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Personality Profiling – A waste of time or a valuable development tool?

Filed in Blog by Tracey Davison on 1241 - 1 Comments

Personality profiling - Leadership Blog

Personality profiling as a development tool doesn’t have a great reputation. People tend to either be suspicious (“what if I give the wrong answers or get labelled as a certain ‘type’?”) or dismissive (“it’s nonsense, I know I’m an introvert, what difference does it make to how I do my job?”). If you sympathise with either of these viewpoints, then read on, because knowing your type and how to recognise ‘types’ in other people really does improve performance (honestly).

Improves Emotional Intelligence.
Now widely regarded as the most important quality in today’s leaders, emotional intelligence is: a heightened awareness of your own emotions and the impact they have on your behaviour; an ability to ‘read’ other people’s emotions; and the skills to manage communications and relationships to achieve effective outcomes. Emotionally intelligent individuals display greater empathy, communicate more often and more effectively with colleagues and are far less likely to let emotions dictate their decisions. Personality Profiling improves this by providing a window into your own and other people’s preferences and how these impact the choices you make. Increased knowledge brings increased understanding, like finding out the school bully is actually beaten mercilessly at home by their parents. Whilst we in no way can excuse their behaviour, we immediately feel some empathy towards the bully and have some understanding as to the reasons for their behaviour.

Improves Communication Skills.
The way in which you communicate with others is directly affected by your own preferences and also by your perception of that person. I’ll use the example of an individual who consistently fails to contribute to team meetings. You perceive this as indifference, disinterest and perhaps even laziness. However, when you discover the reason they don’t share ideas is because they prefer to fully evaluate the pros and cons of any idea before sharing it, you change your perception of them and also, your behaviour towards them. Where before you’d reached a point where you no longer sought their opinion, now you speak to the individual before meetings, giving them a chance to think through their ideas in advance. You no longer have a negative perception of the individual, the individual feels more valued, the two of you have an improved relationship and the team benefits from the additional ideas. Additionally, understanding your own preferences and where they differ from other people’s will give you the advantage of being able to adjust your communication methods to heighten understanding and strengthen relationships.

Improves Team Cohesiveness. Team Cohesiveness follows as a natural consequence of heightening emotional intelligence and communication skills. The real benefits lie then in the collective power of that team and the results they are capable of. A team who understand each other, who are sensitive to their collective strengths and weaknesses, will be more flexible and more able to make the tweaks needed to ensure outstanding performance.

Creates a Culture of Development and Improvement. Any development intervention should be symbolic not only of a desire for improvement, but also of a commitment to the person undertaking the intervention. Personality Profiling in particular suggests a desire to more fully understand employees as people, with real emotions. In so doing it promotes a culture in which personal development is encouraged and individuals are valued and supported.

Improves your bottom line. Once you are able to recognise the differences between your own preferences and those of others, you’ll find it’s a skill that transfers easily to all relationships, moving beyond your colleagues, to your suppliers and customers. Since people, and therefore relationships, are at the heart of everything we do (people buy from people after all) it follows that improvements to your bottom line will follow improvements in the effectiveness of your people and their communications. Highly effective teams are more successful than their ineffective counterparts and personality profiling is a tool that can make your people more effective.

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