Years ago, when I was a sales manager the company I worked for brought in an expensive management and personality profiler. I wasn’t a fan from the beginning when she arrived late holding up more than twenty busy managers and then complained about working past 5 PM to a group who would be working for several hours after she departed. Regardless, what finally convinced me to call her out was her assessment of my sales abilities. After taking her personality profile exam she concluded that I wasn’t cut out for sales. To put this in perspective I had been a record setting salesperson, and now was managing one of the top sales teams in the nation. She was wrong. And here’s when and why management assessment and personality profiles don’t work; when they’re taken as absolutes. They don’t work when they’re interrupted to rigidly. Management assessment profiles aren’t always right
When I facilitate management assessment and personality profiles I begin by sharing the story above. Then I explain that at best these exams might help us understand a little about what makes each of us tick. These quizzes aren’t a be all, end all, and they’re not 100 % correct. They can be used to offer small insights into how we react, think, and communicate, and that can be helpful.
It’s not an Exact Science
Although management assessments and personality profiles might be based on mounds of gathered data, it doesn’t mean they work the same way for every individual every time. It’s not one size fits all. To attempt to categorize individuals into four or five arbitrary categories is ludicrous. Think about this, scientists are only in the early stages of mapping the human brain and don’t understand every function and interaction. Therefore, how can we possibly use a quiz or survey to segment folks into groups?
They’re not Straight Forward and Simple
When these tests are presented as absolute fact, and people are pigeonholed into categorizes, I doesn’t work. People are complicated and one exam isn’t going to determine how any one person will react in every circumstance. Most of what human beings do isn’t a simple this or that, yes or no, black and white. Most of what we do isn’t dichotomous, it’s much more complicated. And answering 20 or 100 questions of would you rather blank or blank, or you’re best described as blank, can lead us to clues about ourselves — not absolutes. If that’s what you’re looking for you’d be just as well off to consult the stars or use a Ouija board.
So, How Should Assessments be Used?
Management and personality profiles shouldn’t be taken too seriously. They should be taken with a grain of salt and not as absolutes. So, be wary of personality and management profile tests. When profiles are used for development not definition, they can be helpful. Don’t let a profile define who you are, use it to help you be a better you. Because management assessment profiles aren’t always right.
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