The first time I took the Myers Briggs test, I was teaching at the LSU Dental School. My dear mentor, Dr. Diana Gardner, was an Educational Psychologist and she administered the test. When we read the results, she was not surprised, but I was. I had always thought of myself as an extravert. Years of moving around in a military family and a pretty easy-going personality meant I never met a stranger. Is that just a Southern saying? To this day, I am friendly to people I don’t know. Like, I don’t mind talking to someone in the produce aisle, and I enjoy chatting with the server in a restaurant. I have no trouble making friends, so how can I be an introvert? Yet, as soon as I read about the INTJ personality type, it felt right, like coming home to who I really am.
I got interested in Myers Briggs and personality types. I even bought the book Please Understand Me II, (David Keirsey has a very similar test called the Keirsey Temperament Sorter) and it explained so much for me. Our personality preferences are our comfort zone, but they don’t have to limit us. When I was younger, I learned to be outgoing because I needed to be, but I am most happy when I am at home with family or just enjoying a few close friends. It’s ok that I feel a little dread when I have to go to someplace where I don’t know many people. In fact, being an internal processor has helped me to develop one of my greatest joys—writing. Now, I understand and appreciate my introverted tendencies.
Anyway, here’s what the internet has to say about the INTJ:
An Architect (INTJ) is a person with the Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging personality traits. These thoughtful tacticians love perfecting the details of life, applying creativity and rationality to everything they do. Their inner world is often a private, complex one.
When INTJs develop an interest in something, they strive to become as knowledgeable and skilled as they can in that area. They have high expectations, and they hold themselves to the highest possible standards.
INTJs are good at gathering information from the outside world, analyzing it and reaching new insights.People with this personality type tend to be very analytical and logical. They value information, knowledge, and intelligence and make excellent scientists and mathematicians. They tend to do particularly well in fields that require efficiency and the ability to interpret complex information such as engineering, academia, law, and research.
INTJs typically do well in careers that integrate their strong ability to understand and evaluate complex information with their ability to put this knowledge into practice. Careers that allow the INTJ to work independently and autonomously are also ideal.
I think my DISC results really capture the way I see myself at work. I was surprised by how much the results resonated with me. I started with the free test, which described me this way:
You have an inner motivation to gain knowledge and become ‘the expert’. You have the self-discipline to focus and you aim for high standards. You appear to be relaxed and are likely to have plenty to talk about. People see you as knowledgeable, non-threatening and easy to get along with.
Then I was interested enough to buy access to the full test results:
- Dominance: I score high in composed/reserved and low in direct/competitive. I agree with this because I like to compete, but mostly with myself rather than others.
- Influence: I scored low in factual/analytical and high in social/outgoing, which surprised me because I usually test as an introvert. I think this means that I enjoy being outgoing when I am interested in something, but not just for the sake of being social.
- Steadiness: I scored high is impulsive/changeful and low in consistent/thoughtful, which is a little surprising to me because i my score in compliance seemed to be the opposite.
- Compliance: I scored low in independent/uninhibited and high in conventional/reliable. I do see both characteristics (impulsiveness and reliability) in the way I behave; these seem to be opposites, but somehow both feel right to me.
For my DISC profile, I was categorized as The Evaluator saying:
Your prime value to an organization is: Your ability to work with the team and make things happen. Nine times out of ten your plan will work.
I’m not sure if this is true, but I know that I like to formulate plans that other people accept and that succeed. The success of a plan gives me a better feeling than being recognized as the person who created the plan.
I like to think that my personality and preferences will make me a good team member who is flexible and more interested in doing great work than in being “right” all the time. That doesn’t mean I like to be wrong! But I want to change if I am wrong, because I am always interested in getting better, being more effective. I love the marriage of opposites in IDD: creativity and structure. I think this is another reason IDD appeals to me—because I have similar preferences in impulsivity and reliability.