Does Personality Matter?Jul 05, 2023
Personality. When you hear that word, what do you think of? Many people think of the way a person behaves. Others might think of someone's social skills. For this discussion, I want to take this more into the realm of psychology.
Did you know that most of the assessments in the marketplace today are based on personality? There are so many different assessments measuring personality and many have their own unique approach. There is the DISC, Predictive Index, Culture Index, Kolbe, Enneagram, Strengths Finders, and so many more. Many are promoted as the only assessment you need to predict success...which of course is problematic. There are so many personality assessments that the "noise" makes it difficult to know which to choose to get the insights you need.
Basically, personality is based on a four (4) quadrant model:
Axiom Internet Group
Without going into all of the psychometrics, this gives you insight into how personality is measured. Some people have one strong personality trait while others have 2 or three. Good personality assessments, those that are highly validated, will provide deep insight into a person's personality with great reports that provide clear insights and information.
Important note: When exploring personality assessments, ensure that you focus on the definitions of the terms in psychometric terms, not societal terms. Dominance in society probably means something different than in a psychometric measure of personality.
Focus on outcomes
Instead of trying to parse all of the different versions of personality assessments, I want to focus on what a good, validated personality assessment can do for you. Here is a quick summary of what you can expect:
Best use – to identify individual personality factors (strengths), fit to a specific role, enhance individual and team awareness for development, enhanced communication and collaboration around greater understanding of styles and preferences. Bottom line - personality assessments are very valuable in enhancing communication, collaboration, measuring work style fit for a specific position, enhancing teams through a better understanding of work style preferences and preferred communication style of other team members, and empowering leaders with insight to lead each of their people.
Limitations – no one assessment is the “magic bullet”, and these assessments are the most used and mis-used. These assessments do not measure ways in which an individual has created patterns to shore up gap areas or known areas of challenge. Strengths assessments alone are attractive as they appear to focus on the positive, however, the over emphasis of using strengths alone to solve problems and innovate creates a dynamic where people can become stuck and frustrated because their strengths “are not enough”. Limited data gives you limited insight.
With these in mind, we can move forward and explore the question, "Is personality important?" YES!
Value of personality assessments
You may have noticed that different roles require different personalities for optimal success. Here is a quick definition of what each personality trait looks like when it is strong in a person:
- D - Dominance - driven, goal oriented, fast paced, direct communicator, competitive.
- I - Influence - open, sociable, people focused, wanting to include others, expressive.
- S - Steadiness - focused, caring, thoughtful, risk cautious, change cautious, collaborative.
- C - Compliance - detailed, exact, precise, facts focused, organized, prefers structure.
Now, if you think about the people you may come in contact with, you want your accountant to be strong in Compliance. You want a leader to be strong in Dominance. Top salespeople tend to be strong in Influence. Administrative and customer support roles need to be strong in Steadiness. These are generalizations, but as you can see from the definitions of each of these personality traits, they are likely correct.
Important note: I never recommend using only one assessment to make any important decisions about employment. Whether it is pre-hire or development, using only one assessment is a recipe for all kinds of problems, including opening an organization to liability. That is the same for personal development. A well designed group of assessments will provide the highest value in what are very important decisions and investments.
So what is the value of personality assessments? In essence, once you understand different personality styles and how they "show up" in people, it raises understanding to much higher levels. Here are some challenges that the application of personality assessments and some coaching/training can likely overcome:
- Trying to decide what type of job is best for you.
- Finding candidates that are the right fit for specific roles.
- Turning dysfunctional teams into high performance teams.
- Equipping leaders to be more impactful and effective.
- Overcoming communication challenges.
- Moving from "silos" to a more collaborative approach.
- Creating individual development plans that work.
- Building teams that have complimentary strengths.
- Building communication and conflict resolution skills.
- Cultivating a feedback culture that enhances engagement and performance.
Now...take a second and think about the dollars attached to each of those solutions. It adds up fast, right!!
But you say, "It can't be that easy!" No, just taking an assessment is not enough. But if you don't do that, then you will never reach that next level of understanding and insight.
There is an easy way forward. Reach out to someone like me who is certified in multiple types of assessments and has at least 20 years working with organizations and people. That may sound very self-serving. It is not intended to be. I am just tired of watching people spend tons of money and waste vast amounts of time on initiatives that just do not work. Free tests you get online are worth every penny you pay for them. OK...enough of me being on my soap box preaching good assessment practices.
Clear path forward...If you have any of the challenges above, or simply want to know more about how assessments can help you, then I encourage you to explore what is possible. There are two tracks that you should consider. One track for the workplace, and one track for an individual. Both provide insight and direction that will bring value, whether it is at work or in someone's personal life.
When we work with an individual or with people in an organization, we ALWAYS start with assessments (notice that is plural...we never use just one assessment unless it is a part of a specific online course that we have available). The first assessment that we focus on in a feedback session is the DISC (personality) assessment. Why? Because it opens the door for people to better understand who they are, their preferences and tendencies, and their preferred styles. We talk about how they interact with others and how the information in their personality profile can be used in very practical ways.
Here are a few things to consider when talking about personalities:
- You (or someone else) are not a label. So many of the personality assessments boil down to attaching a label to someone. "You are an 8." "You are a Maverick." "You are an SC." Personality is a combination of preferred styles, tendencies, and behaviors.
- Can personality traits and measures change...YES. As a matter of fact, many personality measures have measures of how you might be adapting or changing your personality traits according to what you think you need to in your current environment.
- Personality is NOT the only predictor of success for a specific effort or role. It is helpful, but there are other measures, such as EQ, that are far more predictive of success. This is why I recommend you talk to someone certified as a professional assessor in multiple types of assessments (personality, EQ, cognitive, competency, soft skills).
- If you see behavior in someone that does not align with what you know their personality to be, it is likely they have things going on in their lives that you may not be aware. It does not mean their personality has drastically changed, although that can happen at times when someone experiences something traumatic or a life changing event.
This is just scratching the surface in exploring personality assessments and what they can do for you. If you are interested in learning more, I encourage you to continue to explore and discover what deeper insights in personality can do for you. There is a world of opportunities and insights ready for you to discover!
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Copyright © 2023 EQFIT® - Author: Steven Goodner. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact: [email protected].
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