Personalities for the 21st Century

This is not the first time a recent study has highlighted the different personality types we find in a modern office environment.

Dr Judith Orloff from UCLA has identified the various divisive characters that so many of us have to encounter in the office jungle on a daily basis, with tips on how to best deal with their behaviour.

Intelligent life forms live in groups and part of the reason (beyond the issues of support, survival and emotional fulfilment) we find the behaviour of others so fascinating is because it gives us social context, helping us understand, reason and reconcile our own place in the collective hierarchy.

Progressive businesses understand the value in acknowledging the different personality types that they employ, matching the right people to the right roles and ensuring there is balance amongst the workforce. Getting this right leads to happier and more fulfilled employees who are likely to be more productive and better for the business.

But are the models progressive businesses use reductive?

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most widely used method to measure personality in the workplace with over 2.5 million people taking the test annually and 89 of the Fortune 100 companies using the 93-question assessment tool. This method has served many businesses very well for over 70 years, however at BW we are challenging its suitability for the modern world in a White Paper due to be released in March 2016.

We know that personnel and facilities are the top expenses for most companies and they need to complement each other. But as technological innovation transforms our workspaces, hours, and practices at an unprecedented rate of change, the dynamic between people and place is becoming increasingly complex. Myers-Briggs that was developed in 1942 does not factor in this evolution.

As the relationship between individuals, organisations, and workspaces is being redefined, it is critical to consider how we can unlock greater potential for different personality types going forward. BW is proposing a new Enneagram with compelling potential for workplace application. Literally meaning ‘nine types’, it is a typology approach to personality, presenting nine core types or patterns of behaviour and thinking.

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