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Get Yourself Profiled

forstmeier profile image John Forstmeier ・2 min read

I think it's really important to have a healthy self-understanding. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, not just in technical arenas, but in psychological/sociological aspects, can be immensely beneficial.

For example, understanding the things that:

  • drive you actions
  • impact your outlook
  • influence your decision framework

Now, I'm no psychologist, but the Myers-Briggs test has been a good gauge for me and there's a great site called 16personalities that provides free evaluations. It's incredibly accurate - or at least for me it was - and it has been super helpful in introspection; basically, it put into words a lot of what I'd thought about and understood of myself previously.

I was profiled as an INFJ, "the Advocate", which means a couple things:

  • I'm highly driven by my personal philosophies and that I look for projects that work towards realizing those ideals
  • I enjoy identifying and working on core problems that address the issue, not the symptoms, and building long-lasting solutions
  • Working with teams of equals in a collaborative environment where ideas are shared, challenged, improved, and implemented is stimulating and rewarding
  • I'm introverted with extroverted tendencies and sometimes need to seal myself away to recharge and think

Having this helps me know what I want to be working on, how I want to be work on it, and who I want to be working on it with.

Overall, I feel like it's really important for other devs to get a more concrete image of their personalities to understand how they best fit into their jobs and their workplaces. I'd love to hear what your types are!

Discussion

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Jesus Perez

My first degree was a B.A. in Psychology, and the textbook we used for the "Personality Psychology" course was very critical of the M-B (this was back in 2013). It said that the M-B Type Indicator had low reliability and validity, which is why psychologists don't use it when they conduct and publish research in the field of personality. Instead, they use the Five Factor Model (aka the big five personality traits), which is a more reliable and accurate measure of personality.

There is an fascinating psychological phenomena called the Barnum effect (aka the Forer effect) which says that people tend to rate vague statements as being accurate descriptors of their personality. I think this might be the reason people like the MBTI, but who knows.

Like somebody else commented, I agree with your premise, but...

Still, if the MBTI is what gets you introspecting and thinking about your strengths and weaknesses, then that's awesome! The more we learn about ourselves, the more we can cope with unforeseen challenges.

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John Forstmeier Author

Very cool! Do you have any particular approach for self-evaluation/introspection given your background in the field of psychology?

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Jesus Perez

I don't, but I do listen to two psychology podcasts: The Hidden Brain and Invisibilia. The episodes usually make me reflect on my own thoughts and behaviors, sometimes in ways I hadn't considered before. They're pretty interesting.

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Nick Shoup

I just took this test and it really does explain a lot. I am an INTP-T, a logician. I have been accused of being insensitive as well as thoughtless (day dreamer). I am usually pretty introverted, until I get to know someone. I love problem solving and finding creative solutions, but have difficulty with reading people. Lol, programmer.

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John Forstmeier Author

Certainly a common trait! But this profile is also interesting to me for this bit here in the description:

...people with the INTP personality type tend to share thoughts that are not fully developed, using others as a sounding board for ideas and theories in a debate against themselves...

That strikes me as an attribute that looks for ways to build something interesting while working with others; as long as the INTP takes care to remain somewhat interactive, it could be the basis for a really strong team member dynamic.

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Nick Shoup

Yes, this is something too. I often times come off as half-baked. I find that the more I know a person, the more comfortable I am with sharing ideas, no matter how rough.

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Yury

last time I tried MBTI ~7 years ago I couldn't get consistent results except for N part. had ENTP, ENFJ, INTJ and INTP in different tests over a year. since it wouldn't make any sense to replace me by a different person 3 times, I prefer astrology. at least my zodiac sign doesn't change depending on time of day and season of year

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Dian Fay

Same -- I've rated INTJ, INFP, and I think ENFP once.

I do think it's interesting to interrogate the fundamental assertion behind the MBTI and similar tools: that people possess a complete, consistent, and quantifiable internal state. Most of the psychological and psychographic literature I've read takes this for granted, and in fairness it's difficult to make headway otherwise, especially in the latter field. But the atomic "I" can also be conceived as a label of convenience that hides the complexity of a unique and ever-changing assemblage, as in some strains of post-structuralist thought. Tools which take self for self, or rigorously systematize constituent parts à la Freud or Jung, can only badly and inconsistently approximate a portion of what that "I" represents at one point in time -- even if the "I" is the one using them, because the "introspection" on offer requires that you first see yourself from the outside!

The real trick of the MBTI et al is that they actually borrow from the horoscope-writers when it comes time to tell you what the letters mean. Their explanations are extremely general and framed positively in all cases, which makes it easy to want them to apply to you. Of course I put a lot of stock in my intuition and ability to contextualize and discern patterns! But if you switched the N out for the S without telling me, I'd be primed to think about my attention to detail and getting fundamentals in place before getting fancy.

Tarot as a tool for introspection, now....

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Jaaki

Oh cool, I did this the other day and it was rather interesting.

It confirmed and also clarified some thoughts I had about how I perceive and interact with my surroundings.

It took me a while to get more clarity on my type. Sometimes I identify as INTP, but more often I identify as ENTP.

Introversion vs extroversion is a matter of whether I perceive the situation to be beneficial to me, perhaps. I think I'll do a bit more digging.

Also had to comment first because I'm an Aries :D

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John Forstmeier Author

I've worked with people who fall into ENTP and in the description this is the part that stood out to me the most:

...ENTPs enjoy the mental exercise found in questioning the prevailing mode of thought, making them irreplaceable in reworking existing systems or shaking things up and pushing them in clever new directions...

Definitely the trait I've observed and it's led to some very interesting, sometimes impractical, solutions to unique problems.

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Jaaki

Let's just say I'm not afraid to approach things from interesting angles :D

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Fred Ross

Someone else already mentioned the "Big Five" that are more generally used in actual psychology today. I have found that StrengthsFinder and its simplified successors StandOut are very useful frameworks to begin the conversation in a team about how its various members think.

The scales like MBTI, Enneagram, Hermann Miller Brain Dominance Index, and the like all come from someone 1) taking a psychological model, 2) deciding on what a few people should be in that model, 3) making up a bunch of questions and seeing which ones correspond to their assignments, and 4) giving the test again later and throwing out the questions that aren't stable. MBTI is based on Jungian archetypes. Enneagram is sort of based on a pattern popularized by a character named Gurdjieff. Miller's Brain Dominance Index is...let's say that Hermann Miller read a couple of pop science articles about brain hemispheres and took it from there.

Some of these can be useful tools. Thre are still skilled therapists that work with Jungian archetypes as one their tools, and some of them use an MBTI evaluation as part of that process. Likewise Enneagram. But these are more focuses for a huge amount of practical ability and knowledge than they are things that are treated as standing on their own.

And I appear to have migrated from INTJ to just on the cusp between INTJ and INFJ.

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John Forstmeier Author

Very thorough breakdown. Is there a good approach to introducing this to a team setting? Either as a supervisor or a subordinate?

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Fred Ross

TMBC (The Marcus Buckingham Company) would love to take your money and help you introduce StandOut to your workplace. :)

I think the approach has to depend on the workplace and how training has been approached. Is this a place where people keep their mouths shut and roll their eyes? Where training is sitting in a beige room while someone drones at you for half a day? If so, you're going to have a hard time getting buy in for any additional training. If the company already has a healthy training culture, then it's largely figuring out how stuff gets put on the docket and then doing so.

I have observed that in engineering teams, there is a tendency to use a classification to pigeonhole people. At Splunk, the Hermann Miller Brain Dominance Index become almost a culty thing among a subset of engineering in their San Francisco office: "Oh, he's a green. He won't do that well. Give it to him. He's a blue." If you can prepare the idea that this is a ritual for structured communication and not a scientific classification among your more senior ICs, they will likely suppress that tendency.

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John Forstmeier Author

This is fantastic. Here there's a push for there to be a training culture but the leadership has yet to really define any strong approach/philosophy. And that's a great point about not treating like an absolute classification of employees.

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Anton Frattaroli

Other than the obvious introspection utility, personality test-like systems can serve well as a communication framework for managers when working with indivudual team members or handling confict resolution. Takes a lot of practice, though.

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Daragh Byrne

I wonder if there is a set of types that’s over represented for devs?

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John Forstmeier Author

That's a really good question; I'd be really interested in seeing what the distribution looks like across the 16 types here.

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Antonio Radovcic

Adventurer! It's correct that I rather wing it than to carefully plan every step. Also the little guy with the guitar seems accurate. I wonder how many statements of other types would sound correct to me, though. Also my answers would change depending on my mood and current situation. Sometimes I'm introverted, sometimes not at all.

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John Forstmeier Author

That seems to fit with this:

Despite all this, ISFPs are definitely Introverts (I), surprising their friends further when they step out of the spotlight to be by themselves to recharge.

I'm sort of the same way - I can go through phases of high interaction but I really need time alone to work or unwind.

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Tim Smith

I am also an INFJ!

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John Forstmeier Author

We're in the 1%! It's the only way I'll be in the 1%.

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Osama Adil

I got a result of INTJ-A. Described my behaviors to the letter, specially the part about planning. This is a great find, thanks!

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John Forstmeier Author

You an Elon Musk apparently!

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Osama Adil

After a thorough search, a lot of villains apparently too, with some greats here and there. There seems to be a balance to it..

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Daragh Byrne

I’m classic ENFP. Myers Briggs is gold.

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John Forstmeier Author

Interesting little snippet right at the top of ENFP:

ENFPs are fiercely independent, and much more than stability and security, they crave creativity and freedom.

Definitely points to that old "move fast and break things" philosophy.

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John Forstmeier Author

That's definitely a valid point. For the M-B test, it doesn't so much understand me as it understands my reactions to an event - that's more of the value I see in this sort of profiling.

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Anton Frattaroli

I did this about 15 years ago and got INTP "The Logician". Did it just now and got INTJ-A "The Architect". Agreed with some, not all. I wouldn't say I'm a cold parent :-P

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John Forstmeier Author

I can't vouch for your parenting but this snippet on the description page:

At times it will seem that INTJs are bent on deconstructing and rebuilding every idea and system they come into contact with, employing a sense of perfectionism and even morality to this work

Seems to point towards someone who wants to make things as good as they can be - not necessarily acting in a cold manner. That's a really interesting personality type - 0.8% of the population too!

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Alin Andrei

Thanks for sharing!

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John Forstmeier Author

Interesting; what would you propose instead? Like I said, I'm no psychologist so Myers-Briggs is about as much as I know.