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August 2020
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TD Magazine

Debunking Myths About the Myers-Briggs Assessment

The Myers-Briggs Company has launched a site to clarify facts and information about the assessment tool.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment has seen ongoing development since the first version was released in the 1940s. During the more than 75 years after its debut, it has gained and sustained popularity in the workplace. Each year, the majority of Fortune 100 companies and millions of individuals use the MBTI instrument to improve numerous aspects of work and life.

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Yet, despite its popularity, the MBTI assessment has been the center of many debates regarding its scientific basis and its ethical use in the workplace. For that reason, in May, the Myers-Briggs Company launched MBTI Facts, an online resource that provides in-depth answers to debunk popular myths, provide clarity on correct usage, and answer other frequently asked questions. The company's goal is to provide up-to-date, trusted information on the assessment.

"There's a lot of false information out there about the MBTI assessment," says Jeff Hayes, president and CEO of the Myers-Briggs Company. "It's important to get the right answers with the evidence to back it up."

At themyersbriggs.com/mbtifacts, you can find a range of information, including what the assessment can be used for and how to interpret the results. Further, MBTI Facts sheds light on whether companies should use this popular psychometric instrument in their recruitment or hiring efforts. In short, companies should not.

According to MBTI Facts, the assessment is not intended for use in selection of job candidates, nor for making internal decisions regarding job placement, selections for teams or task forces, or for similar activities. Moreover, the Myers & Briggs Foundation—which continues Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs's work and advocates for the appropriate and ethical use of the assessment—explicitly states that it is unethical to require job applicants to take the assessment if the results will be used to screen applicants. That's because, at its core, the MBTI assessment is a type of psychometric test that looks at personality traits rather than at a person's skills or competence.

So, how should companies and individuals use the assessment? According to MBTI Facts, it is "valuable for individuals and teams as they tackle such challenges as communication, handling conflict, managing change, making decisions, being a leader or changing careers."

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Elena Bajic, founder and CEO of Ivy Exec, states in Forbes that the assessment is useful for assembling teams, facilitating communication, motivating employees, and creating less conflict and greater efficiency, as well as for leadership development and leading well.

MBTI Facts and the Myers & Briggs Foundation are great resources for talent development professionals looking to learn more about the assessment. Because the MBTI assessment is one of the world's most popular psychometric instruments, talent development professionals would be well-served in reviewing its history and becoming conversant in its correct uses so that they are able to confidently speak up at the first signs of misuse.

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About the Author

Derrick Thompson is a writer/editor for ATD; [email protected]

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