Have you ever heard the expression, "She has a great personality?" It's mostly been used in a way to describe someone that may not look like a supermodel but would be nice to talk to. And most people would take it as a derogatory statement. Not me. I know my personality is great! And so is yours.
I have been working in the studies of personalities for decades now. It's fascinating to me that five people in the same room can react to the same experience differently. Why is that? There are a lot of layers to the answer like beliefs, media messages, birth order, etc., but mostly it's influenced by personality.
Point of clarification: personality structure is not the same as emotions. We all have emotions, sometimes all of them at the same time. That's no fun. Understanding emotions is emotional intelligence. Personality structure shows how we interact with the world. That fuels social intelligence.
Why do personality assessments?
I have worked with people of all ages in all kinds of industries and levels in regards to personality and how they communicate. Using an assessment like DISC works to give a pattern to understand. And not just for you to understand yourself, but to understand your coworkers (or significant other or children or clients or employees or teammates, the list goes on). If you knew how to better communicate to everyone individually, how much more could you get accomplished with your team? Understanding the personality structure of someone you are trying to work with is important. Implementing the training behind it is crucial and rewarding.
Instead of asking yourself, "Can't we all get along?" you are now able to do what's necessary in communication with someone that has a different personality structure than you to not only get along, but move projects forward.
Which assessment should I take?
There are multiple types of assessments that focus in different areas like communication, behavior, social interactions, situational processing, character strengths, etc. The popular ones are DISC, Myers-Briggs, Predictive Index, and Strengths Finder. When I work with clients I use a DISC-type that incorporates animals (lion, otter, golden retriever, beaver) from relationship expert Dr. Gary Smalley. It's a fun and memorable way to USE the structure in everyday situations. That's why you see all those buzzfeed personality quizzes that has you figure out what princess you are.
Based on four areas: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. This is the one I like the most because there are only four areas to work in - it keeps it simple and easy to work. Plus, when attached to a symbol like animals, colors, jewels, etc., it becomes easy to apply daily. Think about it. If you are trying to win over a lion and you are a golden retriever - what would you do? #1 - don't waste time! But if you are talking to an otter - be prepared to play for a while before getting to a point.
I am high D and I, and low S and C. Which puts me into a big-thinker-leader-type.
This one is more introspective on how you perceive the world and make decisions. Are you extroverted or introverted? Are you more feeling or judgmental?
I am an ENFP - The Campaigner.
ENFPs are outgoing and creative with the key skill of perceiving complicated patterns and information and assimilating it quickly. They are flexible, highly adaptable workers. They are driven by a keen devotion to their ideals and a strong drive to help others. Less developed are their patience for routine tasks and projection of a serious, committed image. ENFPs need significant time alone to center themselves and make sure they are moving in a direction that is in sync with their values. ENFPs account for about 5-7% of the population.
Now, I have already expressed having a symbol helps you relate and remember more and when doing a little looking I found this super fun version with Star Wars characters!
The Predictive Index
This assessment is behavior driven. It asks two questions: How do I think others perceive me/expect me to be? And how do I perceive myself to behave? Then gives a variety of characteristics to choose from for both and compiles the answers to give a result that shows behavior patterns based on four factors: Dominance, Extraversion, Patience, Formality. Not too far off from DISC; however, the explanation becomes all-inclusive. The results explain leanings, as I lean in certain directions certain behaviors will arise.
For example, I am a Maverick. "A Maverick is a force of nature on your team. They will come into a project with a powerful and direct point of view, talking in an animated way about their ideas, making rapid-fire decisions and challenging the team to take risks—arguing that the “end justifies the means”. Confident and quick-moving, Mavericks love to innovate and shake up the status quo, and they will push others on the team to keep up with them, often forcing them out of their own comfort zones."
It goes on to explain my key attributes in behaviors, needs, and strengths.
The StrengthsFinder breaks out your personality into 34 different strengths. This assessment is good for finding your "right seat on the bus." Are you doing what you are good at doing every day?
The nice thing about personality assessments is there is no right or wrong answer. It's your truth. If you walk away from taking an assessment saying to yourself, "That's not me at all," then you didn't read the instructions. I have been training on, and taking, personality assessments for decades now. Every time I take one it solidifies who I am. It helps me be more of aware of how I show up in the world, as well as others around me.
So next time you hear, "She has a great personality," it's true and worth the time to get to know her (or him).