16 Personalities Test

The 16 Personalities Test is an analytical framework for understanding human behavior adapted from the enduring Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

“Personality,” though a common word, is a fairly complex concept. It’s actually been a subject of debate for centuries! Personality has evolved into multi-dimensional frameworks with concrete applications and assessment measures. The 16 Personalities Test is one such measure.

Let’s explore the 16 Personalities Test in more detail, including how it can be used in work environments.

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What Is The 16 Personality Test?

What is the 16 Personality Test? The 16 Personalities Test grew from the theoretical work of psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Jung drew from his extensive clinical experience to identify two overarching “attitudes”– Introversion (I) and Extroversion (E). Jung further categorizes these domains into four dynamic core functions or processes:

  • Sensory (S) vs Intuition (I) – which refers to the ways we gather information from the world around us
  • Thinking (T) vs Feeling (F) – which addresses the ways in which we make decisions.

In the 1940s, Myers-Briggs began adapting these categories to include an additional classification specific to our actions and interactions with others. These include:

  • Judging (J) – which refers to a tendency toward firm decision making and a need for structure
  • Perceiving (P) – which entails more comfort with flexible and open approaches to problem-solving.

The 16 personalities Test was adapted from this work, adding another layer of jargon to the personality types to help further apply its benefits to the work environment.

16 Personality Test Types

The 16 personality types identify one’s personality preferences based on the combined, dynamic interplay between the four core factors. This results in the designation of one of 16 possible Personality Types, such as ISTJ (Introverted, Sensory, Thinking, Judging). These four-letter designations have then been coded into narrative form, resurrecting the concept of psychological archetypes.

For example, 16 Personalities (Neris Analytics) identifies four overarching archetypes – the Analysts, the Diplomats, the Sentinels, and the Explorers. Each of these are further divided into four subcategories that exist along a spectrum rather than as a series of dichotomies.

The first category is that of the Analysts. These Intuitive (N) and Thinking (T) personality types are known for their rationality and include the Architect (INTJ), the Logician (INTP), the Commander (ENTJ-A), and the Debater (ENTP).

The Diplomats are Intuitive (N) and Feeling (F) personality types, characterized by their “empathy… and passionate idealism.” These types encompass the figure of the Advocate (INFJ), the Mediator (INFP), the Protagonist (ENFJ), and the “charismatic” leader, the Campaigner (ENFP).

The Sentinels are Observant (S) and Judging (J) personality types who tend toward “practicality and focus on order, security, and stability.” They are subcategorized as the Logistician (ISTJ), the Defender (ISFJ), the Executive (ESTJ), and the Consul (ESFJ).

The final category, the Explorers, are said to be Observant (S) and Perceptive (P), given to “spontaneity, ingenuity, and flexibility.” Here we have the Virtuoso (ISTP), the Adventurer (ISFP), the Entrepreneur (ESTP), and the Entertainer (ESFP).

How Accurate Is The 16 Personality Test?

How accurate is the 16 Personality Test? Most experts agree: use the tool for self-reflection, not as an absolute indicator of your personality type. The test was designed to be used based on preferences, similar to most personality tests. While it can be a helpful tool for self-discovery – both personally and professionally – its limitations should be considered.

The true measure of the test’s accuracy is whether companies and people actually find the test results useful. Do they reflect the test takers’ intuitions about themselves? Does it give a shared framework for people to better work with another? If yes, then it’s probably useful. And with 88 of the Fortune 100 companies choosing to invest in personality testing services, many people clearly find it a valuable resource.

What Work Culture Is The 16 Personality Test Suited For?

As an established, world-renowned test, the 16 Personalities Test is a reasonable fit for most work cultures. Given how long it has been around, it may be a better fit for larger organizations with a mix of younger and older employees. Organizations should consider contrasting the 16 Personalities Test with another test like the Enneagram Personality Test. The Enneagram is more popular with young people, and may be a better fit for a work culture with more young employees (example: most startups).


The 16 Personalities Test, is today employed to deliver not only a more authentic personal life, but a more rewarding professional life. An understanding of the 16 Personality Types can help address interpersonal dynamics that occur inside organizations and work cultures. Many believe that effective use of the 16 Personalities Test can reduce costly conflict at work and harness individual proclivities to encourage productivity and innovation.

Is it accurate? Only in as much as the results reflect the test takers’ intuition about themselves, and as a tool for self-reflection and self-discovery. It’s not perfect by any means, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a helpful tool for your organization!


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Filed Under: Consulting skills, Corporate Training