emotional Intelligence, DISC, and many other personality assessments that may help young adults in the workplace. One of the universities for which I teach requires students to read this book in a foresight course.
It is important for online students to learn about these assessments because employers use them. Some personality traits stay with us throughout our lives. The MBTI is an example of an assessment that determines preferences that may not change. This assessment may be helpful to students who are not sure about career paths. Other assessments like the EQ-i determine emotional intelligence levels. The good news about emotional intelligence is that it may be improved. Marcia Hughes has written several books about how to improve EQ in the workplace. The savvy online students will work on developing their EQ and understanding personality preferences before they graduate. By being proactive, students may have a better chance of being successful in a career that matches their personality preferences.
QuantMethod is a site that offers ways to help companies market to customers based upon understanding their personality type. The Quant Method assessment puts people into 1 out of 4 categories. According to their site, these types include:
I took the test and I came out as a thinker. I assumed I’d either be that or a mastermind. The results don’t tell you how close you are to another personality type. The site claims that my results puts me into the same category as George Washington, Michael Caine, Donald Duck, Eliot Ness, and Johnny Carson. Hmmm … interesting group … especially Donald Duck. Apparently half of U.S. presidents are “thinkers”.
In the results, it listed tactics about how to appeal to this type of personality in terms of suggested sales tactics.
This company surveys customers to find out their personality type. They claim their instrument is similar to Myers-Briggs MBTI but with 1/6 the size. The thought process behind this business is that people like to deal with others that are on their same level of thinking.
Time Magazine article Get Personal with Marketing and Net More Sales reported that this Quant Method may be helpful because, “Knowing more about personality types can help you optimize email messages and websites to include specific landing pages with information that the four different personality types like in order increase conversion rates.”
While I find this to be an interesting way to market, it may be difficult to get people to respond to these assessments. When marketing to a large database, it is not feasible. I like the concept of targeting to the individual’s needs. The real trick would be to get people to actually take the assessment.
Professor James Flynn is a New Zealand researcher who is known for studying intelligence. The Flynn Affect refers to, “the substantial and long-sustained increase in intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world from roughly 1930 to the present day. When intelligence quotient (IQ) tests are initially standardized using a sample of test-takers, by convention the average of the test results is set to 100 and their standard deviation is set to 15 or 16 IQ points. When IQ tests are revised, they are again standardized using a new sample of test-takers, usually born more recently than the first. Again, the average result is set to 100. However, when the new test subjects take the older tests, in almost every case their average scores are significantly above 100.”
There is a debate about whether IQ scores are improving without a corresponding rise in intelligence. There is even conflicting reports that IQ scores are dropping. If they are actually rising, some speculate that there are a number of contributing factors including: education, technology, nutrition, and removal of toxins from the environment.
While countries have made gains of up to 25 points in intelligence, there may be difficulty making comparisons due to testing measures. Some tests are based on fluid intelligence, while others are based on crystalized intelligence. For explanations about these intelligence tests, check out: The Flynn Affect
David Shenk, author of the article The Truth About IQ explained, “IQ tests measure current academic abilities — not any sort of fixed, innate intelligence. More specifically, the best-known IQ battery, “Stanford-Binet 5,” measures Fluid Reasoning, Knowledge, Quantitative Reasoning, Visual-Spatial Processing, and Working Memory. Collectively, these skills are known as “symbolic logic.” Among other things, IQ tests do not measure creativity; they do not measure “practical intelligence” (otherwise known as “street smarts”); and they do not measure what some psychologists call “emotional intelligence.”
Flynn’s most recent research had some important findings for women. In the ABC News article Women Beat Men on IQ Tests for the First Time, author Carrie Gann explained, “James Flynn, a New Zealand-based researcher known as an IQ testing expert, said that over the past century, women have lagged slightly behind men in IQ testing scores, at times by as much as five points. But now, Flynn said women have closed the gap and even inched ahead in this battle of the intelligent sexes.”
To find out more information about factors that affect IQ, check out the following articles:
The Myers-Briggs MBTI assessment claims it can help determine whether a person is an introvert or an extravert. According to the official Myers-Briggs site, people know they are an extravert if they think things like, “I like getting my energy from active involvement in events and having a lot of different activities. I’m excited when I’m around people and I like to energize other people. I like moving into action and making things happen. I generally feel at home in the world. I often understand a problem better when I can talk out loud about it and hear what others have to say.”
I have received the training to be a qualified Myers-Briggs instructor. Whenever I have taken the MBTI assessment, my score or preference for extraversion is very high. According to these results, “I am seen as “outgoing” or as a “people person.” I feel comfortable in groups and like working in them. I have a wide range of friends and know lots of people. I sometimes jump too quickly into an activity and don’t allow enough time to think it over. Before I start a project, I sometimes forget to stop and get clear on what I want to do and why.”
Lately I’ve considered that I may be a bit of a reluctant extravert. Many of these points just do not fit me. I would say that most people that meet me would consider me outgoing. I do like to talk. I have a hard time handling “dead air”. I also like to have a lot to do. These are definitely extraverted traits. However, usually I prefer to avoid being around a lot of people. Many of the above-listed points do not really describe me at all. For example, I don’t jump into things without a great deal of thought.
Why would my score come out as having a high preference for extraversion? In my training, they explained that we can act more introverted or extraverted based on a situation. I think it can be difficult to lump people into categories or types. I think Myers-Briggs does it as well as any assessment can. However, even in the training I received, they acknowledged that we are all different. No one is always one way or another. It is about preferences. Our preference for introversion or extraversion is similar in how we prefer to be right-handed or left-handed. We might be able to write with both, but we prefer one over the other. We may be able to be outgoing or not, but we prefer one over the other.
One of the reasons I co-wrote the book It’s Not You It’s Your Personality is because I don’t think any “one” personality assessment can truly explain people. There are many theories about personality that need exploration. I felt that the Big Five, Management by Strengths, DISC, and other assessments offered some valid insight into people’s personalities. While I highly recommend learning about Myers-Briggs and the MBTI, I also think some of the other assessments are worth researching as well.
Companies often use personality tests like the Myers Briggs MBTI, emotional intelligence EQ-i, or others like the DISC to determine if potential employees’ personalities are a good fit for jobs. I noticed a conversation about whether companies should use personality tests for screening employees. It seemed that many of the responses indicated that people will just lie to get the job.
There is the possibility that any subjective, self-administered test could be manipulated. However, many of the tests have built-in detectors that try to catch inconsistent responses. For those of you who have taken these tests, you may have noticed that it seemed like they asked the same kind of questions more than once. Many of these tests reword things several different ways to determine consistency.
I took a personality test for a job as a pharmaceutical representative in the early 80’s. Because it was a sales job, I knew that they were looking for sales-related qualities. It was common sense to figure out that since I was applying for a sales position, I should use appropriate adjectives like motivated or driven to describe my personality.
The problem with lying on the personality tests is that in the end, you will end up with a job that does not really fit with what makes you happy. Also the company will end up with an employee that is not the best match for the job. In this economy, many people are willing to do whatever it takes to get any job. However, the experienced HR professional should do more than just use a personality test to determine a good candidate. These tests can be useful tools if used correctly. However, they are just one of many tools.
The Wall Street Journal’s article Is Your Personality Making You Put on Pounds listed some personality traits that may affect weight gain. Some of the links between personality and weight gain include weight gain in people who are:
The author of the article provides some fixes for people who exhibit these traits.
Impulsiveness has also been linked to weight gain. The Huffington Post reported, “A 2006 study by Maastricht University of 26 obese children found that the most overweight children were also the most impulsive. Another study, published in 2008 by the University of Alabama, found that obese women had significantly lower impulse control than normal weight women, while a 1976 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition similarly found that obese women were more likely to be “non-conforming and impulsive” than their non-obese peers.”
Neurotic people also have issues with weight gain. The National Institute of Aging studied nearly 2000 people and found that people with high levels of neuroticism and low levels of conscientiousness displayed more frequent weight increases and decreases.
The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology released a study that studied participants based on the Big Five personality traits of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. There were a total of 14,531 assessments across the 50 years of the study. Pyschcentral reported that the results showed, “greater weight gain among impulsive people; those who enjoy taking risks; and those who are antagonistic — especially those who are cynical, competitive and aggressive.” ABCLocal reported that this study showed, “that people who are meaner are more likely to gain weight with age. Those considered more conscientious were likely to be leaner.”
A lead researcher from the Institute of Aging, Angelina Sutin, was interviewed by Boomer Health and Life. Sutin stated, “We hope that by more clearly identifying the association between personality and obesity, more tailored treatments will be created. For example, lifestyle and exercise interventions that are done in a group setting may be more effective for extroverts than for introverts.”
WebMD claims that if you know your diet personality, it can help you lose weight. Weight loss plans should be based on whether you are a:
To find ideal diet plans based on each of these types, click here.
Freud, Jung, Adler and other famous theorists’ names are commonly mentioned, but many people do not know the basis of their important research. Theorists have grappled with understanding factors that may impact personality. Many theorists have dedicated their lives to helping people deal with complex personality-based issues.
In the workplace, it is common to run into personality conflicts. Many of these may be resolved by having a better understanding of personality preferences. It’s Not You It’s Your Personality is a book that defines personality, gives detailed information about personality assessments, and explains how people can use this information to be more effective in the workplace. Personality assessments are based on the work of some very famous theorists. The following chart contains some of the top names in personality research. Click on links provided to find out more about these theorists and the importance of their research.
|Top Personality Theorists||Theory||Top Points and Terminology|
|Sigmund Freud||Psychodynamic||Psychosexual Development, Id, Ego, Super-Ego|
|Carl Jung||Psychodynamic||Collective Unconscious, True Persona, Introvert-Extrovert|
|Alfred Adler||Psychodynamic||Social Urges, Conscious Thoughts, Compensation for Inferiorities, Birth Order|
|Karen Horney||Psychodynamic||Biological Influences on Personality Rather Than Social Forces|
|Harry Stack Sullivan||Psychodynamic||Interpersonal Relationships, Social Acceptance and Self-Esteem|
|John Bowlby||Attachment||Parent Child Relationships, Social Acceptance and Self-Esteem|
|Mary Ainsworth||Attachment||Strange Situation Theory, Observation of Parents|
|Erik Erikson||Psychosocial||Child’s Trust Relationship With Mother, Early Development|
|Carl Rogers||Psychosocial||Humanistic Theory Based on Subjective Experiences, Self-Understanding|
|John Watson||Behavioral||Environmental Impact on Behavior|
|Ivan Pavlov||Behavioral||Pavlov’s Dog, Classical Conditioning, Temperament|
|B. F. Skinner||Behavioral||Operant Conditioning, Rewards and Punishments for Behaviors|
|George Kelly||Cognitive||Self-Reflection, Perception and Interpretation Impact on Behavior|
|Albert Bandura||Social Learning||Human Capabilities, Structural Framework, Thinking Processes|
|Walter Mischel||Social Learning||Social Variables Explain Human Complexities, Delayed Gratification|
|Gordon Allport||Trait||Focus on Positive, Traits are Permanent|
|Raymond Cattell||Trait||Factor Analytic Trait Theory, 16 Source Traits Including Temperament and Dynamic, State and Roles Determine Personality|
|Hans Eysenck||Trait||Three Factor Theory, Introversion-Extroversion, Neuroticism, Psychoticism|
Showing up to a job interview without researching the company’s background, products and future potential is an error many job applicants make. Even those who have properly researched the company may still make the mistake of not assessing the interviewer’s needs. There are some important tips that job-seekers can utilize to ace the interview even if they are not made aware of who will interview them ahead of time.
Job candidates need to keep in mind that people like to receive information based on their personality preferences. In an interview situation, that means that the job-seeker needs to assess the interviewer’s personality to look for clues about these preferences.
Based on the following personality types, tailor how information is delivered in the following way:
Interviewer is an Introvert (they prefer to think about what they want to say before they say it): They may not want a lot of chit chat. Allow them to have time to ask questions and don’t talk over them.
Interviewer is an Extrovert (they tend to say what they are thinking without processing first): Realize they require information quickly and may talk over you or end sentences for you. If they ask a question and you need more time, simply say something like, “That is a good question; let me think about that for a moment.” That will buy you some time to formulate your answer.
Interviewer is Direct (they prefer to get to the point and may be abrasive): Don’t hem and haw around. Get right to the bottom line information they require.
Interviewer is Structured (they like facts and figures): If they have charts and graphs around and ask for statistics, give them data. They like quantifiable answers.
One way to find out more about the person doing the interview is to look around the office for clues. Try to find things that you have in common with them. Show an interest in the things they showcase like pictures, plaques, awards, etc. For more information about acing the interview, read 10 Most Important Steps to Obtain a Dream Job.