Personality Assessment

Are Personality Tests Valuable? By Christina Stewart

We think so.  But there is a catch… The Results Must Always Be Used For Good!  Let me explain…

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Personality tests, such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI for those in the biz,) can give folks a super strong sense of who they are and why they behave the way they do. They can also give employers a strong sense of who the employee is, where they may naturally be adept and show the ways that someone may contribute to the team. The problem lies in taking the results at face value, and using those results as a basis for either hiring or not, because there is always more under the surface.  

A great example is with the MBTI.  I am an ISTJ – and I am an ISTJ – I like structure and order and I’m also incredibly reliable.  The risk comes in when, let’s say, an employer may be interested in hiring me to facilitate training. They may see the ISTJ, and assume that I’m too introverted to speak up and move on to another candidate who shows a stronger preference for extroversion.  But what you don’t know about me by only seeing the “I” or the Introvert in ISTJ, is that I actually love public speaking. I adore standing up in front of a group of people and sharing knowledge and having great conversations.  ISTJs can actually be extremely adept at delivering training sessions because they are always incredibly prepared and they’re also information junkies – both attributes would be positive assets to an employer’s training department.

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The lesson here is to use personality assessments to prove what you already and know about someone “Look there is an ISTJ – I knew she seemed like he would be reliable,” and to use it as a way to allow a person a vaster contribution once you do hire someone.  They can provide tremendous value for self-discovery, team building, coaching, enhancing communication, and numerous other developmental applications. But due to limited predictive validity (does this test show how an employer will perform in the future?), low test-retest reliability (will this person answer the test exactly the same each and every time?), lack of norming (can this test be held up against another person’s and show the truth?) and an internal consistency (lie detector) measure, etc., they are not ideal for use in hiring.

Employers with a role to fill who only look at a certain type of person take a big risk in missing out on someone who would be outstanding in a particular role.  Personality Tests can be very valuable when used for good – to build people up, but not to exclude potential employees from their workforce.  They may just miss out on a shining star.

INTP - A Tale of Two Detached Perspectives By Christina Stewart

 

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How they gain energy: Introverted

How they take in information: Intuited

How they make decisions: Thinker

How they deal with the outer world: Perceiver

The INTP is the greatest source of Common Sense there is in Myers Briggs terms.  These Perceivers (P) think in rational terms and expect the world around them to connect logically.  They devour facts and information and are incredibly precise.  If experiences or events around them don’t make sense in a practical way – they dismiss it quite quickly as hogwash which can lead to an impression that the INTP is detached and aloof.  

Even though they are grounded in facts, the flip side of an INTP is the world of theoretical possibilities in which they spend a great deal of their time.  INTPs' thought process is on a constant loop, and their minds are alive with ideas from dawn to…well, dawn. This constant thinking can also have the effect of making them look pensive and detached.

So, how can one person be so grounded in common sense and yet so full of dreaming about what could be? Well, I suppose that’s why these Inuit’s (N) are lauded as “Rational Philosophers.” They dip their toes into both the pool of theoretical possibilities and the pool of common sense.  And as for seeming to be detached – at times they are.  With Thinking (T) as one of their main drivers, INTPs are hard pressed to comprehend emotional stresses at all, and their pals won't find much support in them. Folks with the INTP personality type will head straight to logical, tangible, realistic suggestions to problems – whether the buddy has asked for that kind of guidance or not.

The INTP is also one of the least common personality types in the Myers Briggs type table.  With less than 3% of the population self-assessing this way, these Introverts (I) are truly uncommon.  They are also mostly male, as female INTPs make up only about 3% of all INTPs.  They are also the most likely to be self-employed and are the least likely to be a stay at home parent.  With true independence INTPs have no desire to either lead or to follow.  So don’t even try – you’ll get lost if you follow and they’ll get lost if you try to lead.  I say this from the experience of having married an INTP almost a decade ago.  Which is why I can unequivocally say when you add up all of the quirks that make an INTP and INTP, they make for outstanding partners. 





I am Yoda by Drew Stewart

The newest Star Wars is in theaters today, which I know this for several reasons.

1.       Thanks to the permeation of their marketing and dollars that Disney has put behind this movie, one would need to be living under a rock to not know it exists

2.       I have always been a fan of the franchise and enjoyed all of the movies. I am not a ``super fan" per se but have seen them all, owned some merchandise when I was a CHILD and can offer up the odd quote from the movie.

3.       Lastly I know the movie is out today because my son and a host of other kids from his school are making the special field trip to see it. He has been under strict orders not to give plot spoilers when he comes home 

All of this got me to thinking about what character resonates with me most. Thankfully for entertainment purposes, there are a number of ``What Star Wars Character Are You`` tests online. In my search I found a quiz that is related to the MBTI and took it.  For the uninitiated, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely utilized personality test, which we use in some of our team building sessions.

“Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things.”                                                      Maybe i am a Jedi

“Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things.”                           

                       Maybe i am a Jedi

Now, I already know my personality type to be INTP but took the shortened quiz anyway to see if there was any symmetry and confirmed that not only did it spit out INTP but the character that I am most like is Yoda.  That is pretty good right? He is wise and logical and a pretty chill guy who magically disappears much like I do at a Christmas party. No notice given we just go poof and are gone.

I mean it could be worse; I could be Owen Lars (sorry Christina). The poor ISTJ’s get stuck with the most boring characters. They are not boring people. If you know an ISTJ, tell them you find them interesting and don’t tell them about this quiz.

 If you are looking for a way to entertain family and friends over the holidays, there are many fictional character/MBTI quizzes online. They are fun especially when you know the subject matter fairly well.  I would suggest you just give them a try but Master Yoda and I don’t operate like that.

Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try. 

-Yoda

Team Building with Purpose (part 5 of 5) by Christina Stewart

Team building is a comprehensive theory encompassing different types of activities with a clear purpose. True Team Building with Purpose has both intention and determination.

In the final entry of our five part series we explain team building through problem solving.  In Part 2: Team Building through Personality Assessment, we talked about how the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) uses the differences in employee’s preferences to launch a conversation about how to move forward as a team.  In Part 3: Activity Based Team Building and Part 4: Skills-Based Team Building we spoke about how learning can be overt or covert – but both ways can have positive impacts on the team development. In our final installment we’ll discuss tackling a problem head-on.

Team Building through Problem-Solving

This type of team building activity usually takes place in a retreat setting far away from the regular work environment and is led by an outside facilitator; well versed in mediation and conflict reduction and who must be an impartial third party. In problem-solving-based team building, team members come together to first identify and to second solve a key challenge the group is currently facing.  Problem-solving-based team building is a brainstorming experience that brings to light the team’s barriers to success. Once the symptoms have been elicited, the team goes on to examine possible causes, until they reach the root cause of the problem. At this stage, team members are able to develop a concrete action plan to solve the challenge.

This team building approach has great benefits in term of stress relief and positive emotions towards the work environment. Problem-solving-based team building is an outlet for frustrations and a step forward to action. The team building helps the group move beyond inertia, stay motivated and take control over its own destiny. 

Team building is a comprehensive theory encompassing different types of activities with a clear purpose. True team building is certainly fun but also has both intention and determination – Team Building has Purpose!

Team Building with Purpose (part 3 of 5) by Christina Stewart

We know from reading in part one and part two Team Building with Purpose that team building is a lot more than a frivolous experience; team building is not just a socializing event, team building isn’t just a way to get out of the office for the afternoon. Many people think of team building as fun and games, risk taking adventures, or merely play time. Although there’s more to team building than just that, team building can actually be a ton of fun!

One option is to Team build through Personality Assessment using something like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator to develop a deeper understanding of why we and our colleagues do things the way we do.  And from understanding often comes conflict reduction. 

In Part three of our five part series we walk through activity based team building.  Often, when people think of team building, this is the kind of session they think of.

Activity-Based Team Building:

Activity-based team building is used to provide teams with challenging tasks that often take place in the outdoors:

·         Ropes Course

·         Rafting

·         Mountain Climbing

·         Orienteering

·         Kayaking

·         Survival Events

·         Boot Camp

But there are lots of indoor activities too:

·         Iron Chef Competitions

·         Trivia Battles

·         Scavenger Hunts

·         Video Game Competitions

These kind of activities address specific development needs of teams such as problem solving, risk-taking, trust-building and paradigm breaking.  The idea is not just to have fun together, bond well and learn new skills, but to actually understand how these teamwork lessons can be applied to a work situation. The experience of success in an outdoor challenge can be a great booster for the team’s morale and productivity in the workplace.   

Team Building through Activity can be a tremendous opportunity to bring employees together, see colleagues in a different light and get people working together. Next Entry: Skill Based Team Building

Team Building with a Purpose (Part 2 of 5) by Christina Stewart

Team Building through Personality Assessment – Part 2 of 5

We learned in part one Team Building with Purpose that team building is one of the best investments that an organization can make, but what are some of the options?  What can a company actually do with their team?   In Part two of our five part series we walk through one of those options: Team Building by Personality Assessment. 

Team Building through Personality Assessment:

In personality-based team building, individuals fill out a psychometric test – MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), for example – where they can learn more about their own personalities and those of their teammates as well. The results of the self-assessment are shared with the team and used as a tool for communication and understanding. Personality-based team building is an effective development tool which helps team members gain better self-understanding, become aware of the differences between each other and adjust their behavior to match their teammates’. Different individuals have different motivational needs and different reactions to work situations, stress or change. This can lead people to misinterpret each other’s intentions and actions. Understanding and accepting individual differences will greatly enhance conflict resolution, collaboration and team effectiveness. 

What You Can Expect After a Session – After completion of the MBTI organizations report that they experience:

Improved Communication: A greater understanding of the preferences of others leads to more open and collaborative dialogue throughout teams, between leadership and employees as well as across separate teams of employees.

Improved Team Performance: The insight gained into the preferences of those around you can aid in decision making, training, project management and other workplace initiatives. Also, by understanding the sources of stress for your colleagues team members are better able to aid and avoid pitfalls.

Conflict Resolution: With increased communication and understanding of differences comes a reduction in the nature and severity of usual conflicts within a work environment.  Employees become better at being empathetic colleagues.

Selecting Better Employees and Increased Building of Effective teams: If you understand the underlying dynamics of your teams it becomes easier to hire the right fit as well as to put your teams together.

Team Building through Personality Assessment can be a fabulous way to bring employees together and keep those connections going long after the session ends.

Next Entry: Activity Based Team Building