Coaching Leadership

Personality Tests

In the corporate world, you are certainly going to encounter a range of personality tests. I’ve previously talked about not ending up in a box, but rather to take what you can from the test.

One way to do this is to take a range of tests, as this can both help you pull out some themes, and not get too stuck into that single focus from a one-off result.

So whether that’s Clifton Strengths, Management Drives or something else, have a go and see what comes.

There’s not necessarily a lot of real science behind these tests, but if you take them honestly, you’ll probably find something that resonates with you. A major benefit is the language that they use to talk about certain personality traits. Particularly if the test is favoured by your org, it can build in some useful shorthands.

The best tests are the ones that open you up rather than close you down. Thinking about how to be more successful by leaning on your strengths or being aware of blind spots is always powerful. It’s the process and time that you take to reflect that gives you that chance to grow.

You aren’t a giraffe, you aren’t green. You aren’t a Judger and you aren’t an Alchemist. You are a person who can learn and grow and change, and you can do that the best when you focus on the practice and reflect on your journey.


Don’t Box Yourself In

Personality tests are all about putting yourself into a nice little box. They are designed to sort everyone into a small set of groups, so you can describe them, describe yourself and get an idea of how those two types might interact.

The most valuable piece of advice I can give you is to only take what’s valuable from these tests, don’t let them define you. They might show you a preference, or behaviours that you lean towards in certain situations, but they don’t outline your whole being.

Meyers-Briggs is a very famous example of the type. It can be very helpful to put labels of Thinking or Feeling to your general preference, but it’s almost certainly unhelpful to state “I’m an INFP, so I can’t do that well”.

If you do feel boxed in, try breaking out. Think about a time or situation where you’ve done the opposite of what a personality test suggests. What was the scenario? How did it feel? When might you do it again? Did this let you round off a weakness or maybe balance out an overuse of a strength?

Taking the valuable parts lets you continue to grow and drive towards your goals. Pushing past the box means you aren’t limited by the strictures of the test but are able to achieve powerful outcomes that matter to you.