Putting personality assessments to work
When it comes to personality, everyone has one, each with its own nuances and tendencies, celebrated differences and applauded gifts. Yet, get a bunch of widely varied personalities in the same conference room, and chances are that a team of people will experience some bumps in the road working together. Which is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that an article in Workforce Management estimates the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® personality assessment is administered over 2.5 million times every year and that about 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies utilize personality assessments to gain a deeper understanding of employees.Despite being a small business, and not a Fortune 500, personality assessments can still provide great insight and serve a host of purposes, including coaching, recruitment, employee development and team-building. In the book Type Talk at Work, analysts say the understanding you achieve by using tools like these can help you:

  • Conduct more effective meetings by allowing different points of view to be expressed and heard.
  • Better match job requirements and positions with individual personalities.
  • Resolve conflicts more easily by learning to define problems in terms of personality types.
  • Set more realistic goals for the organization by drawing in a wide variety of perspectives.
  • Reduce office stress and burnout by better understanding how one project may excite one employee and overwhelm another.
  • Meet deadlines more effectively by realizing how different personality types view time.

How to get started
There are literally thousands of assessments at your fingertips, but the top seven most regarded are:

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
  • Insights® Discovery System
  • Profile XT® Assessment
  • The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI)
  • The DiSC Assessment
  • 16PF® (Pearson Assessments)
  • The Birkman Method®

Work with your team to help select the one that best fits your business’s culture. Before asking your team to participate in taking the test, they will need reassurance that the test is designed to improve collaboration. And, that there aren’t right or wrong answers; they can’t “fail.” Boost their interest in taking the test with a fun kick-off event and giveaways like People Clips or a pack of roll candy with assorted flavours that can represent diverse groups working as one.

Once the test outcomes have been calculated, it’s time to bring the team back together and share what has been discovered. First, consider providing the individual results for each team member on USB drives for safe keeping and personal review. Then, encourage team members to share with each other what they have learned about themselves. Have members identify their traits and why those are relevant in a work setting. Provide a document holder to each person that contains a summary of everyone’s traits for easy filing and access.

Keep the fun element alive through this process by handing out stress relievers with that message that these assessments are just a tool, and not the final word in who they are or how they operate as a team member.

For more information on personality assessments and how your business may use them effectively, read our Blue Paper® or listen to our podcast on the subject.

Dattner, Ben. “The Use and Misuse of Personality Tests for Coaching and Development.” Psychology Today. 12 June 2008. Web. 06 Oct. 2011.

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