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I’ve been fascinated by personality profiles and the tests that assess them for as long as I can remember. Initially it was purely curiosity. After that it was no great leap to see their value in both my business life and personal life.
Business-wise, having a deeper understanding of the personality profiles of my bosses, peers, subordinates, suppliers and customers consistently provided a substantial leg up. As a sales professional and consultant it helped me realize that I had to grind through the excruciating detail of gigantic project plans because that is what my analytical customers simply needed to have. (Even though it’s always VERY painful exercise for an intuitive decision-maker like me.)
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As a manager, when hiring or promoting employees, the profiles were huge in ensuring a good fit between person and job requirements. Probably the biggest value for me was in keeping team members from each others’ throats simply by having a better understanding of their various perspectives.
All the experts will tell you that using personality profiles on a personal level can be risky. Avoid being manipulative though, and I think it’s OK. Be aware, however, that you have been warned. If you screw up profiling your spouse, for example, don’t blame me!
Seriously though, I think it can be enormously helpful in dealing with your kids. I sure wish my mom had understood my personality profile on the “orderliness” dimension. To me, cleaning up my room meant removing all obvious health and safety hazards. To her it meant that everything was back in its proper place. It seemed weird to me that everything even had a proper place! I eventually grew up and got my own home never having figured out her system.
In any case, knowing your own personality profile is both useful and interesting. Knowing the personality profiles of the significant people in your life, how all the different characteristics interact and how you might adjust your own attitudes and behaviors, dramatically increases that utility and interestingness.
There are quite a few choices out there. Personally, I always liked Myers-Briggs with it’s perspectives based on Sensation, Intuition, Feeling, and Thinking. For $50 you can take their assessment online. Another choice is DiSC, based on Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. Their test is $65.
Recently, I came across another option, and frankly, I think it’s the best one. It’s more comprehensive, and as far as I can tell is more advanced and based on more up-to-date psychological research. You can find it at understandmyself.com and it’s only $10.
This one is based on “The Big Five” personality traits, each of which has two sub-categories:
- Agreeableness – Compassion & Politeness
- Conscientiousness – Industriousness & Orderliness
- Extraversion – Enthusiasm & Assertiveness
- Neuroticism – Withdrawal & Volatility
- Openness to Experience – Openness & Intellect
I just took the Big Five test myself. Took about 20 minutes. Again, I’m astounded at how a 100-question test can spawn a 14-page report that absolutely nails who I am. I also bought vouchers for a few family members and friends. It’ll be interesting to see how all that shakes out! They’ll either love me or hate for it. Either way it’ll stir up some interesting conversations.
I’m your Intentionally Vicarious host, Todd Youngblood – lost in introspection since I took that test, not at all surprised that each of my scores came out at one extreme or the other and wondering if being a 99 on the Extroversion scale and a 1 on the Neurotic scale is why I’m having more fun than anyone else I know.
Thanks for paying attention!