If I am honest I used to be really sceptical about personality tests. I put them in the same category as pointless management speak and seemingly endless anagrams. If that sort of thing makes you happy great, but I don’t fit into your box and don’t see how it will affect my life.
That was, until recently. A shift has happened in my life recently that I began to describe in a recent blog post. I have discovered a value for being strategic, a value that has always been there but I have not always directly applied to my life. I am learning a lot from a recent trend at school towards understanding people.
The goal in all that we are currently learning is to grow as leaders. One key to good leadership is to know yourself really well. Particularly your strengths. I have always been relatively self aware and yet have rarely found the language to describe the way I think and act. As part of a recent assignment we took both the DISC and Myers-Briggs.
After initial frustrations at the questions I was being asked and wrestling with some nasty websites I ended up with some results. For me it didn’t really come to life though until we got some teaching from Danny Silk on the topic. He freed me up to realise some important things. Firstly I think we are all actually a lot more predictable than we might think we are. One tool we looked at was DISC which measures your personality traits as it relates to four typical groupings: Dominant, Influencer, Steadfast, Conscientiousness. As Danny shared humorous examples of the different DISC personalities we all laughed knowingly as we recognised clear traits in our own lives and in those around us. It was scarily easy to see similarities in the way we act. It’s broad brush strokes since there are only four categories but the reality is we are all a combination of these at some level.
Danny described how tools like DISC are not there to bind us or put us in a box. Instead they illustrate some of the ways we work. Understanding how other people on your team think, face problems and communicate is invaluable. When it comes to personal development the goal is not to stay in our personality box. Maturity of character requires us to adopt the strengths of other personalities when required. Jesus demonstrated all sorts of personality attributes in his life. He was perfectly balanced. There will be times when a quieter person needs to be more dominant. There are times when a more dominant personality needs to be quiet to let others contribute. Maturity means knowing ourselves well enough to restrain our strengths and recognise our weaknesses. The truth is that all personality types can be powerful leaders. It doesn’t look the same but our potential is not limited by understanding some of the ways we are wired.
Understanding yourself and others in teams where you work is invaluable in leadership. Personalities are not labels that limit people or excuse poor behaviour. Maturity encourages a breadth of character and we all act differently in different environments.
Here are my results for those who know how to interpret them:
DISC: Dominant (3%) Influencer (34%) Steadfast (37%) Conscientious (26%)
Remember though, you can’t put me in a box!