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Best Uses of Personality Assessments: Are They Valuable?

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You’ve heard of them, most likely . . . many of us took the [then] “Strong Interest Inventory” as juniors or seniors in high school. It gave us job families that might suit us well. Also widely used is the “Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)”, given to many college freshmen hoping to focus in on a potential line of study, career, and personal identity. There are a multitude of others: “True Colors,” “DiSC,” “The Enneagram,” to name just a few. Are they worth the time, effort, and fees?

Here are some of the BEST uses for personality style assessments:

  1. to better understand why I tend to behave the way I do when times are good
  2. to better understand why I tend to behave the way I do under stress
  3. to raise awareness of the other personality styles out in the world
  4. to assess the “fit” between one’s job and one’s natural preferences at work
  5. to locate where in one’s life there may be friction, and to understand why
  6. as a work team, all members participate and discuss the group’s strengths, blind spots, and communication/ conflict tendencies
  7. in an interpersonal conflict, use style to analyze where and why the trouble spots are, and what may behaviors may work better
  8. helps objectify personality styles and behavior, lessening the need to blame others
  9. in creating or growing a well-balanced team (esp. leadership), to ensure style complementarity

So, if done in pursuit of one or more of the above “BEST uses,” they can be helpful. . . AS LONG AS . . .

  • a qualified and competent facilitator leads the activity and especially the discussion
  • the whole group is not participating when there is one “problem” person who needs to be addressed
  • the results of such an assessment do not directly drive compensation
  • the results of these assessments are the only or primary input to a hiring decision
  • results are not posted or otherwise used to justify behavior. They do not predict either!
  • the assessment is not offered as a fun reward or “team building” activity with no real point or goal (the results need to help us understand ourselves and/or others better)

If you are ever wondering whether or not an assessment (personality, communication, conflict, change management, leadership, supervision, etc.) is appropriate or potentially useful, please do not hesitate to email or call! I won’t hesitate to share my opinion!

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