Personality Tests: When we find Gold what should we do with it?

Photo Credit: Rachel Sapp

Photo Credit: Rachel Sapp


Personality profiling tests are very common these days and many companies are interested in using them to gain a profile of their teams. I’ve spoken before about how self-awareness is one of the most important attributes of leadership but the same can be said for any of us. Having an understanding of who we are and what makes us tick is very important.


For anyone who is unsure of what I’m referring to you may have heard of tests such as the ‘Myers-Briggs Type Indicator’ or the Carl Jung Personality type tests. There are others available too. In Layman’s terms these tests help to become a little more self-aware, understand your social interactions and see where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

Typical outcomes might tell you whether you are an introvert or extrovert, which types of social scenario you feel most comfortable and how you work with others.

The tests are great for individuals and also teams. By understanding your social interactions and those of others you can see quite clearly how to manage different roles within teams to gain maximum performance outcomes.

At the back end of last year I was speaking to staff at one of my client’s companies. Recently all staff had undertaken a personality profiling exercise. “What did you find out?” I asked.

“I’m a red, and all my team are reds pretty much,” was the reply.

“Great, so what did that mean for you guys?” I inquired.

“Not much, we’re all pretty similar.”

This was a strange conversation. I was surprised to hear that the team had all this information and hadn’t done anything with it.

I then spoke to someone else I work with regularly. He’d also undertaken a similar type of test only to find that thereafter the information hadn’t been used in the commercial setting. In fact, what was worse, was that the tests had revealed ‘weaknesses’ for individuals with no advice on how to cope with this information. His test feedback had informed that he took criticism personally.

If we think about how this could impact on the person who was an extremely capable and talented individual. Information like that above given to the a person at the wrong time, or lacking any advice on how to process it, can have a detrimental impact on that person and the organisation. Potentially de-motivated and disconnected from the organisation and their work.

What’s the alternative? Given the right support after this sort of feedback, could have meant weeks and months more of realised potential, and productivity. A positively engaged and high performing member of your team.

Personality and psychometric testing is a great way to help your business advance. It can help planning for the future, for example a talent pipeline, or ensure team projects have the right members. They can be enlightening tools for staff, helping them to identify blind spots and enhance their own performance subsequently. Self-awareness, after all, is the key to improved performance.

Next time you consider using profiling or assessment tools what might we do differently to get the results we intended in the first place? What happens if we don’t?

Lets find Gold and invest it wisely.