What Myers-Briggs "Types" Work in Public Radio?

Dec 17, 2012

Credit Courtesy Psychometric Success

Today's interview on the legacy of Myers-Briggs with Washington Post reporter Lillian Cunningham got me wondering about the personality"types" working right here at NHPR.

Cunningham's article covers the history of the test, from its invention around a kitchen table to its ascendance as a corporate religion—despite no shortage of doubters and a complete lack of published research on its efficacy.

That being said, everyone around the station who's taken the Myers-Briggs seems to be a total believer. So, if you've ever wanted to know whether public radio types were Introverts or Extraverts, Sensors or Intuiters, Thinkers or Feelers, and Judgers or Perceivers...take careful note. As it turns out, this little slice of the media—or at least, this particular member station slice of it—welcomes all kinds to the fold.

ENTP: "The Visionary"

According to personalitypage.com, the ENTP's "primary interest is understanding the world that they live in." ENTP's are also called "idea people," and are able to get others to buy into their enthusiastic vision, but not always the best at executing those ideas on their own.  For Keith Shields, Executive Producer of the Exchange and verified ENTP, one of those ideas might be cleaning up his desk...and we're still waiting to see who steps up for that project.

As an ENTP, Keith Shields doesn't let a messy desk get in the way of his big vision.

Of course, there are loads of websites that analyze Myers-Briggs types in terms of what they mean for relationships, gender roles, even forums where types can gripe about why other types like to interior decorate.

Most fun, though, are the sites which claim to have Myers-Briggs'ed famous people, both real and famous. CelebrityTypes.com says that Keith's got Benjamin Franklin and Barack Obama on his team...but before he gets too excited about his potential as a future monetary portrait subject, he should consider he's also got Sacha Baron Cohen, Jon Stewart, and none other than the best singer in the entire world, Celine Dion.

INTP: "The Thinker"

INTP...yup, that's what it looks like.

According to personalitypage.com, the INTP "lives in a world of theoretical possibilities...seeing everything in terms of how it could be improved, or what it could be turned into." INTP's are also called "absent minded professors, valuing knowledge above all else," even maintenance-type tasks, such as bill paying, or grooming. Hmmm...Word of Mouth intern and resident INTP Ali Kuzmickas is for sure pretty thoughtful...but as for a lack of grooming, well, we'll let her lustrous locks speak for themselves.

According to CelebrityTypes.com, Ali has no shortage of celebs to be proud to associate with, including Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, and Tina Fey. As for fictional characters, Ali's INTP peeps are a little more obscure, like Gil Grissom from CSI, and everyone's favorite 15 year-old alcoholic introvert, Donnie Darko.

This pair of gentle, creative, complex and artistic souls helps us raise funds at NHPR. How lucky are we?

INFJ: "The Protector"

The pair of INFJ's who gave up their shared type both work in the development office here at NHPR. Meet Emily Quirk and Christie Doyle, who boast, according to my sources, caring, gentle, complex, artistic, and creative personalities.

Famous real-life INFJ's include Plato, Thomas Jefferson, and—wait for it—Ron Paul. As for fictional INFJ's? They include Amelie, Luke Skywalker, and Lisa Simpson. Wonder where Bart fits in? Or Flanders for that matter? Or Darth Vader?? (Wait for that one...the answer falls well in the "be careful what you ask" category.)

In an an alternate universe, these guys are so obviously scientists.

INTJ: "The Scientist"

Our very own Taylor Quimby is an INTJ, and so is NHPR's Digital Editor Sara Plourde. If you knew either of them, you wouldn't be too surprised, as the INTJ's are noted for living in "a world of ideas and strategic planning." Sara spends her day keeping our website humming, while simultaneously juggling about seven hundred pieces of content and a gazillion future projects.

For his part, Taylor is all about the idea generation and strategic plan.  If you need proof, just look at the whiteboard hanging about eighteen inches from his face:

Taylor's Big Board of Ideas and Plans.

It should be noted that while INTJ's value competence, knowledge, and intelligence, they do tend to have the same expectation of others. Maybe this is why so many celebrity INTJ's make sense...Isaac Newton, Ayn Rand, Mark Zuckerberg, and yes, "Unibomber" Ted Kaczynski. Lucky for us, Taylor and Sara are far more concerned with their own stuff than anyone else's. (You should have seen how long it took them to decide how to pose for their picture!)

ENTJ: "The Executive"

TAB is awesome, people. Get over it already.

I used to be proud of my type, but then again, I took this test back in my twenties, when being called "career-focused" and a "corporate fitter-inner" sounded more like a compliment than a harbinger of doom. I'll admit to being "decisive" (note the photo, in which I've clearly decided that TAB is awesome), and concede that I have to work at valuing the opinions of others (what do you mean when you say TAB is not awesome??), but the one thing I can't quite swallow are my famous ENTJ counterparts. Sure, I've got Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Carl Sagan...but Napoleon? HITLER? Why would anyone even include Hitler on a list of personality profiles?

But wait, it gets worse. Guess who my fictional counterpart is? Remember that question I warned you about earlier? You guessed it: Darth Vader.


Our interview with Washington Post reporter Lillian Cunningham: