Personality tests are very important while carrying out a self-evaluation of one’s character, or when evaluating the character of other people. It is a critical tool that is used by managers and leaders to identify the best person that performs a particular task. This paper gives insight into the meaning of a personality test and why it is important. It has further discussed two personality assessment models: Keirsey temperament sorter and Myers-Briggs type indicator. Both tools are used in assessing an individual’s personality based on the kind of personality been tested. Also, the paper gives insight into the situational and Vroom leadership models to indicate how leaders and managers run organizations. A comparative analysis of both personality assessment models and leadership models is explained. Therefore, this paper has focused on helping the reader understand what is entailed in a personality test, and the different prevailing managerial styles.
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Workplace violence has been on the rise over the past years. According to evidence from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “2005 census revealed that out of every five workers, one died as a result of assault or self-inflicted injuries in California” (Hart & Sheldon, 2002). Also, 87 people were reported dead in California as a result of violent acts in the workplace during the same year. This was an escalated figure compared with that of 2004 where 52 people had died as a result of the same in the same year and the same locality, as reported by the U. S. Bureau of Labor statistics. These incidences lead to the question of whether personality assessment tests can in some way, help to prevent such unpleasant incidences in the workplace (Hart & Sheldon, 2002).
A personality test is essential because it describes certain aspects of a person’s character which are persistent throughout life. Different personality tests were heralded in the 20th century alongside the emergence of the field of psychology. The different personality tests are dependent on the kind of an individual’s characteristics being assessed. The earliest model of personality was designed by Hippocrates, a Greek philosopher/physician. Numerous items that make up the personality test are used and respondents rate how feasible a particular item is about themselves. Projective tests are useful in assessing personality and consist of tests such as TAT and Ink Blots. Scoring of the tests is of equal importance and in doing so, dimensional (normative) or typological (ipsative) approaches are used (Kinder & Robertson, 1994).
Personality tests are administered because of three main reasons. To start with, employers can identify individuals who pose the least financial risk to their companies hence, consider them for hire (Hart & Sheldon, 2007). Secondly, through personality tests, managers and leaders can identify the best mechanisms through which decision-making skills can be improved while taking into consideration the fact that there is limited time among executives. Also, personality tests give insight into people’s characters hence, are a better predictor and determinant of team-building strategies. Lastly, they help to minimize measurable escalating violence in the workplace via improved screening.
There is a high probability of an organization hiring liars, loose cannons, and bullies who cannot work with others as a team when a personality assessment model is not used. Even though employers are not expected to discriminate against the disabled, they are still careful not to have violent people as part of the workforce. People with a mental disability may be violent at times and no matter how much employers are not supposed to discriminate against those with disabilities, they are afraid of hiring violent people. Unfortunately, it is difficult to pin-point potentially violent business partners while using a corporate test. It is a liability for a company to hire an unpredictable troubled worker who despite their lovely outward charm may turn violent at any moment and cause great damage within the company.
Companies are aiming at reducing risks associated with hiring people who are a menace to the achievement and success of the company. Also, companies want to create a safe environment for every one of their staff. Therefore, there is a need to watch out for people who could tarnish and damage the good name of a company. Personality tests are the way to go as they help to detect such kinds of people early enough thus; managers and leaders can avoid them. However, it is worth noting that there is a difference between a trouble maker and a handicapped person. A handicapped person who is capable of undertaking the task at hand should not be put off due to her/his condition.
The stealth of using personality tests is to detect the ‘lying’ ability of a person. Most of these companies entrust so much responsibility and at times responsibilities that involve transactions of large amounts of money to their staff. If staff is capable of lying, then such a person is a core factor to the company. Employing such a person is taking a huge risk yet, companies are interested in cutting down risks and increasing assurance with their staff. Employers require a system that does not have blemish so that the running of their organizations and companies is smooth to achieve the intended impact and set objectives. Employers engage in frequent reviewing, screening, and training of their employees at various levels as stipulated by the company’s/organization’s time-tested laws. This is important to maintain flawlessness within a company and enhance performance by taking up the necessary action needed to develop the employees where necessary.
Personality tests help managers and leaders to screen out individuals who show the potentiality of being “disruptive, angry, dishonest, or violent, without the knowledge of those taking the personality test” (Hart & Sheldon, 2007). The use of personality tests with ‘built-in lie alarms’ helps companies to withdraw attention from bullies but instead focus more on trying to select individuals with self-insight and honesty. Employers are interested in individuals with the capability of solving conflicts in amicable styles. Employees who harass or intimidate their fellow employees result in escalated insurance premiums and such action is a huge expense for the company, yet it can be avoided. Companies are interested in cost-effectiveness thus, when an employee seems to inhibit a company from achieving this, then the performance of the company is affected and this causes soreness to the company. The use of personality tests helps to avoid hiring such people that can impede a company’s /organization’s ability to enjoy great profits.
Personality tests are indeed valuable tests used to assess an individual before hiring. A personality test is complex and intends to go beyond the simple profile of an individual to the further extent of understanding the underlying needs of the individual. This is of great importance concerning conflict resolution, team building, employee development, and succession planning as managers and leaders can tell who fits where best. Personality tests are used by employers as a moral way of identifying suitable traits in an individual that enables him or her to act soberly. They are the backbone in human resource management because they tend to emphasize morals, self-insight, job interest preferences, confidence, emotional maturity, empathy, traits, and universal values that apply to everyone since they hold for every person (Hart & Sheldon, 2007). Scoring a particular way leads to the creation of a ‘buzz appeal’ or ‘charisma’ as long as the score is commensurate with the character of a company’s leaders and/founders. They aim at measuring responsibility, commitment, and reliability, and empathy and maturity are assessed using emotional quotient tests (Borowka, 2009).
Results of extensive research that involved more than 13,000 executive participants at 120 companies revealed that companies that attracted and retained the most talented individuals increased their profits by 22% when compared with their industry peers. The use of personality tests clearly shows that these tests are very sensitive in selecting the ideal people for a particular job or task as it improves hiring decisions. Personality tests have gained momentum in both the private and public sectors but it is worth noting that there is a need to ensure that the functioning of this tool is maintained (Kroeger, Thuesen & Rutledge, 2002).
Ten important ways are the functions of personality tests in the workplace. One, they help employers get the actual picture during an assessment, mainly an interview. Personality tests enable employers to discover a great deal about the “employee’s ability to team with others as a team, their thinking ability, problem-solving ability and ability to tolerate stress” (Borowka, 2009). This tool helps employers to make objective decisions about the individuals to determine the best person for the job and the team. If a certain individual is to be hired, the personality tests help the manager to have some clue of who the person hired is hence, reducing the learning curve for the manager as he/she is aware of how to amicably handle the individual.
Personality tests have been found to help individuals reach their full potential by enhancing their strongholds and improving on their weaknesses. The nature of measurement should be objective as this is the only amicable way of obtaining both the weak and strong points of a person. As a manager or leader, this knowledge helps one to classify the employees/individuals, and plan how to help them improve on their weak areas so that they can maximize their potential (Montgomery, 2002).
Personality testing is a casual tool that creates a casual ground for employees and managers to interact freely. In so doing, it helps the managers and leaders to instill skills necessary for future managers as they will need such skills when trying to get the best out of a team. It, therefore, becomes a critical tool for the managers to create a relaxing atmosphere that will help to make individuals relaxed hence portray their best of the best. An assessment like an interview can make a person feel nervous, the personality testing tool helps managers and leaders to counteract this effect hence gain control of the assessment session while creating a very relaxing atmosphere (Borowka, 2009).
The personality testing tool has enabled managers to manage difficult individuals. An objective personality test helps managers and leaders to detect potential conflict in the workplace hence take up the necessary preventative measures. Some people continuously enjoy engaging in conflict with other people and as such this can turn out to hurt the overall achievement of a company or organization where such individuals are. An objective personality test therefore will help diagnose such persons and carry out the required measure.
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The personality test has been effective in building positive relations within an organization. A workplace consists of people of different characters and one may have a very hard time trying to work with the other workers because they may be very hostile or lacking empathy. As result managers and leaders should apply the personal test tool in establishing good rapport among the employees (Paul, 2004).
The workload in a company does not allow time to interact and know all the workers in the workplace. Personality assessments have proved to be effective tools for creating respect and understating among the working force. Managers therefore should not let go of the personality tests as they are a basis for team building exercises, which are good grounds for creating good relationships and a peaceful working environment. Also, this will enable the workforce to be empathetic towards one another and subsequently treat each other in a supportive way (Thompson, 2008).
Personality tests help managers to understand their followers or employees better hence can cater to their needs in a better way. This kind of action helps managers to become better managers as well as know how best to address the people. Personality tests help managers to learn their employees’ personality traits therefore, they can delegate authority, motivate the employees, and communicate change in the most suitable way to suit the needs of the employees. This way, the working environment is suitable for all and this enhances performance and achievement among the employees and within the entire organization/company at large (Noe, 2008).
A personal assessment test is an essential tool for managers and leaders when it comes to picking good teams. A manager will know the kind of people to place in a certain team based on the work to be done. Therefore, via personal assessment, a manager/leader can select team members as desired. Effective managers and leaders will use personality assessment tests to help in the decision-making process about the potential of individuals to be employed. The use of the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) to screen individuals in a particular retail company, resulted in a reduction in turnover by 50% while, in another insurance company productivity rose to as high as 48%. Also, the HPI helped to reduce lost time accidents among hospital workers by 20%. In another scenario, a bank experienced an increase in financial sales by $308,000.00 every year, per sales representative. A highly renowned telecommunications company adopted the use of the HPI to employ technical support personnel and by so doing, the company selected competent individuals who met the profile standards and received twice as high ratings for customer focus and twice as high ratings for overall performance. On the other hand, 38% of the incumbents whose profile was not by the HPI profile left the company (Russell, 2006).
Smart managers and leaders know that they should be always prepared for any fluctuation that may result in the companies and fields of expertise that they manage. As a result, they are swift in identifying forces that have an impact on their professions; trends that result from such forces, how the transition should be affected by the state of the future, and what path should be followed in achieving what the future promises. Globalization is one such force that results in intense competition hence companies and organizations are forced to utilize their human resources more effectively so that they can compete in the world of business. As a result of this, people are becoming the competitive edge according to Robinson & Robinson (1998) as organizations seek to look into avenues through which the potential of the organization’s workforce would be unleashed. Technological changes have also influenced the skill requirements of the workforce. In the modern world, technology has given rise to sophisticated equipment and complicated work processes, which require more competent workers hence the essence of personality tests.
Keirsey Temperament Sorter II (KTS II)
The KTS was designed to help people get more insight into their selves, and others by using the self-assessed personality questionnaire designed by Keirsey. David Keirsey used the ancient works of Hippocrates and Plato as a basis for his works. Keirsey, just like Plato, used the names “artisan (iconic, rational (dianoetic), idealist (noetic) and guardian (plastic)” (Keirsey. 1998). Keirsey further sub-divided each of the four temperaments into two groups (roles), where each role had two role variants. The result was the 16 types of personality, which have been equally described by both Briggs and Myers.
- Artisans are keen observes and, are pragmatic as well. They seek to stimulate and have excellent skills. They are very much interested in bringing about impact using their greatest strength, which is tactics. They are excellent “troubleshooters, full of agility and have the ability to manipulate tools, equipment and instruments” (Keirsey, 1995). Artisans have two roles:
- Operators, who are the directive artisans and are very intelligent in as far as expediting processes are concerned. The two role variants are the crafters and the promoters. The promoters unlike the attentive crafters are expressive.
Crafters are significantly related to ISTP Myers-Briggs type. They use their great tactics, concrete speech, and their utility-based actions to perform their roles. They are seen as reserved and directive in social events and, they are experts and masters while using various types of tools. Even though they are introverts, they have a strong position and authority while interacting and influencing other people. Their goal is to efficiently and skillfully accomplish their tasks and this is enabled by the fact that they require a certain degree of isolation for practice. Their level of virtuosity is unachievable by any other kind of temperament.
Promoters on the other hand, despite their tactfulness, concrete speech, and engagement in constructive actions aimed at bringing about a certain utility, are directive and expressive. They are very good at maneuvering other people to get to the position they desire and mainly do so by having links with those in influential positions. They are great resource persons as they have a way of spotting where fun and action are. They enjoy engaging in finer things in life and tagging other people along. They sell their selves and their ideas to people and with their dramatic and debonair character; they have the capability of earning the confidence of the people.
- Entertainers are the second group of artisans and are informative. They are adept in intellectual skills about improvisation. Entertainers are further sub-grouped into composers and promoters, which are the two role variants. The composers are very attentive while the promoters are very good at expressing their views and opinions.
Composers can detect any slight change in their environment due to their extremely sensitive nature to the environment (Keirsey, 1995). Their actions are governed by the perceptions of their five senses since they highly regard them compared with any other type of sense. They can tell what fits and what does not fit in any aspect that revolves around them. Even though they are very conscious of the people around them, they prefer to get direction from other people concerning leading their own lives. They can modify their emotions to suit the situation at hand and are sympathetic to other people.
Performers enjoy having more fun than any other kind of temperament. They have a great ability to make people happy with their artistry and humor. They are always engaging in stimulatory activities with those around them and their natural character of attracting people’s attention makes it impossible for them to be alone, something they dislike. They keep themselves updated with the current trends and information. They are easily drawn into actions and activities from where they derive sensory pleasure without factoring in possible repercussions. They put their all on the current moment of which they are sure of and as a result, they easily get swayed by temptation than any other type of temperament. Whenever they are at fault, they are ready to accept their mistake. They are highly optimistic and take utmost pleasure in the current moment leaving the future to take care of itself.
- Guardians are keen observers just like the artisans but are more cooperative and they are the best people as far as teamwork is concerned. They are very responsible and very dutiful. The greatest quality is logistics hence are excellent facilitators, organizers, supporters, and detectors. They are excellent in organizing events and can carefully plan them out to avoid rude and unpleasant surprises. The two roles under this level are:
- Administrators, who are the directive guardians, are very proficient in regulating activities/events. Inspectors (attentive) and supervisors (attentive) are the two role variants under the administrative temperament (Keirsey, 1995).
Inspectors are careful and thoroughly keep watch of the people and institutions under their care. They are very responsible and highly dependent to preserve social and family values. They engage in decision-making processes concerning practical affairs. They are strict in ensuring that the quality and desired standards of conduct are maintained while performing their duties, that is, carefully and thoroughly keeping a close eye on the people and institutions under their care. Inspectors are quiet and very serious people who honor any word they give. Unfortunately, they mostly go unnoticed because they simply do their duties without seeking to attract the attention of other people.
Even though inspectors do not seek leadership roles, they are the perfect candidates for such roles, and mainly they somehow find their way in these positions. Without their knowing it, inspectors build a reputation marked by consistency, stability, and reliability in performance hence inspiring other people to elect them for leadership roles. Supervisors on the other hand are outgoing, ensure that organization’s operations run smoothly and they show other people what they are as they do not pretend. Supervisors ensure that rules and regulations are strictly adhered to and they have a great tendency of rising to leadership positions and aim at ensuring that the values of the groups that they are part of are closely observed.
- Conservators are informative and supporting is their main intellectual operation. There are the “attentive conservators, referred to as protectors and the expressive providers, as the two role variants” (Keirsey, 1995).
Protectors perceive pleasure in protecting other people and offering assistance to the downtrodden or those with disabilities. People with such a temperament enjoy working in workplaces that seek to provide and ensure the safety of other people such as in insurance companies and hospitals. Protectors are adept in undertaking routines hence; they are the ideal candidates for handling jobs where conservation skills are required like in the police force. Among all the other role variants, protectors are the least hedonistic and they are thorough with their work and strongly values work ethics. They prefer working alone and avoid leadership roles as they often tend to do everything themselves. They love stability and greatly uphold family values and cultural norms (Keirsey, 1998).
Providers are very sociable, highly co-operative, and are the ideal persons in leading ceremonies, ensuring teamwork, and chairing social events. They have a good memory of guests’ names in a social event. They are very friendly and gregarious hence, such people make excellent sales representatives and service providers. They are very mindful of what other people think about them and love to be appreciated for who they are. They are the most sympathetic of all role variants.
- Idealists are introspective and like the guardians, they are co-operative. Idealists seek to understand themselves better in that, they aim to gain personal growth and enhance their own unique identity. They are exceptional diplomats and individualizing, inspiring, clarifying, and unifying are their main excelling areas (Keirsey, 1995). Their two roles are:
- Directive idealists, who are mentors. They are experts in enhancing personal development through being attentive to the needs of individuals where they act as counselors or, by expressing their positive views as teachers.
Counselors derive satisfaction by helping individuals reach their full potential. They are complex individuals as they tend to hide their innermost thoughts and emotional reactions, and as a result, it is difficult to know them Counselors are good listeners and can decipher the emotions of other people even before the individual is aware of them. They do not like publicity since they like working in solitude and situations requiring too much interaction, they require time to reflect and re-energize.
Teachers encourage those around them so that they can strive to excel and succeed, and will offer the necessary assistance for achieving this success. They are very well organized and will always honor a commitment. Teachers are mainly interested in personal growth and they can understand themselves better. They use their intuition to gain insight into what others are going through in terms of emotions. They are good at establishing rapport with other people irrespective of their characteristics, beliefs, and emotions. They have excellent communication skills, can become charismatic public speakers and mainly, are requested to take up leadership roles (Keirsey, 1998).
- Informative idealists are the advocates and they are great mediators. They have varied roles either as healers or champions. Healers, compared with the expressive champions, are attentive.
Healers are interested in selflessly finding remedies to causes that interest them. They are concerned with the problems of other people and attempt to resolve conflicts that bring about division among people and social groups. Healers are sensitive to what is right and wrong, and they possess an idealistic view of the world in general. They are very much committed to positive/good things and do all that is in their power to achieve what they deem suitable. Since healers have a higher tendency of making factual errors, they act based on their feelings as they are less likely to make errors. They set very high standards, therefore; it may be difficult working with others as a team.
Champions are the most inspiring and animated of the temperaments and they are interested in making their thoughts known in the world. They use their speech or writing to motivate others to engage in advocacy or let others know about a certain truth. Champions are unique and consider the world as a drama; they have a strong desire of experiencing significant social events. People tend to be attracted to them due to their unique personal qualities; they can spot interesting characters.
- Rationales are characterized by introspection and pragmatism. They use their greatest strength, which is a strategy to seek mastery and self-control. They are independent in the sense that they rely on their knowledge and competence and are not easily influenced by others. They are great performers and achievers about a logical investigation like “conceptualizing, coordinating, engineering and theorizing” (Keirsey, 1995). They have two roles:
- They are coordinators (directive rationales) with arranging as their greatest intelligence operation. The masterminds and the field marshals are the two role variants.
Masterminds are “innovative, ready to embrace new ideas, new evidence, and changing situations” (Keirsey, 1995). They are exceptionally good at brainstorming various approaches to fit particular situations. Even though being a leader is not their top priority, they inevitably step forward when they are very sure that the leadership role at hand fits them perfectly well. They are interested in enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization’s operations. They have a great interest in solving complex situations by applying organized and already decided upon solutions.
Field marshals focus on concrete and realistic situations. They are expressive and possess great directive skills about actions. They are talented in “contingency planning, which adds on to their ability to decide, coordinate, and carries out a strategy” (Keirsey, 1995). They are born engineers and engage in simplification of a concept by breaking it into basic parts that are subsequently subjected to scrutiny and later put together to develop the final and concrete information. They often seek opinions from architects or inventors so that they can make the concept better irrespective of their surety. Their devotion to what they do makes them excellent administrators and even though they do not actively seek leadership roles, they prefer taking charge of power/leadership in areas where it has failed, before a suitable candidate is identified (Keirsey, 1998).
- Engineers are informative and their greatest ability is to construct. Architects and inventors are the two role variants that fall under this category.
Architects are interested in structuring, building, or configuring things. They come up with theoretical systems and new technologies by rearranging the environment. Architects are precise in words and giving reason, and are very argumentative. They engage in analyzing the world in-depth and are informative rather than directive. They are considered to be arrogant because they consider themselves to be among the few people who have what it takes to define the ends that must be achieved by society and will not stop at anything until this is accomplished.
Inventors are reluctant to replicate things that existed in the past. They are entrepreneurs who aim at improving products and are always looking for new projects to work on. They are so full of ideas that they rarely require a blueprint when beginning a project; they are sure that effective and realistic solutions will be devised along the way. They are more informative as opposed to being directors and have a way of using their debating skills to defeat their opponents. However, this may not push through for those seeking a cooperative rather than a combative relationship like in the case between idealists and rationales. They are not afraid of challenging situations (Keirsey, 1998).
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
The Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) was developed to measure the psychological preferences on the fundamental basis of people’s perceptions about the world and their ability to make decisions using is a psychometric questionnaire (Myers & Myers, 1995). Extrapolation of the preferences was carried out basing on the typological theories developed by Carl Gustav Jung. The most basic concept of the MBTI is the theory of psychological types as initially proposed by Jung. The MBTI differentiates the psychological preferences through the use of four dichotomies that result in 16 psychological types. The four dichotomies are as follows (Myers & Myers, 1995):
- Extraversion (E) – Introversion (I)
- Sensing (S) – Intuition (N)
- Thinking (T) – Feeling (F)
- Judgment (J) – Perception (P)
The main point to note is that the terms used in the dichotomy indicated above have a special meaning that is not compatible with everyday usage. The dichotomy is used to indicate people’s preference over another. A person may have a high score of extraversion compared with introversion, but this does not necessarily mean that the person is extraverted. It simply shows the person’s preference over another.
Individuals’ preferences for either extraversion or introversion are otherwise considered as attitudes. Individuals who have a higher preference for extraversion gain their energy from the action and as their inactivity levels go down, their motivation dwindles. Extraverted people re-energize by interacting and meeting people. On the other hand, people who prefer introversion use energy by engaging in activity since they have a higher preference for reflection than action. Introverted people require some time on their own away from the activity so that they can regain their energy. Extraverts “direct their attention outwards towards people and objects while introverts focus on concepts and ideas” (Myers & Myers, 1995; Wagner & Weigand, 2005).
It is important to understand some of the contrasting characteristics that prevail between extroverts and introverts. Extraverts are more interested in action while the introverts’’ main focus is thoughts. Extraverts are interested in quantity/breadth of knowledge and influence while on the other hand, introverts seek to get depth /quality of knowledge and influence (Myers & Myers, 1995). Extraverts enjoy interacting with as many people as possible while introverts have limits to interaction and will only associate with just enough people based on their perception of enough. Extraverts become reactivated through interacting with people while introverts are rejuvenated by spending time on their own.
Sensing vs. intuition and thinking vs. feeling were identified by Jung as the two pairs of psychological functions. “Sensing and intuition are perceiving/ information-gathering functions while thinking and feeling are the judging/decision-making functions” (Myers & Myers, 1995). Based on the Myers-Briggs typology model, each individual makes use of either one of the functions more dominantly and proficiently when compared with the other three. Nonetheless, all the functions are utilized at different times depending on the prevailing situation at the moment.
Sensing and intuition functions play a very important role in describing the comprehension and interpretation of new information. People with a higher preference for sensing put more trust in “present, tangible and concrete information because this information can be comprehended by the five senses” (Myers & Myers, 1995). They rely on factual details and disregard hunches, which do not have a basis. On the other hand, individuals with a higher preference for intuition acknowledge abstract or theoretical information, which can be linked to some other related information obtained through seeking a broad context, or memory. Their interest is in possibilities that may occur in the future, and they rely on what comes from the unconscious mind (Myers & Myers, 1995).
Thinking and feeling play a very important function when one needs to make rational decisions based on data obtained from the perceiving functions. Individuals with a higher preference for thinking make decisions without any form of attachment to either of the variables at hand, but instead make decisions based on cause, consistency, logic, reason, and referring to a particular set of laws. Individuals who prefer feeling make decisions by empathizing and having an attachment with the variables/situation at hand. Their decision-making is based on internalizing a situation and weighing it to obtain, on an impartial level, the highest level of togetherness, consensus, and fit, while factoring in the needs of the people affected by the situation.
It is important to note that those who prefer thinking are not better decision-makers than their feeling counterparts. The MBTI does not measure ability; rather it is interested in measuring preference. Myers and Briggs argue that even though individuals make use of all four cognitive functions, only one is dominant/ conscious and confident when compared with the rest. The second/auxiliary function supports confident and conscious function. The third or tertiary function also supports the main/dominant/conscious and confident function nut to a lesser extent, and the fourth function is opposite of the main function hence, it is an inferior function referred to as ‘the shadow’ by Myers. All four cognitive functions work closely with the attitudes because each function is utilized in an introverted or extraverted way.
In addition to Jung’s typological model, Myers and Briggs came up with another function based on the fact that individuals may be more inclined to using either the perceiving or judging function when interacting with the outside world. The judgment (J) or perception (P) function plays a key role in determining one’s behavior about the outside world hence, also known as the lifestyle function. According to Myers and Briggs, people with a preference for judgment reveal their judging function (thinking or feeling) to the world (Myers & Myers, 1995). In this sense, TJ is considered logical while FJ is empathetic. Myers indicates that people with a higher preference for the judging function prefer that ‘matters are settled down.’ On another note, people with a higher preference for perception reveal to the world their perceiving function (sensing or intuition). Therefore, those with SP appear as realistic while those who possess NP are based on mere imagination or theoretical concepts. People with a higher preference for perception like to ‘ensure that decisions stay open.’
Two or more preferences interact with one another to form what is called ‘type dynamics’ (Pearman & Albritton, 1996). Unfortunately, the type dynamics have not gained substantial or empirical evidence that can support its qualification to be deemed a scientific theory. Nonetheless, Myers and Briggs have emphasized the existence of the 16 four preferences as indicated in the diagram below:
|The 16 types|
The different functions follow a sequence of differentiation throughout life and this is known as type development, which can be disrupted by major events of life. The overall lifestyle preference (J/P) determines the extraverted function. The attitude preference is the determining factor for the dominant and auxiliary functions. For individuals who have a general preference for extraversion, then the extraverted attitude will be the dominant function. ESTJ for example is characterized by the dominant function of judging, “which is achieved through thinking and with an extraverted experience” (Myers & Myers, 1995). This is designated as a dominant Te. ESFP on the other hand has the perceiving function being dominant, achieved through sensing, and Se is used to notate that (Myers & Myers, 1995; Pearman & Albritton, 1996).
The “auxiliary function/secondary preference for the extraverted attitude is introverted attitude hence; the secondary preference for ESTJ is introverted sensing and introverted thinking for ESTP” (Myers & Myers, 19915). The converse is the case with introverted attitude, where the extroverted attitude becomes the auxiliary function. The tertiary is the opposite preference to the auxiliary, while the inferior function is the opposite preference from the dominant. There is a great comparison between extroverts and introverts since the dominant function of extroverts is about the outside world while for the introverts it is related to the internal world.
Hersey-Blanchard situational Leadership Model
This model was developed by Blanchard and Hersey in the late 1960s and is based on the argument that the leadership model utilized is dependent on the situation at hand. This means that one should adequately understand a situation and analyze plausible outcomes before deciding on the leadership style to employ. There are four types of leadership styles that a leader can select from, and these are (Hersey & Blanchard, 1988):
Hersey asserts that situational leadership is a result of the interaction of various factors which include:
- The direction is given by the leader in the form of task behavior
- Socio-emotional support provided by the leader (relationship behavior)
- The ability of a follower to readily carry out a specific task, activity, function, or objective that a leader is interested in achieving via the individual or group (Hersey & Blanchard, 1988).
Leaders engage in task behavior via one-way communication channels through which directives are given to the follower (s) on “what to do, when to do it, where to do it, and how the tasks are to be executed” (Hersey & Blanchard, 1988). The leader engages in two-way communication with the team and offers socio-emotional support, facilitates behaviors and psychological strokes to achieve relationship behavior. Readiness is related to self-supervision.
Referring to the four types of leadership styles, telling/directing is based on a high task-low relationship where the leader directs the followers to the task and is characterized by one-way communication. In the selling/coaching style, the leader’s behavior is defined by a high task-high relationship since the leader proves most of the directions through two-way communication. Socio-emotional support is provided to psychologically encourage the followers to adhere to the already made decisions (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2007).
The participating/supporting leadership style is characterized by a high relationship-low task behavior between the leader and the follower (s). The follower (s) has been empowered with the necessary knowledge required to make most of the decisions regarding the task and there is a high degree of trust and interaction between the leader and follower (s) (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2007). The delegating style is characterized by the low relationship-low task behavior of the leader. The leader here has little to do with the task since the follower (s) has the ability and other related characteristics that foster the readiness of the follower (s) to take full responsibility for the task. As a result, the leader’s interaction with the follower (s), and participation in the task is limited.
Vroom Leadership Model
Victor Vroom alongside Arthur Jago came up with a leadership model that focused on the role of leadership in decision-making situations. Later on, Vroom revised the model to:
- Place emphasis on the ranges that tend to prevail in situational variables
- Second the leadership model by Hersey and Blanchard
- Emphasize the time-driven dimension concerning decision-making
The leadership styles entailed in the Vroom model include
Autocratic/decide the style
Under this style, the leader solely makes decisions, which are to be followed by the team/follower(s). The leader may use the information that he/she already possesses, and this is designated as autocratic 1. Alternatively, he/she gathers relevant information on a particular task that he/she intends to be addressed and uses it to make a decision.
This style holds that a leader may present a problem to his/her team members but later makes the decision regarding this problem alone. The decision made may or may not be a reflection of the ideas and influences of the team members. Here, the team members do not come together to discuss the problem. This style is referred to as consultative 1. Alternatively, the problem is presented to the team members, who come together as a group and give suggestions regarding the problem. However, the leader is left to make the final decision, which may or may not reflect the suggestions of the team. This consultative style is known as consultative 2.
The style dictates that a leader plays a facilitative role. He/she presents the problem to the group and defines the boundaries that should be maintained while addressing the problem. The main evident characteristic under this still is agreement and consensus. Under this style, the views of the leader are not considered to be of greater importance than of any other person in the team. Also, the leader does not influence the team to adapt his/her idea but instead chairs the discussion so that the agenda of the meeting is maintained. The leader takes and implements what has been agreed upon in the discussion.
The team is granted the liberty to make decisions within prescribed limits. The team members identify and diagnose a problem. They later devise mechanisms through which the problem can be addressed and settles on the most feasible one. The leader here is not part of the team’s deliberative processes but his/her support is felt through encouragement and provision of required resources. This style is a representation of the empowerment of the team members (Vroom & Sternberg, 2002; Hicks, 2011).
Validity and Reality
Validity infers to the ability of an instrument to measure what it is designed to measure. Several studies that have been carried out to measure the extent of validity about MBTI indicate that “there has been a comparison between MBTI and other types of personality assessment model based on divergent validity, test-retest validity, convergent validity, internal consistency and construct validity” (Myers & Myers, 1995). According to the National Academy of Sciences in 1991, it was found out that only the I-E scale was constructively valid about the MBTI (Capraro & Capraro, 2002).
Organizations, managers, and leaders use a practical and validated version of the Myers-Briggs personality model for assessing individuals about leadership (introverted thinking), team building (extraverts), career development, candidate assessment, and psychographics. Unfortunately, the Myers-Briggs indicator is not justified for use in some career set-ups like in a counseling program. The ethical guidelines of MBTI assessment assert that the MBTI does not classify individuals based on their actual degrees of competence, excellence, or natural ability; instead, their focus is that which is preferred but does not define the actual competence or capability of a person. This is in comparison with Keirsey’s model because it indicates and defines the competencies of people based on the different temperaments (Keirsey 1995; Carskadon & Cook, 1982).
Criticism and Controversy
According to Keirsey in his book, ‘Please Understand Me’, the correspondence given is as follows:
- Dionysian/Artisan temperament = -S-P types
- Epimethean/Guardian temperament = -S-J types
- Promethean/Rational temperament = -NT- types
- Apollonian/Idealist temperament = -NF- types
However, Jung’s the founder of psychological types makes a different correspondence as compared with that created by Keirsey. Referring to Jung’s association of the temperament and types concerning his book, “Psychological types” in 1971, his association was as follows:
- Dionysian temperament = E— types
- Epimethean temperament = E— types
- Promethean temperament = I— types
- Apollonian temperament = I— types
According to Jung, there was not a clear distinction between, the Dionysian and epimethean, and between Promethean and apollonian based on his function theory that was later developed into the current Myers-Briggs personality type model. Same words and labels have been used about the MBTI and Keirsey’s temperament model but, Jung says that a different mapping should have been adopted. The misunderstanding between Keirsey’s model and MBTI is based on the use of ‘SP’ to mean artisan/Dionysian whereas the two notions are different. Whereas the SP in MBTI refers to the sensing cognitive function about the outside world (extraverted orientation), Keirsey’s artisan temperament is related to the great tactical ability to work with tools, instruments, and equipment. Therefore, controversy is created when the same term is used in both types of models yet it contains different meanings (Keirsey, 1995; Myers & Myers, 1995).
Effectiveness of Personality Assessments as a tool
Keirsey’s model of temperament places emphasis on people’s core needs about freedom, usefulness, competency, or becoming. On the other hand, the Myers-Briggs model was developed based on cognitive functions. Keirsey’s personality model describes observed people’s behavior in the long-term while the Myers-Briggs model helps managers and leaders to describe what people have in mind. Myers and Briggs used a linear four-factor model while categorizing the invariant patterns of behavior an individual’s behavioral patterns that prevail throughout life (Myers & Myers, 1995). Keirsey’s personality model on the other hand makes use of a “systems field theory model while characterizing the behavioral patterns” (Keirsey, 1995).
The Myers-Briggs personality model does not explicitly describe the aspects of temperament and character as compared with Keirsey’s model. The issues of intelligence and madness have not been effectively described while using the Myers-Briggs model. While looking at Myers-Briggs and Keirsey’s personality models based on the workplace, Keirsey’s personality model gives more details about a person’s intelligence and abilities. Keirsey’s personality model unlike the Myers-Briggs adequately addresses the issues surrounding intelligence and madness, and how they are linked to temperament.
In describing the notions of personality, Keirsey carries out an in-depth, systematic analysis and produces notions of personality for temperament. These notions include “orientation, self-image, temperament’s unique interests, values, and social roles” (Keirsey, 1995). On the other hand, Myers simplified extrapolation of Jung’s work involves four scales (E/I, N/S, T/P, P/J) and by way of example, introverts are a general notion of group behavior where there is INTJ, ISFJ. INTP, ISTP. Keirsey argues that the motion of temperament and personality entails much more than this (Keirsey 1995; Myers & Myers, 1995).
The MBTI is very useful in helping individuals understand themselves better. It gives an accurate picture of how individuals perceive the world. This understanding of oneself and what he/she prefers best enables individuals to select the ideal place of work where they would fit best. The MBTI places emphasis on the differences that exist between normal people. On the other hand, the Keirsey temperament model is ideally applicable when selecting the best candidate for a certain job. Unfortunately, the MBTI does not include the complex nature of individuals since it does not go beyond the four scales of personality as indicated in the indicator. It centrally focuses on the mid perceives things around it.
Comparison of Leadership Models
Hersey-Blanchard leadership model implies that one becomes an effective leader if he/she can assess and evaluate a situation before implementing a leadership style. This is important so that the leadership style employed is in correspondence with the situation at hand. This model is easy to comprehend and implement. It helps leaders to realize that different leadership styles can only be applied in certain situations and not in others. It points out the need for leaders to factor in the followers and their ability to perform the task at hand before adopting a leadership style. Unlike the Vroom leadership model, which is based on decision-making, the Hersey-Blanchard leadership model focuses on the assignment of tasks based on the readiness of the followers.
Under this leadership model, unlike the Vroom model, skills and expertise are not necessary because an inexperienced follower can perform equally well as an experienced follower when given the proper directives and supervision. This model also requires the leader to keep on monitoring the followers to determine the best leadership style to use based on the followers’ readiness. Under this model, flexibility is of high essence because of the varying and changing situations. For example, as a leader assists the followers to attain higher levels of readiness, the leadership style evolves as well. This leadership model requires that leaders can assess a situation and decide on the best leadership style to use (Vroom & Sternberg, 2002).
Just like everything else, the Vroom model is associated with some limitations. To start with, subordinates or team-members feel frustrated when decisions affecting their well-being are made without their consent. As a result, the team members/subordinates are not committed to implementing the decision made. Secondly, the styles are discriminative in that not everyone can adopt the style of his/her preference as a leader. For example in a situation where conflict is imminent, the situation can only be addressed by leaders who are skilled in communication and conflict resolution concerning the participative decision-making leadership model. Also, the leadership styles are based on the assumption that decision-making is a single process, yet this is not always the case. This is because; addressing a problem entails a series of activities/processes which cannot be accomplished by a single process/meeting. Appendix 1 shows a set of seven questions that one ought to ask themselves to determine the most appropriate style to adopt. The Vroom leadership model helps to make high-quality and timely decisions if the right style is used for the right situation.
Interpretation of personality test scores is done through the use of norm-referenced or criterion-referenced interpretations. The norm-referenced interpretation entails the comparison of an individual’s test scores with the statistical representation of a population; while the criterion-referenced interpretation entails the use of a standard criterion against which an individual’s test scores are evaluated. The latter does not use the performance of other individuals in interpreting the scores. The test results are very important to managers and leaders as they understand individuals better as well as identify those areas where training is necessary. If conducting an interview or trying to find the best person for a particular job, the test results help the managers and leaders to select the person best fit to carry out a specific task.
A manager must select the most suitable managerial style to use based on the prevailing circumstance. Even though the correct use of leadership styles plays a great role in ensuring effective leadership, the personality traits of individual leaders are of equal importance. Leaders and managers should be intelligent, mature, and with a breadth of interests, goal-oriented, and full of integrity. The situational leadership model should be employed by the readiness ability of the followers. On the other hand, the Vroom leadership model is used depending on the situation at hand.
Personality tests are very critical because they determine the kind of people to be integrated into an organization. Managers and leaders are on the lookout for trouble makers and those people who will be a liability to the running of an organization. This will be enhanced by the use of personality tests. For example, if an organization is looking for a teacher, a personality test, and in particular, the KTS would help managers to select the ideal candidate. The personality test helps managers and leaders to know the abilities of their team members or staff hence are better informed on how they can mentor the employees/team members to become better achievers. The personality tests help managers and leaders to identify the best persons who can participate in group activities. Therefore, it is easy to build teams and groups using personality tests since the managers and leaders can learn the competencies of the people through the tests. Finally but not least, the personality tests help to select individuals for hire during interviews.
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