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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Column: Personality test should be utilized by leaders

    Emilee Hoopes

    The UA continues to pride itself on the plethora of leadership and involvement opportunities available on campus. From Arizona Ambassadors, to UA’s undergraduate and graduate student councils, to dozens of clubs and organizations, and even minors and certificates in-between, the UA offers programs that provide the chance for students to grow as leaders and build their understanding of their own potential.

    However, few of these programs have implemented one of the most effective methods of deducing one’s own personal leadership style and the application of one’s unique strengths: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

    The MBTI test is an assessment used to measure psychological preferences in perception and decision-making scenarios along four axes: extroversion to introversion, sensing to intuiting, thinking to feeling and perceiving to judging. It’s used by the human resources departments of 89 companies in the Fortune 100 and around 200 federal agencies, including the military.

    The Arizona Blue Chip Program is one UA leadership organization that has embedded the MBTI into its program.

    “[The] MBTI is a very effective tool in helping people understand their personality types, why they get their energy from certain activities, how they interact with people and why they make certain decisions,” said Tina Neil, director of the Arizona Blue Chip Program.

    Specifically, she added that it plays into Blue Chip’s emphasis on leadership.

    “For leaders, it helps them understand better who they are and how to best interact with others,” Neil said.

    Although Neil notes the expense of MBTI, she insists the material is well worth the initial investment.

    “I attended a four-day training to become a certified MBTI facilitator,” she said. “Training can cost up to $3000, but once trained, you are certified forever. Blue Chip uses the cheapest form of giving the assessment, which costs about $5 per student. While the initial costs of training, booklets and scoring tools cost a few hundred dollars, they can be reused indefinitely.”

    Critics argue that, from a scientific and psychological perspective, the MBTI is a flawed measurement that can tell us little of value. But these critics fail to recognize the reasons that so many find the MBTI to be helpful.

    The Myers-Briggs test isn’t about discovering whether a student is an extrovert or an introvert, as though those two things were mutually-exclusive, polar opposites. It’s about helping a student engage in self-reflection and rank their skill sets.

    “I have found that when the MBTI is not facilitated by a certified professional, they tend to use MBTI to put people in boxes and make judgments,” Neil said. “I have worked with many people that have previously taken the MBTI and felt their letters did not match them, and after a session with me, understood more. The MBTI assessment is a very complex personality tool that, when used correctly, can be very eye opening.”

    We already know college is not strictly about academics or obtaining a degree. If it were, most students wouldn’t even bother adding extracurricular activities to their already busy schedules. The purpose of campus organizations is to develop social and occupational skills that can be applied to future endeavors.

    If students are incapable of applying their knowledge productively, then does it even matter what they know? We attend college so we can be prepared for the “real world,” but there are some things that can’t fit on a resume.

    Surely Blue Chip isn’t the only program that could benefit from its students having a solid understanding of themselves. The self-knowledge — of one’s types of intelligence, interpersonal skills and motivation — that comes with a proper MBTI assessment is well worth the cost, and campus programs should consider introducing it in the future.

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    Emilee Hoopes is a molecular & cellular biology sophomore. Follow her on Twitter.

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