Why the Meyer-Briggs Type Indicator Got It Wrong

Q – On my CORE MAP I show up as a Commander/Entertainer and the Commander influence is a very strong. My facilitator tells me I am a “double extrovert” since both Commander and Entertainer are extroverted styles. I feel fully aligned with the description of Commander/Entertainer and have no doubt that is my true style. Yet every Myers-Briggs (MBTI) assessment I have ever taken says I am an introvert. How is that possible?

A –The description of an extrovert on the MBTI assessment and even on the Big 5, which is highly prized among psychologists and researchers, leads one to believe that extroversion and sociability are one and the same. This is erroneous. Sociability is just one aspect of extroversion. The true definition of extroversion is “the act, state, or habit of being predominantly concerned with and obtaining gratification from what is outside the self” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Even this definition doesn’t provide the whole picture, but please notice that there is nothing in this definition that indicates sociability.

Extroversion and Introversion refer to how we approach life. Introverts approach life cautiously. Extroverts approach life boldly.

Commanders and Entertainers, being extroverts, both approach life boldly, but they do it in different ways. There are two ways to extrovert energy: action and interaction.

Entertainers are feeling types who love people and new experiences so their style of extroversion is interaction, which includes sociability, but also includes interacting with life (I. E; being playful and adventurous)

Commanders are thinking types; they extrovert their energy through action. Their focus is on getting things done and, unless their Commander style is strongly influenced by a secondary Entertainer style, they tend to avoid social situations. Commanders like to feel in control of their surroundings and social situations are unpredictable. Put a Commander in a business setting however, and they are just as bold in dealing with people as are Entertainers, but they are focused on getting something done, not on being sociable.

Assessments, such as the MBTI and most of the others out there, which focus primarily on sociability when testing for extroversion, fail to include the action aspect, which is why those who lead with Commander, as you do, frequently inadvertently skew the results.

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