1. Web-based Type Technology: What is its role?

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    Is a web-based type instrument enough? Are they accurate? Will web-based technology substitute for working with a professional coach? There are an abundance of personality type ‘tests’ and descriptions on the internet. They are very easy to construct. It is not so easy to be sure they are accurate. Some of these have well-researched foundations like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) ® instrument and others are just constructed by enthusiastic, but naive type without the depth of knowledge to know if what they are describing is accurate. And some fall in between these extremes. In my many years of experience, helping people find their best fit type takes more than an instrument. The purpose of my post here is to outline some criteria that you can use when you explore all of these type resources on the internet. Instrument Accuracy: What is the best-fit accuracy rate (sometimes reported as error rate)? Most of those on the web don’t report accuracy data and if fact many don’t report any data at all. If they do, you have to dig for it. The MBTI® manual cites a range from 58% to 85% agreement with self-estimates of type. (page 197 in the Third...
  2. Leadership Starts with Self-Leadership

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    In my early morning reflections, I thought about the experiences I want to provide participants in the upcoming workshop, Mastering the CORE of Self-Leadership that is also part of our Berens CORE Facilitation Training. Self-Leadership requires self-awareness and type lenses help give us this self-awareness. But then what do you do with it? That is where the CORE practices come in. Centering: Once you have the awareness of how you are naturally inclined to respond in situations and you get off track when your core needs and drives are not being met, you can engage in some centering practices to help you tap into your inner strength and get out of the stress trap. Opening: Once you are centered, then you can be open to new ways to engage your strengths. Then you can also open to the contribution of others and make space for them. It takes practice as well as some fundamental shifts internally to be able to do that. These are some of what I want to provide to our learners. Relating: We express the constant core of our personality in the context of relationships. For effective relationships we have to learn to step outside our unconscious...
  3. Why Personality Type Instruments Don’t Work…

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    The MBTI® instrument has come under lots of criticism recently in the popular press. For those of us who have trained people to use this instrument and have found it useful, this can be painful. We realize that the criticism often comes from wanting the instrument to do things it isn’t designed to do. And usually it is a result of not following best practices such as the ones Jane Kise has described very thoroughly in a recent blog. I’ve been teaching people to use Psychological Type, Temperament and other models of individual differences since 1976 and conducted MBTI® Certification Programs for 17 years. At first we just took the instrument results as the indication of one’s type pattern. Then we learned that this often wasn’t as accurate as we thought it was. This inaccuracy is in part the basis for many of the critiques. The critics say they take the ‘test’ one time and it comes out different another time. The MBTI® Manual contains data that indicates that the agreement with instrument results ranges from about 60% -80% of the people agreeing with all four preferences ‘measured’ by the instrument. This really isn’t bad since as the Manual points...
  4. More Leading Edges—Article and Events

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    A few months ago I wrote about the Leading Edges of Type. I’m happy to say that the article, The Leading Edge of Type, I referenced has been very well received so in case you missed it, I want to let you know about it again. Someone kindly told me about about an error in a table so that has been corrected. Somehow, I had transposed the extraverted Intuiting and introverted Sensing phrases on page 16. Editing seems to be an endless task and I was so happy to have someone let me know about this mistake. This got me to look at this article again and really appreciate the fine thinking of all those thought leaders that came before me. This is especially poignant for me since I seem to be missing David Keirsey these days and am wondering if he really got to know how many people he impacted so profoundly. I also want to let you know about the Integral Leadership in Action (ILIA) conference. I will be presenting at this conference next week and they recently changed it from an in-person event to a teleconference event, which means that you can easily attend AND the price...
  5. Thank you Dr. David West Keirsey

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    A brilliant mind and a caring soul is no longer with us in body, but his legacy will live on in the many lives he touched in his 91 years, not only through his books, but through his many students and the lives we touch. I first met David in 1969 when I was searching for the office of the Master’s Program in Counseling to turn in my application. My recalled image was of him sitting at a table typing on a typewriter, with no other furniture in the room. He gruffly answered my question and went back to typing. I was nearly in tears wondering what I was getting myself into. In truth, I got myself into an amazing learning journey that continues today. And I later discovered that he was really much more accessible as a professor and later as a mentor than I would ever have dreamed. I’m not sure why I remember him all alone in the room with no other furniture. Was it really true? It may have been, but the image seems symbolic to me of his singular existence as a voice in the wilderness of the very confounded and confused world of psychology...
  6. Best of Two Worlds—Just the Beginning

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    July was a busy month and one in which I immersed myself in two of my favorite worlds—The Association for Psychological Type International biennial conference and the Integral Theory Conference, also a biennial event. These two worlds have some things in common. Both address the concepts of types and valuing individual differences and in both the participants are passionate and dedicated to making the world a better place. Yet, no one from one context showed up at the others’ conferences. In a series of blog posts I will share some of my experiences and insights from both of these worlds, hoping to bring the benefits of both worlds to you all. In September, I will be presenting at the Integral Leadership in Action conference so will share insights from that experience as well. For now, here are my perspectives on the theories and the organizations that are at the leading edge of these worlds. I hope you are moved to get involved in both of them. Psychological Type Psychological type had it origins in the 1920s with great thinkers like Carl Jung, Ernst Kretschmer, Eduard Spränger, William Marston and more. Most people will reference Carl Jung, but it was a...
  7. Perspective Taking—Opening the Doors

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    In 1984 I was madly reading books as part of the literature search for my dissertation. My dissertation advisor, David Keirsey, had made a link between the four temperament patterns he has observed and four of Eduard Spränger’s value types, so I needed to know more. I read Spränger’s Types of Men, written in the 1920s. In it, he described 6 different value types—Aesthetic, Theoretic, Economic, Religious, Social, and Political. I was intrigued by an example Spränger used of describing a book through the perspectives of these six types. Once I learned about the four value types that related to Keirsey’s four temperament patterns, I found I could listen for the perspectives that people were coming from much more quickly than I could if I just tried to identify their type or the temperament based on other descriptions. At that point in my life, I wasn’t really aware of the value of perspective taking, but this experience got me started on a journey of seeking to understand people in a way I hadn’t before even though it started out as just in the interest of identifying their temperaments. I started listening for their perspectives rather than just to identify their...
  8. Leading Edges of Type

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    Yes, you read that right! I said ‘edges’ not edge. So much is emerging right now that we have to say leading edges, not edge. In the last few years, we have seen some major shifts in the world of personality type. From an increase in the number of typology instruments available, to increased criticism of the MBTI® instrument confusing the theory and unethical practices with the brand and the instrument itself, to a focus on the Cognitive Processes instead of the letters of the type code, to the emergence of the Interaction Styles lens and more. What is now on the leading edge? Groundbreaking research in neuroscience, looking at type development in relationship to ego development, a deeper look at culture, and an integral approach to type though the Berens CORE™ Approach and Integral Type. So how are we to keep up? Here are few suggestions. Start by reading my recently updated article, The Leading Edge of Psychological Type, to put all of these changes in context. The roots of type are deep and much older and broader than the MBTI® instrument alone. In the article you can get a brief overview of the rich history behind type as...
  9. “Worry About Yourself” How Directing can you get?!

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    Out of the mouth of babes came a wonderful example of Directing language and probably the In-Charge Interaction Style! This 47 second video showed up in the Huffington Post and the Today Show.  I was turned on to it today on Facebook by colleague Vicky Jo Varner whose comment was that this kind of Directing language was innate. I was fascinated by the comments posted in the Huffington Post and on the facebook link. Some people thought she was being rude and that the father shouldn’t encourage her. Others thought it was great that she was expressing her independence and that she would be strong. Some predicted she would be a handful when she grows up. Here is what I posted on the Huffington Post site as a comment: It is very, very cute and she is so polite even though direct and forceful in asserting her independence. This is not just about learned behavior. Yes, she probably heard the phrase before, but longitudinal research with children has shown that temperament* differences are there from the beginning. Her intonation and direct communication style is likely natural. It can serve her well in the future and it can get also her...
  10. Types, Typologies, and Polarities

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    I’m gathering my thoughts for a formal paper on a meta theory of type that is due May 15 that I’ll be presenting at the Integral Theory Conference July 19 in San Francisco. So I thought I’d share some of these with you. What is a type? A type is often thought of as a classification according to a group of similar characteristics. However, there is another meaning to type that is deeper down in the definitions on dictionary.com: “the general form, plan, or design distinguishing a particular group” When I look at personality type, I am referring to the pattern or form of a group, not a random cluster of characteristics. I would say that a type in this sense is an organizing system. There is an energy field that self-organizes around a core of some kind. I think of it as an unconscious operating system, with a core driver of the system and ‘talents’ that maintain the system. What is a polarity? One definition, again from dictionary.com, describes a polarity as “the state of having or expressing two directly opposite tendencies”. In other words, the two tendencies are there and energy flows between the two. There is a...