You’ve got a ton of personality…but is it the right kind of personality?

Have you met some people in your life that you just seem to “click” with and others that – no matter how hard you try – you never seem to get along with?

In your personal life this is often okay; you can minimize your contact with the people who don’t “get you.” But in business, you usually have no choice. You have to function together as coworkers or in a client relationship.

When you don’t have a natural affinity for each other it’s like you’re both speaking different languages. You each misread body language and tone of voice. Even when you’re trying to achieve a common goal, you can end up feeling that you’re working against one another.

The reason for this is often that our personalities and communication styles don’t meld harmoniously, however we can wrongly jump to the conclusion that the other person doesn’t like us or is working against us for some reason.

To be very successful in business, you need to be able to work well with those who aren’t a natural fit and to achieve this, you need to first understand your own personality and see it in the context of other personalities. Knowing how you’re “wired” and how others may be “wired” will help guide you when you need to work with or lead others. In today’s business environment, where a premium is placed on collaboration, being able to “work and play well with others” is a baseline requirement.

A wide variety of personality assessments have been developed and marketed over the years such as:

  1. Myers-Briggs,
  2. Strengthsfinder,
  3. Keirsey Temperament Sorter, and
  4. Big Five Personality Assessment.

Individuals can take samples of the last two items on the list for free; there is a cost for the first two. And this brings us to an important point: There is certainly benefit from understanding your strengths and weaknesses, but getting your entire team on board will bring greater progress. However, in addition to those four assessments, I want to point you toward one other, DISC, which may be the best choice for the work environment.

DISC is an acronym that stands for the attributes of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. I think you can tell just by looking at those attributes how powerfully they impact the workplace. These attributes are placed over what are called two “drivers.” The drivers are “pace” and “compass”:

  • Pace Drive or motor drive is the continuum between outgoing/fast paced and reserved/slower paced.
  • Compass drive or priority drive is the continuum between being task oriented and people oriented.

The DISC system is often used to improve leadership and coaches like those in Brian Tracy’s FocalPoint coaching program are known to rely on the DISC personality tests and its results with their clients. You can Google “free DISC personality test” and find several sites where an individual test is offered at no cost. You’ll find yourself answering a series of questions or responding to a series of statements. They aren’t lengthy tests, so don’t worry about spending a lot of time on any of them.

Of course, you can have your team members take the tests as well. It’s a good starting point, especially if you plan to go down this path further to bring your team close together. I think the first step of working with personality assessments in the workplace, is to get buy-in from your employees.

Have them experiment with one or more tests so they understand the process and can see how results reflect their thoughts and actions. At that point float the question of whether or not your team believes they might benefit as a group were they to pursue the process further. If so, then it begins to morph into their idea and you can run with it. It will require a financial investment in additional assessments/reports or in a consultant to make the best use of the information revealed in a personality test.

Let me also say that this process will allow you, as the leader of your company, to put people into the positions where they can be the most effective. If some individuals are identified as risk takers, for example, they are probably the ones to send out with the mandate of opening new territories for your company.