Manila, 9 January 2019 — Do you take assessments? If not, others will know more than you… about you.
Taking these words at face value today, in our world of big data where so much of what you and I do everyday is being collected and analyzed relentlessly by others, you might conclude that we live in times of great wisdom.
Not necessarily so. Yet today, you can learn more than ever before about the psychometrics of your personality and leadership development.
If you are paying attention, that is.
As you take your growth and development seriously, you probably have already gone through several assessments of your personality, and discovered various aspects such as, for example, your degree of introversion and extroversion.
You might have taken these assessments of your own accord, or they may have been part of a pre-employment screening process for your current or earlier job, or as part of training and teambuilding activities supported by your HR department.
As researchers have discovered over the past few decades and century, the study of human personality traits and behaviors is a complex undertaking.
No single assessment will give you a complete picture of who you are. Rather, each assessment offers a chance to understand yourself, and others, a little better.
Lao Tzu said of such a journey of discovery, “From wonder into wonder, existence opens.”
That’s why I recommend you make it a habit to take assessments regularly if you are keen to develop your leadership.
Generally speaking, psychologists have discovered that certain aspects of your personality are more likely to change during your lifetime than others. Some are genetically influenced, others by your environment and mental programming during your upbringing.
Many can, however, be learned and changed during your life, with study and practice. That’s why we know from modern research that leaders are made.
Because there are so many personality aspects and skills to look at, each assessment tends to focus on only some of them.
You may already have discovered a four-letter descriptor of your personality, first introduced by a mother and her daughter almost a century ago. Called the Myers-Briggs type indicator, it is based on Carl Jung’s psychological insights, and is still used widely today. You can find a modern, free version here.
In our world today, it is not just Facebook and Google that monitor what you are doing , as expressed in the many choices you are making every day in your life online.
People around you can usually tell you a lot about who you are, as ‘who you are’ shows up in your behaviors, communications, and actions. These people can therefore be a great resource to learn from.
If you are keenly interested in boosting your career and leadership growth, it is essential to get regular feedback from people who work with you, through 360-degree multi-rater assessments, or 360s for short.
What you learn from these assessments is how well you know yourself, or not. This where Lao Tzu’s words come back again.
Through the 360 process, you might receive feedback on leadership behaviors that are effective and highly appreciated by others. That’s the good news that can encourage you tremendously.
And, usually, there is some tough news also. You may get feedback on behaviors that are considered ineffective, unpleasant, or downright annoying to others. If not attended to, these behaviors put you at risk of derailing your progress, your career, and your life.
More often than not, these derailing behaviors are in your blind spots, and finding out about them can be a confronting experience. That’s where coaching can help.
Personality and Growing Up
What is less often covered in the common personality assessments is how your behaviors evolve during your life, as you ‘grow up’ and keep finding ways to cope with your particular life conditions as best as you can.
As shown in the work of developmental psychologist Clare W. Graves—and echoed in the research by several others— there is a consistent succession of expanding worldviews that adults tend to embrace and grow into as they advance (grow up) in their life.
Leaders I work with are gaining an understanding of these worldviews and how they show up in their behaviors and communication. This is valuable to them in their work, in a very practical hands-on way. Seven worldviews from Graves’ work are shown in the diagram below, marked with colors.
If you are interested to discover more about ‘where you are at’ in your own personal quest for growth and development, in the context of your personality profile and expanding worldviews, then you’re welcome to contact me about taking a questionnaire that will give you new insights, supported by coaching to help you apply them on your leadership journey.
Assessments will help you discover your personality and, importantly, who you are becoming as you grow to embrace more expansive worldviews. That knowledge is critical in your work and for your leadership development.
Lao Tzu also had a word for people who didn’t pay attention. “If you do not change direction,” he said, “you may end up where you are heading,” even if that derails your success and leadership potential.
Let me know if you have questions.
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