How Psychometric Testing Can Help You Build Stronger Teams


You may have heard about the use of personality tests, or psychometric testing, in business contexts in order to achieve a higher standard of management and team building. Today we’re going to look at what these tests measure and the ways that they can bring business benefits to your team.

Why study personality?
The theories of personality psychology may be interesting to read about, but more than this they can provide concrete advice on how to work more effectively. Psychometric testing can be used to give insights which enable people to gain self-understanding, letting them be more aware of their personality style and strengths and weaknesses. From this information, people can learn better strategies for interactions with others based on the specific needs of each personality type.

In a business context, psychometric testing can bring distinct benefits to your team. You can adapt your management style to bring out the best from each member of your team by finding the correct motivation and communication style for them. And by sharing the insights into personality that you gain with your team, they can interact with each other in a more effective and productive way as well.

Types of personality tests
As complicated as humans are, there are many different ways to measure and define personality. In academic contexts, personality is most frequently analyzed in terms of the degree to which a person displays the ‘big five’ personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Another style of psychometric testing which is popular among the public and in some business contexts is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) system, which is based on the theories of Carl Jung. The MBTI assigns personality to a pole from each of the dichotomies of sensing/intuition, feeling/thinking, introversion/extroversion, and perception/judging.

The Insights Discovery profile system that we use at Discover Yourself is also based on the work of Jung, but with greater detail than MBTI and with profiles that are optimized to provide information for management contexts. Each Insights profile will give concrete advice on communicating with, managing, and motivating the person, as well as information on how the person would manage others.

The benefits of personality testing
The advantage of personality testing is that it gives you a set of tools with which to think about yourself. Do you interact best working alone in a small team or do you thrive in a large group? Do you prefer a high level of organization with rigid structures, or are you more comfortable in a flexible situation where you can respond quickly to new information? Do you communicate most effectively in a written, visual, or oral form? These are the kinds of insights that you can clarify with personality testing.

When it comes to personality testing in business, the creation of a space in which people can express their preferences is a tremendous boon. Perhaps a team member finds phone calls stressful and would prefer to be emailed when possible. Or a manager likes to be looped in on all relevant emails by their staff, even if they are not directly involved in the discussion, so that they can maintain an overview of their team. In the work world there are rarely opportunities for members of teams to frankly discuss their personal preferences, and personality testing enables and supports these conversations to give your team confidence when interacting with each other.

Understanding personality test data
If you are considering using psychometric testing to gather information on your team, there are a few key issues to remember. Most important is the understanding that results from psychometric tests are descriptive, not prescriptive. This means that personality data can describe the ways in which a person will tend towards thinking and interacting with others, but does not provide strict rules about how a person will always behave. Each person is different, and while personality testing can be used for broad general information about personality types, individual differences will always be present. This means that personality tests should be used as guidelines and inspiration for experimentation with new communication styles, and not taken to represent a fundamental and unchangeable part of a person.

Further, psychometric tests like MBTI and Insights rely on people’s own judgment of themselves and their self-reporting of these judgments. Therefore the results will only be as accurate as a person’s honesty and self-insight. This is in some ways a strength of the format, as it stems from the belief that people know themselves best. But in some testing scenarios, there is also the opportunity for people to bring in the insights of their colleagues or friends to give them information on how they are perceived by others as well as how they perceive themselves, which can improve accuracy and the applicability of the test results.

Personality data and your team

Once you have personality data about your team, you can use this to optimize and improve your team interactions. Some people erroneously believe that there is one personality type that is best suited to business, or that a team needs to be made up of similar personalities in order to be successful. But this is not the case: a team benefits from a variety of personality types interacting. You can benefit from having both outgoing, social and communicative extroverts as well as thoughtful, interior-focused and introverted members for different tasks. As a manager you can assign roles based on differing strengths, such as assigning your extroverts to client management or networking tasks and assigning detail-oriented conceptual work that needs to be performed by one person to the more introverted members of your team.

Finally, consider the value of understanding not just personality types in isolation, but also knowing how these types will interact with other personality types. With detailed personality profiles like the Insight, you’ll see information on the opposite types of a given personality as well as advice on how that personality will interact with managers and with other colleagues. Being able to predict how your team members will interact with others will allow you to assign duties in a way that maximizes your team’s chances of success.

Find out more about psychometric testing and how personality data can help you to build a stronger team at Discover Yourself: http://discoveryourself.com/

Does wearing a mask in the workplace mean you are “fake”?

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When you are the supervisor or the manager at your workplace, you are being counted on (and paid too) by your employer to effectively teach, manage, and develop the employees they hire. With the uniqueness of humans, no two employees will respond the same way to getting trained, managed, developed, or even disciplined.

Some supervisors and managers just supervise and manage only one way. Sometimes they don’t care and have that “it’s my way or the highway” attitude. Those managers run the risk of burning out after a few years on the job. And some supervisors and managers just don’t know how to manage any other way. These managers won’t burn out, but will only get average work quality from the employees they supervise and manage. Does wearing a “mask” in the workplace make you fake? No. In fact, this is a great way to communicate with different personalities, and to get above and excellent work from your employees.

What does it mean to wear a Mask?

A lot of people wear a mask in the real world and in the workplace for many different reasons. Wearing a mask typically, means that when the person is aware someone is watching them, they tend to wear a different colored mask and not act like their normal selves.

However, wearing a masking mask in our example, is close to the above. But, we are specifically speaking about strategically wearing a different color mask to communicate more effectively with employees who not all may be wired the same.

Looking at this from the Insights Discovery® Color Energies’ point of view

For example, let’s say that you have four employees who lead with either, Fiery Red, Cool Blue, Earth Green, or Sunshine Yellow. An effective supervisor or manager who has the ability of “full and total awareness” would have four different ways of approaching, speaking and communicating with all four of these different personality types. This supervisor or manager is wearing a mask, especially if they normally lead with another color while at home and another color when at work. A not so effective supervisor or manager would address all four employees in one way and most likely, NEVER would truly make a connection with these employees or get their best work.

So as you can see, people wear masks for many different reasons in life, good and bad. With respects to trying to communicate effectively in the workplace with today’s highly diverse workforces, wearing a mask to be more effective, and getting your employees’ best effort, is the a mask worth wearing.

Every organization needs a good mix of color energies and a few people who know how to wear a mask properly. If you’d like help in identifying this person (s) on your team, schedule me, Scott Schwefel, as your keynote speaker, I will come to your group and address the difference of personalities in a truthful, fun, and easy to understand way.  Follow me on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter to share my blogs with the color energies you work with!

How To Recognize Coordinators

idwheelEvery employer’s dream is to have an employee who is dependable, loyal, with high expectations of self.  The next of the eight Primary Insights Types I want to talk about is the Coordinator.  Coordinators explain the exact qualities of the employee listed above.  In this blog I’ll talk more about the qualities of Coordinators, how to recognize them within your organization, and how to capitalize on their inherent skills.

You may already have several Coordinators in your organization and have achieved this without even thinking about it.  They may be the employees who have been with you forever, always do exceptional work, yet they aren’t top of mind because it seems they’re never too anxious to take center stage.  As a mixture of Cool Blue and Earth Green, Coordinators have a high amount of introverted energy.  Coordinators do best with systematic tasks that require precise instruction to do the job right.  Because of their logical minds and a thirst for data, they know they have done the job right when the evidence is tangible.  Be sure you let your Coordinators know how valuable their skills are and and how much you appreciate their work.  Keep their strong and steady loyalty by showing regular support and be careful to not take advantage of their hard work and dedication.  Possessing a high amount of cognitive and sensing abilities, Coordinators expect the same of others.  Because of this, they are unlikely to voice their opinions and ideas, unless asked.  If you initiate conversation and ask for their opinion, you will ensure your Coordinators feel valued and respected, thus increasing their loyalty towards your organization. 

Coordinators are valuable assets to any team.  They are like the strong and gentle hand that guides coworkers to the right decision using facts, logic, and data.  To learn more about Coordinators, contact me, Scott Schwefel as your keynote speaker for your next team-building event.  There’s so much more to learn about Coordinators and how to tap into their brilliant ideas and opinions.  Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter where I share my weekly blog!