Assessing the assessments, the use of personality assessment tools in the workplace

Aug 29, 2022

So you are at the point where you need a deeper understanding of the aspects of you team and you need an assessment. 

DISC, Myers-Briggs, MMPI, there are so many of them! Why and when do we make use of these tools and to what end?

 One of the quickest ways to break down a team and to initiate drama is to operate under the assumption that everyone sees the world as the same way that you do.  To operate with the idea that your opinion and life experience is ‘the way it is.’  This is not to say that we don’t have a common basis of understanding on how to interpret the world in which we live (example- snow is cold, fire is hot), it just means make sure you know the difference between opinion and facts.

 In the end, we are trying to find out the motivators and core reasons behind WHY and HOW decisions are made.

Understanding how your team experiences the world can make the difference between effectiveness and happiness at work versus misery and drama.  For example- how do we interpret silence from the team members around us? Are they scheming? Unplugging and tuning out? Or maybe they just need some space to recharge?

I learned through my training to not use these personality assessment tools to determine fit for employment in the hiring process, to me it seems biased and unethical.  One tool I have found to be profoundly illuminating is the Enneagram tool.  

Ennea (meaning 9) and gram (meaning drawing or figure) is an archetypal framework that offers in-depth insight to individuals and teams.

I would use these tools as sort of a gift to the new hire and helping them define their lane and how best to communicate with them.  There may be opportunities for personal growth that become evident and lateral moves within the company that benefit everyone involved.  For example, you may not want an Enneagram 5 as a salesman at a car lot.  This person is likely to rattle off 20 pages of data about why certain cars are more relevant for your needs than others, leading to the old glossy stare in the buyers eyes (unless they are also an Enneagram 5 and all about that data!).  This employee might be better suited in the accounting department and to refine in house processes.

Understanding the individual Enneagram reading on each team member allows me to understand the motivations that underlie the behaviors that are often transparent to them because that is ‘the way things are.’  I can understand a better way to communicate to them to get the message through, in an effective way to earn buy in and connect (never for nefarious reasons!).  I also can understand how to recognize strain and what happens when they shut down.  If the team member is open to the coaching, even just reflecting back the dynamic and holding space filled with care can enable them to transcend their negative habits.

Not sure which assessment is for you? To a large extent you end up getting what you pay for with these products.  Free assessments are not always as accurate as ones that cost money.

Reach out for a free consult to learn more!