Are you an introvert or an extrovert? The NEO PI-R can tell you. Are you more people-oriented or task-oriented? DiSC can answer that. Are you receptive or tough-minded? The 16pf Questionnaire will reveal that.
You’ve probably had some experience – in school, for fun or in the workplace – taking personality tests. I know I have. In a management class in college, I had to take a handful of them. While the results were interesting, what was more informing was the discussion among fellow classmates (and our professor) after the results came back. Knowing about yourself, your peers, your supervisor and your direct reports may pave the path for smoother workplace relations.
We’ve heard about using personality assessments in pre-employment testing [The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) goes into the legalities of this in “What Do Personality Tests Really Reveal?”], but how else can they be used at the institutional level? Read on to learn about the value of personality assessments in the workplace.
Personality assessments can help you better deal with internal conflict.
It’s important to learn about your own personality and how you work with others, but by opening the discussion with your manager, peers and subordinates, you will be able to better interact with them specifically. The chemistry (or lack thereof) among coworkers that personality tests can reveal, will help you resolve conflict quicker and more effectively. All it takes is recognizing that everyone operates a little differently. Your manager may expect immediate results and rewards and has no issue being blunt and brief (a DiSC “dominant” personality). But you may prefer thorough research and tend to avoid risk (a DiSC “conscientiousness” personality). These two personality types sound like complete opposites, but the balance can provide desirable outcomes. Simply learn how to appeal to the other person’s personality: Show high D personalities how to win and only highlight the facts when explaining the plan, and approach high C personalities in a non-threatening way and allow time for questions.
Personality assessments may point to better-fitting jobs.
While the test might not reveal you should be an engineer instead of a salesperson (some can!), use the strengths and weaknesses the personality assessment discloses to guide your career development. You will learn about your weaknesses and can focus on building them to grow. Also, if there’s a big project for which you need to divvy responsibilities, personality assessments can help you leverage your employees’ strengths. According to Portland Community College’s “Why Personality Assessments are Valuable and How to Use Them in the Workplace,” you can assign the person who values details and accuracy to be the researcher and the person who loves to collaborate with others as the project lead, for example.
Personality assessments give you a better understanding of customers and how to shape sales pitches or provide customer service.
While your customers will not have taken the personality tests your company offers, if you have a general understanding of the different types of people out there, you’ll be better equipped to deal with varied personalities in any setting. Your ability to read a personality type may guide you to approach a sales deal more passively or passionately depending on the potential client. Some customers may prefer a face-to-face meeting with other stakeholders in the room and a grand presentation; others may place a higher value on a casual coffee meeting to discuss industry happenings and organically build a relationship. Respecting what the potential client prefers may just help you land the account.
Personality assessments in the workplace can be a valuable tool for learning about each other. To get started, do your research and pick a well-known and studied test. Some trusted ones include: 16pf Questionnaire, Hogan Personality Inventory, Clifton Strengths Finder, Deloitte Business Chemistry, DiSC profile and The Birkman Method. It will help to have resources that give you a better understanding of the results. After all, it doesn’t stop at taking the test and glancing at what “type” you are. You’ll want to have discussions about the results with whom you work most closely – and determine how to leverage the results to work better together.