Choosing An Assessment
The test of a great assessment is its longevity. Or, should I say, the foundation for a great assessment is the longevity of the theory upon which it is built. The assessments I work with extensively are built upon Carl Jung's Theory of Psychological Type, which has been around for about 100 years, and is currently receiving much validation because of what we now understand about the brain and its organization.
One of these assessments, the Striving Styles® Personality System, is just a baby relative to some other assessments. But having been part of the developmental team for this assessment over the last 5 years, it is very near and dear to my heart. And I have an understanding of the power of this tool for development and achieving potential that makes me passionate about using it, and about sharing it with others.
The second assessment which I use extensively is what I consider to be the mother of all personality assessments, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®). This widely-respected tool has been available for public use for more than 50 years. The MBTI is used world-wide and is translated into many different languages. It has numerous applications, and a huge body of supplementary material that supports its use in all aspects of our lives.
Assessment Alone Is Not Enough
To get the most out of your assessment results, you need a skilled practitioner who knows how to interpret the results and will help you to apply the information in your life. This does not mean simply knowing what is "predictable" for you, but, rather, how to recognize what is limiting you based on your personality, which activities are going to be the most difficult for you based on how your brain is organized, and how to develop the mental functions that you will naturally avoid using so that you become competent and confident in their use.
Many individuals who have taken assessments have not been able to utilize these tools to their maximum effect, and may have forgotten what they were told, or dismissed the information as unimportant.
This is simply because there are few practitioners providing assessments and their results who have the background and experience in psychology and human behaviour to apply the information to its full potential. Because of this knowledge gap, they may also struggle to assist clients through the change process, or to identify the behaviours that must be adopted to live authentically and according to personality type.
Personality Assessments Will Help You To:
Understand what is "normal" based on your personality type/brain organization
Identify predictable behaviours, strengths and challenges
Understand individual differences
Take other people's behaviour less personally
Develop your relationships
Improve and enhance communication
Decide on career direction
Improve leadership skills
Understand your workplace needs, strengths and obstacles
“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases."
An essential error we make as human beings is to assume that we are all the same -- that our needs, motivations and drives are all the same, and, therefore, "normal."
As a result, anything we or others do that is different from what is the norm is seen as bad, wrong, dysfunctional, or even diseased. We can spend years focusing on changing characteristics in ourselves because we are told by our culture that they are weaknesses or flaws. We can judge ourselves harshly and damage our self-esteem when unable to achieve the level of "normal" functioning, or when we find things difficult that seem to come easily to others.
We can waste a great deal of mental, emotional, and even physical energy focusing on these shortcomings, rather than developing our innate talents to the maximum of their potential.
Personality Assessments allow us to understand that not all brains are organized in the same way, and that we can often have natural qualities and capacities that are distinctive from other people. They enable us to gain a greater understanding of what may be "normal" for us in terms of those attributes which will come most easily, and which will, predictably, take more effort and energy to develop.
The key benefit of their use is that we are better able to understand ourselves and others, which means we can reduce the judgement that often keeps us at odds with ourselves and the world around us.
Personality Assessments provide an invaluable foundation for understanding oneself. They are not meant to limit or "pigeon-hole" people; rather, they are meant to provide a starting point for understanding the raw material of a person's psyche. Ultimately, to guide our decisions, so that life, relationship and career/work choices can be wisely made to work with one's natural abilities rather than against them.
Nancy Dranitsaris, RP, RIHR, CAHT
Mindfulness and SMART Facilitator
Organizational Consultant and Coach