Let’s talk about personality tests. This week it’s all about YOU! As in your individual, unique, very own PERSONALITY…
(image: Unsplash @ georgeprentzas)
I know this is a popular topic. We are intrinsically wired to seek to understand and learn about ourselves. PERSONALITY is one of the most searched terms on the TalkAboutTalk.com website!
How well do you know yourself?
What distinguishes you relative to your co-workers? Your siblings? Your friends?
Read on to learn:
- what are personality tests?
- personality test watch-outs (and a backlash!)
- why take a personality test?
- popular personality tests (and a CHALLENGE!)
Let’s do this…
WHAT ARE PERSONALITY TESTS?
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, personality tests are:
designed to determine various aspects
of the personality or the emotional status
of the individual examined.”
The popularity of personality tests, whether used for fun or as a work-related diagnostic, has created a multi-million dollar psychometrics industry.
(image: Unsplash @ Sharon McCutcheon)
Where there’s money, there’s opportunism…
WATCH-OUTS for PERSONALITY TESTS
“Nothing is Free”
- You can find many personality tests online for free. Always consider your privacy and how your data is being used!
Click-bait Quizzes are NOT Personality Tests!
- WARNING: This link is a rabbit hole! => Those BuzzFeed and other quizzes you see on social media may be fun, but they are not science!
- Again – consider your data privacy, particularly for these “free” quizzes!
Personality Test Backlash
- Recently HBO released this Persona documentary, highlighting several other issues associated with personality tests, including discrimination (racism, sexism, ableism, classism…)
- Response to this documentary has been mixed. Of course, the psychometrics industry is highly critical! But if nothing else, this documentary highlights watch-outs for us to keep in mind.
WHY TAKE PERSONALITY TESTS?
There are several reasons you might want to take a personality test:
Pure hedonic ENJOYMENT
- It’s fun to learn about yourself!
- Some personality tests may highlight strengths that we can exploit, as well as areas where we can improve.
Input to your PERSONAL BRAND
- I encourage clients to run through several personality tests to identify traits where they are “off the charts.” Then ask, can this trait be part of my personal brand?
Identify a MATCH
- Personality-type tests can be used to identify a match, for example with an employer or with a mate!
ONE MORE THING:
This week I was listening to Adam Grant’s “Taken for Granted” podcast, the episode where he interviews Nobel-laureate Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast & Slow and a new book called, NOISE – A Flaw in Human Judgment.”
In the interview, Kahneman says,
“Thinking Fast & Slow is completely oblivious to individual differences.
I’m interested in characterizing the human mind…
But it turns out that when you go into detail…
it’s not like everyone’s behaving like the average in the study.
That’s simply false. The necessity of studying individual differences
is the most important thing I have re-thought.”
(WOW. Just WOW.)
POPULAR PERSONALITY TESTS
Here’s your CHALLENGE!
Considering the plethora of personality traits across these personality tests, can you identify a few specific traits where you are off the charts? On what personality trait(s) are you an outlier?
- The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the MBTI is the most common personality test in the world.
- We covered the MBTI in a previous blog, but here’s a quick summary. The MBTI measures your personality across four dimensions:
- Extraversion/Introversion – do you focus on and get energy from your outer world or inner world?
- Sensing/INtuition – do you prefer basic information or do you interpret and add meaning?
- Thinking/Feeling – do you make decisions with logic and consistency or specific people and circumstances?
- Judging/Perceiving – are you structured and decided or flexible and adaptable?
- Given these four dimensions, there are 16 personality types.
- The DiSC personality profile was designed by Walter Clark in 1940 and is commonly used in many workplaces. (My friend Mona literally told me today that her employer had them all do this test!)
- There are four Disc styles, none more or less preferred, but rather an indication of where we naturally place emphasis:
- Dominance – accomplishing results and seeing the big picture
- Influence – influencing or persuading others
- Steadiness – cooperation, sincerity, loyalty, and dependability
- Conscientiousness – quality and accuracy, expertise and competency
Big-5 from Social Psychology
- You probably learned about The Big 5 if you ever took a psychology class in university.
- You can memorize the first letters of The Big 5 factors with the acronym “CANOE” or “OCEAN”:
- O: Openness to experience – inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious
- C: Conscientiousness – efficient/organized vs. extravagant/careless
- E: Extraversion – outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved
- A: Agreeableness – friendly/compassionate vs. critical/rational
- N: Neuroticism – sensitive/nervous vs. resilient/confident
- The Kolbe test captures the instinctive energy we use to solve problems and take action. It clarifies how we act in our natural strengths. Ask yourself, “when I’m in a meeting or with a group of people, what’s my default?”
- There are 4 “Action Mode” & “Strength” combinations:
- Fact finder = Simplify
- Follow Through = Maintain
- Quick Start = Innovate
- Implementor = Restore
*** CHALLENGE QUESTION***
Of the many personality traits listed above, where are YOU off the charts?
This is what really matters, isn’t it? These outlier-traits may be your superpowers!!! (Also your Achilles…)
Personally, I’m an outlier in at last three traits:
- “EXTRAVERSION” – Regardless of the time of day, I get energized from being around people (yes, even in online meetings)! This insight helps me manage my schedule and my energy (I know there’s no sleeping after late interviews!)
- “CONSCIENTIOUSNESS” – I’m organized, dependable, seeking expertise and competency (My clients and colleagues love this, but it drives my family crazy…)
- “FACT FINDER => SIMPLIFY” – I am always seeking facts and information, and I’m naturally driven to synthesize. In meetings, I find myself seeking meta-themes. In my Talk About Talk podcast episodes, I summarize 30+ minutes of rich fact-filled content into simplified themes. (Thank you for labelling this, Kolbe!)
What about YOU?
Please email me – I’d love to hear.
Please forward this email to anyone who might appreciate insights on personality tests and communication skills. Thank you!
Have a great week.
Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach
Most Recent 🎧Podcast Episodes:
#72 – Practicing Communication Skills: WHAT IS PRACTICE? with Nadine Kelly
#71 – PERSONAL BRANDING, AUTHENTICITY & TMI with Tom Megginson
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