The discovery that I am mildly introverted was a defining point in my life. The revelation occurred when, as a young professional, I participated in a workshop on personality. Upon completion of the assessment, I reviewed the feedback report, when I was sure I had someone else’s results.
The description of an extrovert did not reflect what I knew about myself, yet it was my result. I learned that day that I was an introvert living as an extrovert based on what I believed others expected of me. This discovery explained my stress, weariness, and lack of motivation. Accepting my introversion and learning to be effective out of who I am was a transformational experience.
Because of that experience, introversion and personality became a topic of great interest to me. The more I learned about personality the more important it became in my personal growth and development as well as my ability to work well with others. While there are other factors that influence actions and interactions, there is no question personality is one of the primary behavioral influences in a person’s life.
There are many assessments that help individuals and groups understand personality. I developed the Team Style Profile to go beyond individual behavioral tendencies by clarifying how individual conduct converges into group patterns. The assessment results in a list of strengths and weaknesses that are specific to that team. I discuss the positive potential of personality for your team’s culture in my article, Four Ways to Create a Positive Team Culture on Young Upstarts web site.
Whether assessing a team or individual, interpreting a personality assessment should be done with three key perspectives in mind.
- Your personality is neutral. Every personality has strengths and weaknesses. Every one. This is true no matter which assessment you use. One personality style is no better or worse than any other, only different. You should not wish for someone else’s personality because you will have to accept its weaknesses to enjoy its strengths.
- Context influences your personality. You may find yourself acting differently in some situations. You make behavioral choices based on many factors, and at times, there may be influences on you that are greater than your personality.
- How you deploy yourself determines your effectiveness. Make sure you control the impact of your personality on self and others. Because your personality is neutral and influenced by context, make sure you are determining its influence on your behavior. Your personality becomes subject to your self-leadership as you understand and accept it.
Many people I work with have taken personality assessments and found them interesting. After that, they put them on a shelf and forgot about them until someone mentions personality assessments. Then they say something like, “Oh yeah, I took one of those, but I forget which one it was.” I hope that is not you.