Behavioural assessments, personality profiling tools (and the difference is definitely for another article!) – there are hundreds out there – but are they simply a bit of fun, or can they make a real difference to the workplace?

Myers Briggs, HBDI, CliftonStrengths, DISC – the list goes on and many of the top companies across the globe use one or more of them to some degree.

Some of these will probably be familiar to you, and if you’ve worked in a corporate setting for any length of time, you’re likely to have even completed one, or a few of these. But do you remember the results? Do you use the findings daily? Do you set intention around them?

I’m guessing for the majority of us – no.

And that’s a shame.

Why are the tests used?

More often than not, the tests are used to give you an appreciation of self, and an appreciation of how you operate in a team.

A lot of the time they will be conducted during leadership development programs.

Some (but certainly not all, and nor should they be) are used as part of a suite of psychometric tests when recruiting. 

Occasionally, they are used for all-round performance development – and this is where the real magic happens.

What’s the problem with the tests?

I know I’ve completed the Myers Briggs assessment, probably the most popular of all of the tools – but I couldn’t tell you what my results were. I certainly haven’t looked at them post-the initial results and certainly don’t use them on a daily basis. 

The reason?

The assessment gave me a snapshot into who I am – which I remember largely agreeing with at that time (the majority of them are scarily accurate!)

BUT,

It gave me no practical or useful action steps as to how to use that information to better my own performance.

I could recognise the traits in me that had been identified but didn’t have the next steps as to how to use those traits to make me a better team member, co-worker, leader etc.

Now, I’m sure there will be many Myers Briggs (MBTI) consultants who can argue exactly why and how it can be used as far more than a ‘nice to know’ but with a base level understanding, personally I didn’t feel I could move the needle forward from the results. 

I single Myers Briggs out because it is largely the most well known but, regardless of which behaviour assessment or personality profile tool we’re talking about, the fact is the same – if you can’t take practical action from them, what’s the point? 

So can you use any of them to benefit the workplace?

Now, full disclosure, I’m an accredited CliftonStrengths coach and my company The Momentum Architects uses CliftonStrengths the majority of the time when training in-house teams in optimising performance so I’m a little (very) biased.

That’s not to say that we don’t bring in others, and that’s not to say that we don’t use it as a foundation and then layer on other tools to enhance team engagement, however, we’ve found it is the most accessible and the one that can most easily positively impact entire team performance.

Many of the others can be used from both an individual and team perspective but many of the others require much more complexity and/or abstract thinking with regards their application.

I’m a huge fan of making life simpler therefore just like the case with technology – the particular assessment or tool needs to work for you not you work for it. Or in other words it should complement and enhance what you’re already doing and enable you to use the insights to take yourself and the team to the next level, not prompt the need to make radical overhauls and re-think everything you’ve been doing up to now. 

What’s the benefit when linked to performance development?

When the team have a common language and a strong foundation of understanding, great things can happen in terms of cohesiveness, engagement and overall motivation.

Using the results of a behavioural assessment to open a conversation around performance and next steps gives some additional gravitas to discussions that can often be a little ‘fluffy’.

Imagine the power as a leader of knowing how your team members naturally think, feel and behave so that you can allow them to reach the same outcomes but in the way that they are most engaged and motivated.

People are not commodities and their motivation, positive or negative can majorly impact the organisation. A team who feel valued, listened to and trusted are a powerful force indeed.

So can using personality profiling or behavioural assessments really benefit the workplace? When used in the right way and with intention – absolutely!

When all team members have a better understanding of who they are, and how each other operate. When everyone has the opportunity to achieve outcomes using talents and traits that come easily to them they are naturally more motivated, engaged and energised, which in turn impacts performance, productivity and ultimately profit. 

Disclaimer: the topics and suggestions discussed on the momentum life project are intended to be general in nature and the information does not constitute individual advice nor take into account your personal circumstances. Always seek the advice of a trained health professional with any questions you may have and before seeking any treatment.