by Ian de Stain

What is your business style? A big picture man or a process detailed woman? Team player or prefer to go-it-alone? Is money a motivator or does achieving results turn you on more? Do you dream of reaching CEO status or are you happy in support of those who already have it?

It surprises me how often I talk to people who can’t answer these questions; indeed they’ve rarely thought of them. It’s understandable, perhaps, in a new graduate looking for an entry level job, but much less so when it comes to someone mid-career who is forced by circumstances to look for a new position. And desirable in neither case. Knowing the answers to these and other similar questions can be the difference between feeling trapped in a thankless job and liberated by a fulfilling career. Why? Because your personality traits—the real you—govern the way you operate and if you are in a situation that is incompatible with these essentials, there is a strong chance that you will not feel comfortable and therefore not be at your best. Think, if you are right handed, of trying to write with your left hand and vice-versa. That kind of unease can result when a person is in a job situation that is fundamentally incompatible with their personality.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can help you identify the ways of thinking and acting that work best for you, according to preferences. Based on Jungian theory, the questionnaire that is used identifies four different dichotomies that result in 16 possible psychological types. The questionnaire is not judgmental and it doesn’t attempt to tell you what jobs you should and shouldn’t do. Instead, it identifies the areas in which you are most likely to be comfortable (and therefore most productive). Literally, It defines what ‘type’ you are. While it is possible to find MBTI tests on the web, it is by far better to use a licensed practitioner to help steer you through the process of completing the questionnaire and then interpreting the results. Anne Good of Eureka! explains that an experienced practitioner can save a good deal of heartache; “Sometimes the results of a questionnaire can appear to be ambiguous to someone who doesn’t understand the typology. A licensed practitioner can talk you through the details of the findings and discuss with you what they mean and how you can put what you’ve learned to work.” Anne has several years of experience working with companies and individuals in the UK and in Japan. For more information you can contact her at [email protected]. Please quote the Weekender as your point of reference.

Ian de Stains, OBE is the Executive Director of the British Chamber of
Commerce in Japan. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of
Arbitrators and Convenor of its Japan Chapter.