When I’m not wrangling with my kiddos and spouting my opinions on my blog I work as a Human Resources Manager. At work we use personality profiling to look at team dynamics. The technique that we use is called the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) this identifies your dominant personality traits and shows what your preferred way of behaving is.
We recently had a team development day at work using the MBTI tool. The aim (along with drinking tea and eating cake) was to understand each other as colleagues and look at ways that we can work together more effectively.
This session really got me itching to profile my family, I was intrigued to see if I could see if I could get an extra insight into what makes my loved ones tick. So as slightly random as it sounds I’ve personality profiled my daughter Sofia (aged 7.5).
How does MBTI work?
The tool was developed from the work of psychologist Carl Jung. It is widely used in work places and in self development.
The method looks at 4 personality traits:
• Introversion – Extraversion (How you derive your energy – not whether you are fun at parties!)
• Sensing – Intuition (How you gather your information)
• Feeling – Thinking (How you make your decisions)
• Judging – Perceiving (How you organise yourself and approach tasks)
Your personality type is made up of 4 different traits. None of the traits are inherently positive or negative – they all work on a continuum. It is all about understanding what is your most natural way of being.
If you want to take a free test and understand more about the different personality types I really like this website, 16 Personalities. It has some really in depth information about the strengths and weakness of the different personality types. Including ideas of how your personality style influences your parenting style, romantic life and choice of job.
What’s my personality profile?
My personality type is INFP (Introvert, Intuition, Feeling and Perceiving).
In a nutshell INFP are optomistic, idealistic and look for the best in events and people. We search for ways to make things better and are not motivated by reward and punishment. We are good communicators and have strong creative written skills. We hate conflict and can be a bit impractical.
Profiling my daughter
Sofia heard me talking about MBTI with my husband and asked if she could also take the test. I wonder if she thought it was like those cheesy quizzes that you get in kids magazines that tell you what superhero you are most like. I had a look online and found a free version of the personality question that had been adapted for children age 7-12. It is available here.
Some of the questions had quite grown up language so I had to explain them in a simple way so that Sofia could understand them. For some of the questions I could easily predict what answer Sofia would give but there was a few responses where she surprised me. There are 44 questions in total so it took us quite a lot of time to work though them.
Sofia’s personality type
The results are completely fascinating – Sofia came out as an Introverted Thinking Child which completely rings true. In this way we are quite similar. I can see that Sofia is a very similar to a 7 year old version of me (but with way better dress sense!).
Here are some highlights of a thinking introverted personality type:
• Logical and objective
• Original and value uniqueness
• Highly independent, and don’t like being told what to do
• They’re very observant
• Curious and interested in learning new things, quick to learn but get bored easily
• They want to be good at things that interest them but are not interested in impressing other people
Some people are quite critical of applying personality profiling children. Children’s characters are still developing and it could be limiting to put them in a rigid category. However I think that anything that helps you understand your children better is helpful. I will obviously continue to see Sofia as her own perfect unique self.
You might be thinking why on earth would you personality profile your child in such detail. Doing this personality test has definitely given me some practical ideas that I can apply to the way I parent.
Giving meaningful praise
Sofia’s results suggested that generic praise is meaningless to children with this personality type – they need specific and detailed information on what they have done well. This is not something that I have really thought about before and this is something that I can work on.
Approach to learning
I can see how she is really naturally curious but I can also see that she gets bored easily. I have noticed when doing a homework task that she is not particularly interested in Sofia works much better in short bursts than when she does it is a long session. I learnt that it is better to give Sofia a goal to work for and let her figure out how she wants to get there (okay I will stop over helping with home work). It has also got me thinking of ways to appeal to Sofia’s love of learning.
Sofia’s personality type places a high value on fairness. There is a need for rules to be consistently applied and enforced. This explains why Sofia gets so annoyed when I give her brothers more leeway than her. I have tried to explain that because they are much younger my expectations of them are different but this really winds Sofia up. Now I can see why it obviously contravenes her sense of fairness.
Next up I’m dying to apply the MBTI to my husband……………he is currently asleep on the sofa so that will have to wait for another day.