What MBTI takes risks?
Planning Risk, by Personality Type
Our propensity to engage in risky behavior says a lot about who we are. While some may feel that buying a lottery ticket is too big of a gamble, others may bet everything they have without hesitation, even with the odds stacked against them.
The responses to our latest survey made this division clear, when we asked our readers whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement “You tend to take risks without thinking about consequences.” There was a significant gap between each of the trait pairings, implying that while some traits affect our risk-taking behavior more than others, all have some influence.
So which personality types are the biggest risk-takers? Let’s take a look at the chart below:
This is clearly a divisive topic, and we should get a better picture if we step back and look at type roles and strategies as opposed to individual personality types.
Analysts agreed with the statement more than any other role (53.60% agreeing). It’s surprising to think of the logical Analyst as prone to uncalculated risk-taking, as we associate these personality types most readily with scientists toiling in labs and engineers laboring over minutia. But Analysts are strong-willed, independent people – their inquisitive attitude and drive can translate into recklessness when pursuing their goals, or even just a “see what happens” attitude. Though Analysts were the most likely to take risks without full consideration of the consequences, only a small majority agreed. Almost as many Analysts had a more conservative outlook.
Diplomats were also divided on the statement (49.79% agreeing). Their curious, visionary nature may get them into trouble at times – they are no less strong-willed and exploratory than the Analysts – but Diplomats are usually a gentler group, and therefore a little less prone to risky behavior.
A minority of Explorers (36.89%) agreed that they routinely took risks without considering the consequences. As both a Prospecting type (52.77% agreeing) as well as an Observant type (25.19% agreeing), Explorers are pulled in two directions when it comes to risk. Ever watchful for a new opportunity, Explorers are eager to take chances for the right reward. On the other hand, their Observant side may remind them of the hard reality of failure – the safest bets are usually the best bets, even if they aren’t as exciting.
As for the Sentinels, it’s no surprise that only 18.88% agreed that they habitually took risks without thinking of the consequences. Believers in the value of order and stability, these personality types abhor the idea of throwing caution to the wind, and they rarely proceed without a plan.
Among the four strategies, Social Engagement was the one most likely to agree that they were routine risk-takers, and even this strategy was evenly split (50.86% agreeing). Restless Extraverts, followers of the Social Engagement strategy may rush into a risky situation in order to seek an advantage, but this impulse may be equally tempered by a desire not to lose face, should they fail.
Next was the People Mastery strategy (40.56% agreeing), another Extraverted group. The People Mastery strategy is Assertive, as opposed to the Turbulence of Social Engagement that lends itself to a certain degree of exaggerated behavior. Their self-assurance may lead them to think more clearly, and with less urgency, before leaping into potentially disastrous situations.
Close behind, we have the Constant Improvement strategy (36.36% agreeing). As with the Social Engagement strategy, personality types following Constant Improvement are conscious of how they are seen – and eager to not embarrass themselves. As an Introverted strategy, these types carefully consider their own circumstances before taking action, but they run the risk of over-analyzing. Their inward attention to the possibility of failure can overshadow the potential rewards of taking a chance.
Finally, there is the Confident Individualism strategy, a minority of whom agreed that they regularly took risks without regard for consequences (27.75% agreeing). With their strong emphasis on personal responsibility and trust in their own abilities, the Confident Individualism strategy may perceive such risk-taking as simply unnecessary – what rush are these personality types in to prove themselves to anyone?
Life is risky. Whether we are taking a more obvious gamble (betting at a poker table or investing in the stock market, for example) or simply choosing from mutually exclusive courses of action (which major to choose in college, or for that matter, whether to attend college at all), our inability to see the future continually forces us to take on some risk.
How we decide to proceed at these junctures – whether we carefully weigh out the consequences of success and failure or just “go with our gut” – can tell us much about who we are. If we think of risk as looking down a cliffside and deciding whether or not one can survive the leap into the water, then we may see the divergence of ways one can handle risk in action.
For some, failure may be so terrifying as to paralyze them with indecision; they stop at the brink and can go no farther. Others may look down at the water, far below, and make a calculated decision based on the factors at hand – are there rocks, riptides, or sharks to contend with? Are they being pursued by a wild animal, such that diving into the water, as dangerous as it might be, is nevertheless safer than the alternative?
Then there are those who leap from the cliff without ever looking down to see where they might land. While some might find such an action to be foolish, fortune at times favors the bold. So it is that some personality types, who may tend more often to make such thoughtless leaps, whether a result of social pressure or their own discomfort with not knowing which way to go, may sometimes reap the rewards of their impulsivity.
Your Greatest Work Strengths (& Weaknesses) Based on Your Myers-Briggs Type
Personality tests are popular among employers and employees alike, often providing both with valuable insight into how they’ll best work together.
One of the most popular is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which asks a series of questions to determine which of 16 different personality types you are. Eighty-eight percent of Fortune 500 companies have used this test to better understand their employees and new hires.
Myers-Briggs personality types are based on four buckets, which can be “filled” in one of two ways: introversion (I) or extroversion (E); intuition (N) or sensing (S); thinking (T) or feeling (F); and judging (J) or perceiving (P).
Your four-letter type is meant to help you determine your strengths and weaknesses in all aspects of your life, including work. This is how each type plays out in the office.
INTJ: The Architect
INTJs are known as the Architects. These people are strategic, have a lot of self-confidence, and know how to be decisive.
Strengths: INTJs are hard-working and dedicated. They’re also able to pick up new processes and systems quickly. They care deeply about technical excellence in their work tasks, so they’re thorough and accurate.
Weaknesses: INTJs may come off a little too cocky at work. Because they’re so confident about their own decisions, they may also be overly analytical of coworkers, maybe even judgmental.
INTP: The Logician
The INTP personality is the Logician (only 3 percent of the population are Logicians). They’re always questioning and inventing, and are creative and intelligent.
Strengths: INTPs make connections between complex processes and moving parts. They’re not afraid to use their imagination at work, and their objectivity speaks to their logic-based decision-making.
Weaknesses: Logicians can often be withdrawn and quiet, especially in social settings. Because they’re so driven by logic, they can also be a bit insensitive and condescending.
ENTJ: The Commander
ENTJ is the Commander personality type. These people have charisma and confidence for days, and they love to be challenged in whatever work they’re doing.
Strengths: Their determination and strong will mean they don’t give up on projects easily, and they make good workplace leaders. They inspire and energize others with their charisma and enthusiasm for the task at hand.
Weaknesses: ENTJs like to take control, so they can be impatient and dominate a situation. They can also come off as arrogant with all that self-confidence.
ENTP: The Debater
ENTPs are Debaters. They love to dig into arguments and play devil’s advocate. They enjoy showing off their wit, and at work, they make sure their opinions and ideas are heard.
Strengths: Because Debaters love an argument, they’re good on their feet. They have flexible minds and are able to think quickly. They’re also charismatic and energetic.
Weaknesses: You probably can guess the weakness here—debaters can sometimes be too argumentative. They’re rational thinkers, so they can be a bit impatient and insensitive to what others have to say.
INFJ: The Advocate
The INFJ, or Advocate, personality, is very rare—less than 1 percent of people have this personality type. Their personality is marked by idealism, but they’re not dreamers. They know how to get what they want, and are good at helping others find their life’s purpose.
Strengths: INFJs love using their imagination and are very creative in dealing with both work and life challenges. These people are great as counselors and are good listeners.
Weaknesses: Advocates tend to be very reserved, especially about their personal lives. They’re known to be perfectionists at work, so they might always be looking for the best option out there, even if it wastes time.
INFP: The Mediator
The Mediator is also an idealist, always seeing the good in people and situations. Like their name suggests, they want everyone to get along, and they strive to make things better. They also want to find deep purpose in their work.
Strengths: Mediators see the value in people and things. They’re creative, open-minded, and passionate about what they’re doing. They make dedicated employees.
Weaknesses: INFPs can be too optimistic, and they often forget to take care of their own needs because they’re so focused on others. They may not pay attention to small details.
ENFJ: The Protagonist
ENFJs are known as the Protagonists because of their leadership skills and their intense passion. They’re warm, creative, and intelligent, so they make great coworkers.
Strengths: Protagonists believe in others, and they’re open to differing opinions. They’re dependable workers who follow through on projects. They don’t give up easily.
Weaknesses: ENFJs can easily wear themselves out trying to help others, sometimes making them too selfless. They base a lot of their own self-worth on their own idea of success, so they lose confidence if they fail. They’re also not the best decision makers.
ENFP: The Campaigner
The Campaigner, or ENFP, is a free spirited, charming personality type. They love connecting with people and engaging in social and emotional interactions.
Strengths: Campaigners are generally popular at work because of their energy and great communication skills. They’re the perfect team player. They love coming up with new ideas and are always very curious to learn and experience things.
Weaknesses: Because they’re such free spirits, sometimes Campaigners can struggle focusing on a task. They overthink things and get stressed out or emotional easily.
ISTJ: The Logistician
It’s thought that the ISTJ, or the Logistician, personality type is the most common. These people are hard-working and take pride in their work, and they work well with set rules.
Strengths: ISTJs are patient at work, and they always go above and beyond to complete a task. They retain knowledge well, and can apply it to different work situations, and they’re honest and practical, focusing on integrity.
Weaknesses: It can be challenging for Logisticians to see outside the facts, and they’re slow to accept being wrong.
ISFJ: The Defender
ISFJs, or Defenders, care deeply about people they work with and are kind and generous. They can be perfectionists at work because they want to please others.
Strengths: Defenders are patient with coworkers and like to support others with enthusiasm, loyalty, and good listening skills.
Weaknesses: ISFJs can be quite reserved and shy at work, and they have a hard time talking about their own successes. They also take things too personally at times.
ESTJ: The Executive
As the name suggests, Executives, or ESTJs, enjoy leading and bringing people together. They respect tradition and appreciate order.
Strengths: ESTFs are very strong-willed and committed to their cause. They’re very organized and can bring order to the chaos in work situations.
Weaknesses: Executives can be pretty set in their ways, and they might have a hard time adapting to something more unconventional.
ESFJ: The Consul
ESFJs are the popular ones. They’re excellent leaders and socializers and strive to ensure that everyone is happy.
Strengths: Consuls are practical, committed, and loyal, making them great workplace leaders. Their warmth and sensitivity for others makes them likeable, and they make strong connections quickly.
Weaknesses: ESFJs can often be too worried about their appearance or social status. They don’t like conflict, so they can get defensive quickly when criticized.
ISTP: The Virtuoso
Virtuosos enjoy occupations where they get to be creative and make things. They like unpredictable situations and are very hands-on.
Strengths: ISTPs have a lot of creative energy, and they’re flexible and open. You can count on Virtuosos in a crisis because they’re great at thinking on their feet and remaining calm.
Weaknesses: ISTPs can be pretty quiet, so they’re hard to get to know. Because they like excitement in their work, they can become bored easily if not challenged.
ISFP: The Adventurer
The Adventurer or ISFP is artistic and unconventional. They’re free spirits and love to push the envelope of what’s normal.
Strengths: ISFPs are creative and imaginative, making them great workers when they can express their curiosity and artistry. They’re also likeable because they’re sensitive and warm.
Weaknesses: Adventurers can get quite competitive, and their self-esteem can waver, making them stressed out easily. The don’t do well in strict work environments.
ESTP: The Entrepreneur
ESTPs love to be the center of attention. They’re social and energetic, and are considered doers more than thinkers.
Strengths: Entrepreneurs are funny and likeable at work. They love making a situation more interesting by pushing boundaries and being direct.
Weaknesses: ESTPs like to live in the moment, which can mean they have trouble seeing the big picture. They can also be impatient and may take unwise risks.
ESFP: The Entertainer
ESFPs love to energize others. They live in the moment, and inspire coworkers to get things done in the office. They’re social and relaxed, making those around them more comfortable.
Strengths: Entertainers have great people skills. They’re creative and don’t hold back from taking risks and questioning tradition.
Weaknesses: ESFPs don’t do well with long-term commitments. They can be overly sensitive to criticism, and they get bored easily if they don’t feel excited.
No matter your Myers-Briggs personality type, it’s important to know what strengths and weaknesses you have a tendency toward. Knowing this about yourself and your coworkers can create more harmonious work environments.
Cautious vs. Risk-Taking Personality Traits
Your team at work is made up of cautious people, risk-takers . and those who are everywhere in between. Understanding your employees’ tolerance for risk can help you manage more effectively (and make smarter hires).
In general, people tend towards one of two extremes: cautious personalities or being a risk-taker. Let’s explore how these traits play out at work.
What does it mean to have a cautious personality at work?
Someone who is cautious in the workplace tends to stick with proven, time-tested solutions. It’s not that they never take risks, but they tend to be more skeptical of doing so. Cautious personality types prefer having time to weigh the evidence, do research, and give a change plenty of consideration before taking the plunge.
What are the characteristics of someone with a cautious personality?
Here are a few cautious personality traits that can show up in the workplace:
- They tend to default to what they already know works, unless there’s a compelling reason to change.
- They may be wary of new, unproven processes and tools.
- They look before they leap. (If someone else leaps first, all the better.)
- In the extreme, they may miss out on opportunities for growth in favor of the status quo.
How to work with a cautious person
Cautious personality types can be big assets on your team, especially if they’re handling important or sensitive tasks. Let’s dive deep into how the cautious personality trait plays out at work.
- If you’re introducing a new way of doing things, offer evidence that it works whenever you can. Don’t look to your cautious employees to be “early adopters.”
- Give cautious employees space to voice their concerns about new processes, especially one-on-one with you.
- Make sure that the concerns of cautious employees don’t get steamrolled by the enthusiasm of risk-taker personalities. This give-and-take is not only important to making sure everyone feels heard, but also for making the best possible decisions.
- Don’t rush cautious people into big risks. If there’s time to slow down and investigate other options, leave room for that.
- If someone on your team who has a cautious personality takes a risk, make sure you support that risk! Recognize risks that turn out well, and support the employee when they don’t, too… especially if you want to see the employee take more risks in the future.
How to give feedback to a cautious person
- In your one-on-one meetings, regularly check in about any areas where your cautious employees might need to make a change to get better results.
- Cautious personalities can sometimes stick with the status quo for too long (especially if they are also change-averse; read the other character trait descriptions for a fuller picture). Look for instances when you might need to suggest mixing things up.
What is the opposite of being cautious?
What about the other members of your team? If they don’t fit the description above, they may lean towards being risk-takers in business settings: people who are much more willing to go out on a limb if it makes sense to them.
What is a risk-taker?
In the workplace, someone with risk-taking personality traits doesn’t need the same level of proof or time to think things through that a more cautious employee would. Risk-taker personalities accept new ideas more easily and are ready to act.
What are the characteristics of risk-takers at work?
You might notice some or all of these traits in the risk-takers on your team:
- They have a sense of adventure and want to try new things. (Many risk-takers also like change; read all of the character trait descriptions to learn more about how different traits interact.)
- Once they decide what they’d like to do, they’re impatient to get started.
- They make decisions relatively quickly after considering the most important criteria.
- They’re comfortable making executive decisions on the spot, without consulting others, when the need arises.
- They’re more accepting of failure and moving on when something isn’t working.
- In the extreme, they may have an “ask forgiveness, not permission” mindset that can land them in trouble.
How to work with a risk-taking personality
Knowing the right way to work with a risk-taker can make a huge difference on your team. When risk-takers feel supported and have the right expectations for communication, they’re much more likely to succeed — and that can lead to big wins for everyone.
- Risk-takers sometimes feel they have “enough” information to act on sooner than more cautious employees. In training, make sure they aren’t tuning out important details.
- Role-play can be a great learning tool for risk-takers. Engage them in training by asking, “Knowing what you know right now, what would you do?” Then, follow up on that by walking through what would happen if they made that choice. This is a great tool for coaching the employee on both skills and good judgment within the role.
- Let your risk-takers… take risks! Risk-takers are unhappy when they feel stymied and unable to try out new ideas. They thrive with some freedom of discretion. Of course, you may not be able to green-light everything, but look for areas where you can offer greater freedom for the risk-taker to use their own discretion.
- If you’re looking to pilot a new tool or process, let your risk-takers try it out first. They tend to thrive as “early adopters,” especially if they also like change.
- Look beyond the end result. Sometimes risks pay off… and sometimes they don’t. Give feedback on the process and whether or not the risk was a good one. Would running it past another person have helped? Was this the best decision at the time, even though it didn’t pan out?
- Remember that you have your own place on the scale between being cautious and taking risks, too – and so does your overall company culture. Maybe you’re naturally cautious and need to avoid worrying too much about your risk-taker’s decisions, especially if they have a track record of making good choices. Or maybe you’re in a very conservative work environment and the risk-taker on your team is going rogue in a way that doesn’t fit the culture. Keep these factors in mind as you communicate.
What’s better in the workplace: cautious vs. risk-taking personality traits?
Many business experts advocate a “no risk, no reward” mentality. There are plenty of articles coaching employees to take more risks in order to advance at work. But this ignores the fact that there are plenty of roles where a cautious personality may be better suited for the job. On your legal team, for instance, you probably want people who are going to thoroughly investigate any kind of risk instead of jumping ahead; the same is true with anyone dealing with safety.
But of course, there are also many roles in which risk-taking personalities will naturally thrive. And risks come with all kinds of jobs: Think of the customer service representative who makes a snap decision to best help the customer, the graphic designer who submits a daring new design the client will either love or hate, or the CEO who makes a risky business acquisition.
In the end, most workplaces need a balance of these personality types to encourage growth and make solid decisions together.
Want to learn more about your employees’ work styles — and get insight into applicants?
Hire Success delivers insight on personality traits including being cautious vs. being a risk-taker, as well as tons of other personality traits and the four personality types (A, B, C, and D). We help you hire smarter and manage your team better.
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