Military Review English Edition March-April 2016 - Page 59

THE BIG FIVE Compared to the MBTI, the Big Five is a relatively simple and frugal approach to self-awareness. Because the Myers-Briggs instrument is a commercial product, its use incurs a cost for both the MBTI instrument and its administration by people certified by the corporation holding the copyright. The Big Five personality factors, on the other hand, can be measured in a variety of ways to include online versions that are both public domain (free) and anonymous. Versions exist that range from an incredibly short, not-too-specific ten-question assessment to more detailed surveys with a hundred or more questions. Many versions of the Big Five come with average scores of other sample populations to aid in the interpretation of the results. The MBTI has done an admirable job in introducing self-awareness and self-reflection to the Army. The time has come, however, for the Army to move beyond the MBTI and adopt an approach to self-awareness that is scientifically established and conducive to leader development. The Big Five personality factors fulfill that requirement. It is now up to the Army to take full advant age of this potent leader development tool. Col. Stephen Gerras, U.S. Army, retired, is a professor of behavioral sciences in the Department of Command, Leadership, and Management at the U.S. Army War College. He served in the Army for over twenty-five years, including commanding a light infantry company and a transportation battalion, teaching leadership at West Point, and serving as the chief of operations and agreements for the Office of Defense Cooperation in Ankara, Turkey. He holds a BS from the U.S. Military Academy, and both an MS and PhD in industrial and organizational psychology from Penn State University. Lt. Col. Leonard Wong, U.S. Army, retired, is a research professor in the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College, who focuses on the human and organizational dimensions of the military. His career includes teaching leadership at West Point and serving as an analyst for the chief of staff of the Army. Wong is a professional engineer, and holds a BS from the U.S. Military Academy and an MS and PhD from Texas Tech University. Notes 1. “MBTI Basics,” Myers & Briggs Foundation website, accessed 23 December 2015, http://www.myersbriggs.org/ my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/. 2. Daniel Druckman and Robert A. Bjork, eds., In the Mind’s Eye: Enhancing Human Performance (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1991), 94. 3. Ibid., 96. 4. Todd Essig, “The Mysterious Popularity of the Meaningless Myers-Briggs (MBTI),” Forbes, 29 August 2014, accessed 29 July 2015, http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddessig/2014/09/29/ the-mysterious-popularity-of-the-meaningless-myers-briggs-mbti/. 5. James Michael, “Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a Tool for Leadership Development? Apply with Caution,” Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies 10 (2003): 68–81. 6. Adrian Furnham, “We’ve Got Something for Everyone: The Barnum Effect,” Psychology Today website, 21 November 2014, accessed 23 December 2015, https:// www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201411/ weve-got-something-everyone-the-barnum-effect. 7. Amaani Lyle, “Official Discusses Tools to Boost Professionalism,” DoD News, 3 October 2014, accessed 28 July 2015, http:// www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=123339. 8. Robert R. McCrae and Paul T. Costa Jr., Personality in Adulthood: A Five-Factor Theory Perspective, 2nd ed. (New York: The Guilford Press, 2003). MILITARY REVIEW  March-April 2016 9. Timothy A. Judge, Joyce E. Bono, Remus Ilies, and Megan W. Gerhardt, “Personality and Leadership: A Qualitative and Quantitative Review,” Journal of Applied Psychology 87 (2002): 773. 10. Lisa A. Dragoni et al., “Developing Executive Leaders: The Relative Contribution of Cognitive Ability, Personality, and the Accumulation of Work Experience in Predicting Strategic Thinking Competency,” Personnel Psychology 64 (2001): 829–64. 11. Stephen J. Gerras and Leonard Wong, Changing Minds in the Army: Why It Is So Difficult and What to Do About It (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2013), 9. 12. Grace Fayombo, “The Relationship between Personality Traits and Psychological Resilience among the Caribbean Adolescents,” International Journal of Psychological Studies 2 (December 2010): 105–16. 13. Judge, Bono, Ilies, and Gerhardt, 773. 14. David Mayer, Lisa Nishii, Benjamin Schneider, and Harold Goldstein, “The Precursors and Products of Justice Climates: Group Leader Antecedents and Employee Attitudinal Consequences,” Personnel Psychology 60 (Winter 2007): 929–63. 15. Robert Hogan, Personality and the Fate of Organizations (New York: Psychology Press, 2007), 63. 16. Ibid., 10. 57