Applying Myers-Briggs to managing your networks

Many of you are familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality tests. The tests grew out of personality theories first formulated by psychoanalyst Carl Jung and are used by human resources people to predict group behavior and team composition. But what if we could give similar tests to our networks, to figure out ahead of time how to match up the personality of the network with its network administrator? The more you think about this idea, the less far-out it seems.

The actual Myers-Briggs test consists of a series of questions. There are various versions, ranging from the traditional one offered at to a shorter four-question test here at Go to one of these sites now and take the test to determine your own personality type, if you haven’t already done so sometime in your employment past.

Now let’s look at your network. Answer the following about your network, keeping track of the initial letter that best describes your situation:

  1. What influences your network operations: internal users’ actions (I) or external events and upper management (E)?
  2. How do you manage problems when they occur on your network: with tools and carefully scripted techniques (S) or with seat-of-the-pants reactions (N)?
  3. How do you purchase networking products: thinking through the implications and a rigid set of standards (T) or laissez-faire attitude and by letting users buy pretty much what they want (F)?
  4. How is your network wiring installed: with a structured plan and architecture (J) or with more flexibility, making it up as you go along (P)?

All right, now you can assemble your network “personality type” into one of the 16 different combinations of the four letters. Ideally, your personality and that of your network should match on all four metrics. If not, then you might consider finding another company or another job within the company that will more closely match your personality. Alternatively, you might consider ways you can alter your networks’ personality to bring it more closely in line

Let’s consider two possibilities. INFP networks pretty much are organic, reactive kinds of things. Your network never seems to be in a finished state, and crises happen pretty much on a daily basis. Since users rule and buy pretty much anything they want, you can’t ever predict what each day will bring. You never really get out of fire-fighting mode to be able to do some planning, but that is okay if you are the similar personality type and enjoy this more intuitive approach to your job. INFP networks are usually found in high-growth companies, such as dot-coms, where every day is a chaotic blend of new hires, departmental moves and staff changes, and new requirements.

ESTJ networks are the exact opposite: users here have little say in things, and if a piece of gear isn’t on your approved list, it doesn’t get purchased, plain and simple. Every day is structured and pretty much predictable, and your network runs on schedule and according to plan. ESTJ networks are usually found in more traditional centralized IT businesses, such as financial services and government, with long-range budget cycles and careful attention paid to staffing and growth.

I am sure you can come up with characteristics for the other network personalities as well, but I given that I am an ISTJ, I am out of the time I planned for writing this article. Good luck typing your network, unless you are a ESFP and don’t enjoy doing these sorts of things.

One thought on “Applying Myers-Briggs to managing your networks

  1. Pingback: Being ISTJ | Web Informant

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