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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 41q.com – 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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