We have all been exposed to the Jacob Goldsmith Theory. It is the one that describes and explains two contrasting personality types that was probably mentioned in Psychology or Health class at some point during your education. The study itself has been deemed obsolete since it was originally published, but personality types are still prevalent in our lives.
In school it was pretty obvious who the “Type A” students were. They were, what I called, THAT kid. They always raised their hands and volunteered to lead projects. They were in a million extra curricular programs and seemed like they were always taking on another task. They were Reese Witherspoon in the movie “Election.”
According to the theory, though, everyone else was a Type B. I don’t agree with this part, and neither did several scientists. I can clearly see the different personality types in my every day life, and I think that if Mr. Goldsmith had expanded his theory to include them we might have a more legitimate scientific standing. I also think that if he had expanded his research even further to include interactions between the types that his theory might still be relevent today.
A Type A personality is characterized as: ambitious, aggressive, controlling, time-conscious and tightly wound.
I am all of those things while I am at work. Once I leave work, though, most of them disappear and I don’t resemble a Type A at all. Outside of work I am lazy and laid back, while still usually being controlling. I would be a Type B+.
Since this original study there is now a new personality typing tool. Today most companies use the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. This one is a lot more in depth and explains the potential interactions. It is often used during orientations so employers can get a feel for how their employees will work together.
MBTI is based on 4 different elements: Attitudes, Perception, Judgement and Lifestyle.
Each one has 2 opposite potential outcomes when taking the test.
- Attitude: Introvert or Extrovert
- Perception: Sensing or Intuition
- Judgement: Thinking or Feeling
- Lifestyle: Judgement or Perception
Between all of these potential outcomes, there are 16 personality types. I took the test in college when I was running the orientations for new hires at my school. I am an ENTJ: extrovert, intuition, thinking, judgement.
I started looking into all this because hiring is my responsibility at work. We have had a lot of turnaround in my company which has not been helpful to anyone. I can see how the different personality types interact and can also see which types can handle the job. The ISFP cannot handle the job I need to fill. If I knew that before we hired them it would save a lot of time and effort on everyone’s part.
The MBTI can also be of use to Post Grads who don’t have to hire people. Did you know that the super long quizzes given on dating sites are personality tests? They try to match you with a compatible personality. It would also come in handy when applying to jobs. If you can tell that your potential boss has a personality type that you can’t stand it may help in your decision to work there.
Understanding the way people around you think makes it easier to interact with them. In theory, this can reduce stress levels, which is mostly what I am hoping for.
Do you know your personality type?