As A Leader, Your Personality Is Everything (Part Two)

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Last week I began discussing the subject of Personality , and why it is important to IT leaders. Your personality is your personal brand and it’s how people, particularly your followers, will expect you to behave. Your behaviors are the root of your leadership style, and consistent behavior is what makes that style predictable by followers. Therefore, your behaviors and your personality are closely linked. But how do you know what your personality is?

This might sound like an odd question – most people will believe that they know themselves, and how they would describe their personality. You know what though, we don’t always have the same view of ourselves as others do. For the people who behave most inconsistently, this effect is amplified . The answer to the question "Is my view of my personality the same as others views of my personality? " is to assess our personality using a framework, and then to get feedback on the views of others. In this article, we will be looking at how we assess our own personality.

Our personalities, and therefore our behaviors, are very complex . More complex than there are words and pages to describe them, because our personality is formed by our unique experiences from early childhood. There are models and frameworks that give us a way of assessing our personalities to make the job simpler. Such a framework is the Myers-Briggs model, so named because it was orginally created by two boffins called Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. Using the model tells us our preferences in how we view the world, which shapes and defines our personality. Each preference is in a ‘continuum’ between extremes (or dichotomies). I think the explanation on Wikipedia does this justice far better than I could describe it, so you should take a look at this wiki to learn more about the Myers-Briggs model.

You can take a Free Personality Test at the website – it takes only a few minutes and you get instant results. Take the test, you might surprise yourself. I did – here are my results:

As you can see by these results, I am suited for this vocation of writing, counseling, coaching and mentoring .

These systems are not perfect . Because they’re really squeezing a complex thing such as your personality into a small number of parameters, we shouldn’t pigeon-hole ourselves into specific behavioral types. They are a guide, but they are a representation of how we perceive ourselves. This is important…

Let’s say I had decided to be in Sales. A typical salesperson is outgoing, sensitive to clients needs, applies logic to find the right solution for clients, and uses judgment of how to sell. Looking at my chart, that isn’t me! I would be in the wrong job and an unsuitable career path, wouldn’t I? OK, there maybe special circumstances where someone with my personality is right for a particular product or client but in general I don’t think I would make a success of it.

My personality profile is a useful guide on assessing my suitability for a job, task and situation. Can you see how powerful this is for me?

If I had been unawares of my personality profile, I may have been stuck in a career that made me miserable. It certainly would be a career where I could not be a high performer and probably wouldn’t have many followers.

I urge you to take this test and look at your results. Compare them against the personality profile you would expect for someone in your job. If it’s close to your expectations then that is great confirmation that you’ve probably found your true vocation in life. If not, then perhaps consider what roles that someone with your perferences, skills and experience will succeed in.

Next week, we’ll be looking at how others perceive you by examining the process of personal feedback .

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6 thoughts on “As A Leader, Your Personality Is Everything (Part Two)”

  1. We have a mentoring program and Emotional Intelligence (EI) has been the recent focus. I really have discounted the role of personality for many years, being a more centralized manager by nature. However, this last year while working with my coach and peer coach, I now understand the value of understanding your own personality, the personality of others, and the effect it has on teams.

    It has almost been like looking at the world through a different lens and seeing the real impact on people.

    I am finishing a book, Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, and it is not directly on personality, but it has given me some keen insight into my strengths and personality traits.

    I agree with you that once you gain some understanding of self, you are able to make better career choices and improve peer interactions.

  2. Mark McClure Coaching

    @Michael – I read the Strengths book but as it wasn’t my own copy I didn’t qualify to take their online test (nice business model, btw!)

    Are you able to share what EI assessment tools were effective in a IT employee mentoring context? Would make a good blog post or series!

    @Simon – you are the classic IT introvert? πŸ˜‰ While I agree that well designed testing has merits, a part of me (the sensitive thinker haha!) always has some internal (!) doubts that this is likely to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, or whatever the equivalent psychological term for that is…

    I also sometimes wonder how much our observed “personality profile” is likely to adapt/change with experience and over time.

    In other words perhaps there is an ace Simon the IT Sales guy “in there” but your current life path, choices and experiences have blocked him off for the time being… πŸ™‚

    The most useful careers test I’ve taken for many years was Ed Schein’s Career Anchors assessment. A paid service but worth it imo. I wrote about it here:

    I’ll make a note to take that Myers Briggs you mentioned.

  3. @Mark – I agree these systems aren’t perfect but they help us approximate our preferences. I think it’s also important to remember they are preferences and don’t suggest inabilities. My test tells me I am naturally quiet and slightly introverted, but that doesn’t mean I don’t party or can hold the attention of a room, which I can! I think I could be a successful sales guy but I think I would need to work very hard at first to overcome my natural tendencies!
    I’ll check out that Careers Anchor assessment.

  4. @Mark
    I will post my finder report on my blog…as soon as I find the PDF file again. The assessment is general in nature, but gives someone an easy place to start looking into their strengths.

    I though it pegged me well. I shared it with a colleague who agreed with the findings. Interesting stuff.

  5. Pingback: Career Personality Tests And The Computer Technology Professional | Mark McClure Today

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