Emotional Intelligence and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator

One of the LinkedIn groups I belong to is The Emotional Intelligence Connection which has just under 10,000 members.  Last week Robin Hills who runs Ei4Change posted a link to a white paper “Emotional Intelligence and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator” and I downloaded it.  Robin has asked me for my comments.

To his credit, Robin is the first MBTI acolyte I have read who describes the Myers Briggs a decision making system that uses four axes.

  1. Where a person prefers to get or focus their energy (Extraversion /Introversion)
  2. The kind of information that is gathered and trusted (Sensing /iNuituion)
  3. The process used in coming to decisions (Thinking / Feeling)
  4. The preferred way to deal with the world (Judging / Perceiving)

This leads to 16 personality Types ranging from ESTJ to INTP.

With regard to Emotional Intelligence, Robin uses the 2×2 Goleman competency matrix which I also prefer.

The first key message is that Type is fixed, Emotional Intelligence is changeable.

According to Robin there are two main ways of considering the relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Myers Briggs Type.  Type will influence the development of Emotional Intelligence while Emotional Intelligence will influence the development of Type.

This interdependence means that Emotional Intelligence influences the effectiveness with which Type is expressed, and Type influences the ease with which different characteristics of Emotional Intelligence are learnt.  Robin then goes through the 16 MBTI types demonstrating which of Goleman’s four competences will be to the fore.  As a simple example if you are an Introvert you should be better at Self-Awareness; but if you are an Extravert you should be better at Social Skills.  To his credit Robin thoroughly goes through the 16 MBTI types indicating what should be the EQ Strengths and Weaknesses.

I must confess that I am not a fan of the MBTI as demonstrated by several blogs that I have written

Emotional Intelligence update: Forbes slams MBTI

Another nail in the Myers-Briggs coffin?

Emotional Intelligence: Did Myers-Briggs Destroy Arthur Andersen?

To me there are two big problems with MBTI.  First Type is meant to be fixed but the MBTI test is not reliable.  Over half of people taking the MBTI a second time are classified differently. https://www.medicaldaily.com/personality-tests-are-not-accurate-myers-briggs-personality-test-not-reliable-416652

Secondly Extraversion is on a spectrum.  To divide people into two types is to create what Hans Rosling calls The Mega Misconception that “The Word is Divided in Two”.  We all suffer from the irresistible temptation to divide all kinds of things into two distinct and conflicting groups, with an imagined gap in between.  (This is best explained in the first chapter of Hans Rosling’s new book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think.)  The reality is that most things are dispersed on a spectrum that is spread along the Normal Distribution or Bell Curve.  One sixth of us are Extraverts, one sixth introverts, and two-thirds are Ambiverts.

Thus I find it very difficult to take seriously a technology that is unreliable and invalid.



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