In July 2019, we (I and fellow Swiss Re employees) had the privilege to work with 42 Aiducation International Alumni during a 5-Day Corporate Career Academy. The aim of the academy was to prepare the students for the work environment. On the first day, we started with exploring who we really are and why we behave in certain ways. To support this process, we used the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) one of the world-wide most used personality type indicator.
After introducing all students to MBTI and the different preferences we asked them to do a self-assessment based on what they learned. From the very beginning on, the students engaged in this task with great enthusiasm, and curiosity to find out their preferences. The whole session was supported by lively exercises that demonstrated the difference of some of the preferences very clearly. Just as an example: When we looked at the preferences ‘Extrovert’ and ‘Introvert’ and the students split into the respective group of preference (based on their self-assessment), guess what happened ... One group was chatting, giggling and and and ... and the other group was silent, not saying anything at all. How better could we have illustrated the different behaviours of people with the preference ‘Extrovert’ and ‘Introvert’.
After the introduction all students had the opportunity to fill in the MBTI questionnaire to figure out their true MBTI type. The result of the official questionnaire/assessment was in most cases the same or at least almost the same like the self-assessment. It was very good and interesting to see how accurate their self-awareness already was.
As mentioned already, one focus of this session was to explore our personal preferences. Another goal, at least equally important, was to better understand what this means when it comes to the Corporate world. Yes, we all have our preferences, at the same time, we all can also behave and act out of our preferences. Remember the exercise writing with our left hand instead of our right hand. It might feel uncomfortable and we need more concentration, however, we can do it. This is especially important at work when we work with colleagues that might have a different preference than we do. To connect with others and for a good collaboration it’s important that we can also step into our colleagues’ shoes and talk out of their preferences and not just focus on us and our own preferences.
When we asked the students the following day what they remembered about the MBTI session I was so proud of them to see how much they remembered and not just repeated what we shared with them. You could clearly see, that they understood the different preferences by explaining them in their own words and by sharing examples.
Who we are is connected to everything we do and how we behave, therefore the MBTI was a topic throughout the whole week. We also invited the students to get out of their comfort zones during this week by trying out new behaviour. And guess what, it worked! It was wonderful to observe that i.e. students with a strong preference ‘Introvert’ started to contribute more often, what wasn't easy for them at all. At the end of the week I had several students coming to me saying ‘thank you that you helped me to figure out my MBTI type and to understand it’.
For me, this was the most rewarding MBTI session I ever conducted and the whole week was one of the best weeks I ever had in my life. A huge THANK YOU to all students and the coordination team from Aiducation that you let me be part of your life – ASANTE SANA.
Remember, we just started the journey and we can continue it together even if we are not at the same place. Therefore, reach out to me whenever you think some mentoring or coaching can help you on your personal development journey.
I wish you all the best for your future and let’s keep in touch.
Finally, BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE!
If you want to learn more about MBTI check out this website: https://eu.themyersbriggs.com/en/tools/MBTI
Written by Petra Morello Zehnder