Do You Really Need A Personality Assessment to Tell You What You Already Know?

Maybe you do. It depends on what you’re looking for and how you will use that information. If you’re taking assessments to learn to be a better version of yourself, then you’ll most likely get value from them. If you find, however, that no matter how many of these assessments you take, you’re never really satisfied with the results because you’re waiting for a personality test to validate you before you take action, then you’re using them wrong.

While there are a multitude of assessments out there, below are descriptions of some of the more popular and reliable assessments on the market today, and what each one is designed to reveal about you.

The Birkman Behavioral Assessment

This is a detailed in-depth assessment that will give you a well-rounded picture of who you are in relation to your motivations, behavior and personality. It is a well-respected and reliable assessment, and is usually administered through a Birkman certified coach or trainer. It’s an extremely detailed and lengthy report, so it’s quite comprehensive. If you’re looking to make some behavior changes, this assessment will give you some interesting insights.

The Hogan Personality Inventory

According to their website, the Hogan assessment “measures qualities that describe how we relate to others when we are at our best.” The purpose of this assessment is to give managers and leadership teams the information they need to evaluate how people work, how they lead, and how successful they will be. If you work for a large company, you may have heard about the Hogan assessment or even taken it as part of a leadership development plan.

The StrengthsFinder 2.0 Report

The Strengths Finder assessment is one of the more popular assessments out there these days. The book is inexpensive and provides you with a code that you can use online to activate the questionnaire. The results of the report come back with your top five themes in order of prominence, along with an explanation for each of the strengths, ways to use your strengths, and examples of how to leverage each of these strengths in a work environment.

The BOSI Profile Report

This assessment was designed to give you information on your entrepreneurial DNA. The report gives you your primary DNA and secondary DNA, with suggestions for how to maximize your DNA to get better results as an entrepreneur or with entrepreneurial projects. There is a free short form assessment on the website along with the option to purchase the more in-depth assessment. There is also a book that dives deeper into the different results you could get in your DNA report and what it all means.

The Fascination Advantage Report

This is an interesting assessment that Sally Hogshead developed to help you measure how the world sees you. It takes the average assessment that measures how you see the world, and turns it on its head. There are two elements: your primary advantage and your secondary advantage. You also learn about your dormant advantage, as well as the sweet spot of your profile, which is your “secret weapon.” This is the space where your primary and secondary advantages intersect. Once you learn how to show up professionally using the skills identified as your “secret weapon,” you can become your highest and best self. The report is pretty inexpensive and quite thorough, and gives you an insight into which traits you possess that would make you more interesting to other people.

A Personality Assessment, What does it all mean?

As you can probably guess, assessments are big business – and big businesses rely on them to get a better understanding of how people work, how to maximize anemployee’scontributions in a work environment, and how to engage employees for higher workplace satisfaction. You could spend years taking these assessments trying to get a better ideaofwho you are, and where you may fit in the larger definition of the term “employee.”

That’s all well and good, but is it necessary and important to your advancement? Well, if you’re taking these assessments to get a better understanding of the kind of person you are, and where you fit when it comes to career satisfaction, the answer is– it couldn’t hurt. In general, these assessments are proven to be effective and anything that helps you get a better understanding of your “self” will make a difference in your personal life and work life.

My suggestion is to start with the free or low-cost assessmentsand compare each of them until you start to see a pattern of results. For example, you may struggle with expressing yourself in certain situationsso you take a number of these assessments, and they return results for introvert tendencies. Ifyou come away with guidelines that help you succeed in situations as an introvert and you start to implement them with success, then you’re using these assessments the right way.

On the other hand, if you go from one assessment to the next looking for the “missing piece” of your personality or behavior that’s holding you back from bigger things because you don’t accept what these assessments are telling you, then you may need to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re just looking for the results you want or, alternatively and more importantly, the results you need. In the end, these assessments are only powerful if we’re willing to take the information and implement it for bigger changes and a better life.

Christina Holloway is a leadership development and business coach. She helps executivesand entrepreneurs grow their companies faster, create results-driven teams, and increase profitability. She is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council, and has been featured inThe Huffington PostAddicted2Success and Fast Company. If you’re interested in working with Christina, take a look at her strategy sessions and contact her to get started.

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