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Whether Myers-Briggs scores are useful

Should a manager in a law department rely on Myers-Briggs descriptions of staff? Objections to the widely-used personality assessment, as stated and rebutted in an article in Talent Mgt., May 2007 at 23, are fourfold. (1) “The tool isn’t scientifically sound,” yet it was revised carefully in 1998. (2) “The instrument stereotypes people” yet it is intended as a description, not a prediction. (3) “There isn’t any such thing as a personality type,” yet the tool is primarily designed to show differences in how people perceive and judge information. (4) “Everybody’s done it, and there isn’t anything new,” yet a skilled analyst can provide useful insights to someone who takes the MBTI.

The article supports Myers-Briggs not for selection of hires but afterwards, for retention, development and succession planning (See my post of April 18, 2005: lawyers’ MBIT scores compared to those of the general population; Aug. 21, 2005: lawyers as introverts; and Oct. 21, 2005: more than amusement at retreats.).

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