I’m guessing that you’ve taken a personality assessment before. Millions (dare I say billions?) of people have. Maybe it was the MBTI, colors, EQi, Strengths, or which Friend are you (that used to be a thing).
In training events when I ask who has taken an assessment before, many people raise their hands.
When I ask who remembers their results, fewer hands go up.
Not very many people raise their hands when asked if they use their results in their day to day life.
This is a missed opportunity. Assessments are tools that can help us navigate the world.
Some people resist assessments because they don’t want to be labeled or confined by a description. I don’t see assessments this way at all. I believe that people can learn and grow. And I also believe that we are born with preferences. Assessments can help us understand ourselves better, and then help us understand and appreciate others.
I happen to have a preference for using my right hand. It is easier for me, it’s the one I use instinctively, and it is much more coordinated. It’s stronger.
I also use my left hand to support, assist, and complement my right.
I see personality the same way. Some aspects feel natural, comfortable, and easy. Others provide balance or show up at other times in other ways. (When stressed my best self is NOT on display…)
If you have taken an assessment and aren’t using it to help you be successful, here are three tips to help you get started:
Tip 1: Understand your results.
Assessments differ in how their results are interpreted, and how they should be used. Some just are what they are (CliftonStrengths). Some require your validation and serve as a starting point for you to decide their accuracy (MBTI). Some can be changed over time given an investment of time and effort (EQi).
In articles where people criticize assessments, the authors often misunderstand the tool they are critiquing and their intended use. If the assessment tool is being misused, it shouldn’t reflect negatively on the tool itself. For example, the MBTI is not and should not be used as a hiring tool. It’s ineffective for that purpose and should not be used in that way. It does not accurately indicate whether a person will be successful in a particular role. So criticism of it, when used in that way, misses the point.
Your results will be more meaningful and useful if you understand the tool. Another point that fits here is that your results don’t mean that you never use the “other”, or that you can’t do something because it didn’t show up for you. It helps you recognize where you are most comfortable and feel most natural.
Tip 2: Pay attention to what you do.
As you go about your day, keep your assessment results in mind and try to be a curious observer of your behavior. Notice when you make a decision and think about which component of your assessment was driving, or satisfied by, that choice.
Pay attention to where irritation or annoyance can be better understood through one of your results (when I’m annoyed by my phone ringing, it’s my preference for introversion – when I’m glad my phone is ringing, it’s my adaptability showing up). Try not to judge, just notice and consider. Where do you see it? When does a reaction not make sense? When would a different choice have served you better?
Tip 3: Get support with applying your results in real life.
There are several things I’ve purchased…equipment, software, programs…that I didn’t get much value from. This was no fault of the thing I bought but because I didn’t learn how to use them or fully invest the time required to get the full benefit. Fancy camera? Check. Things 3 software? Yup. Could I go on? Well, yes…yes I could.
When I’ve invested a little more (both time and money) in learning how to use these things, I’ve gotten more value from the initial investment in the thing itself. Enlist a friend in learning about and using your results, read a book, create a personal development plan, or hire a coach to help you accomplish your goals while remaining true to who you are.
Your assessment results can be useful tools to help you navigate work and life. It’s important to know how to use them. If you purchase a set of tools yet continue to use a butter knife as a screwdriver and a shoe as a hammer, then you are not getting your money’s worth or the best use out of the tools that you leave sitting on a shelf.
Understanding yourself and others helps in every part of life. It can improve communication with those around you, help to set and meet expectations, improve problem-solving, and increase productivity and satisfaction with your work and life. And that’s just the beginning…
Sometimes people tell me they just don’t know where to start. They don’t remember how to access their reports or how to navigate all the information out there and make any sense of it. That’s where I can help.
If you’d like to get more out of your assessments and want to explore how a coach can help with that, schedule a free chat with me here. In 20 minutes, I’ll help you figure out what next step would serve you best and you can see if we might be a good fit working together (without any pressure to do so). Talking assessments is one of my favorite things to do, so grab your spot on my calendar, and let’s chat!