I am a fan of using behavioral assessments when they:
ARE used to better understand our natural tendencies and the behavioral tendencies of others.
ARE used to be more self aware – which is what is standing in the way of many professionals.
ARE used to build better relationships with others and communicate more effectively.
ARE NOT used to judge someone´s potential for success of fit in a job.
While each assessment company will tout their differences, almost all of them will meet the goals I have stated above. Several of the more common ones are:
MBTI – Myers Briggs Type Indicator
DISC classic Profile
AVA – Activity Vector Analysis
I have seen others that use animal names and such. Most are based on the same research at their core and will be helpful.
For example, I am an INTP on the MBTI. What does this mean? My tendencies are to be introverted, intuitive, thinking, and perceptive. Those of you who know MBTI might be surprised to see a coach, trainer, and speaker with a style that is punctuated by strong introverted and thinking tendencies. Yep, I´m really just a geek inside 🙂
The point is, that my tendencies help me be a different kind of coach, trainer, and speaker, than colleagues who have extroverted and feeling tendencies. We all bring something to the party and have to compensate for our tendencies in certain circumstances.
But to compensate and augment our natural tendencies, we must know what they are.
Learning more about behavioral tendencies helps us recognize other people´s preferences more quickly and this helps us communicate more effectively.
So here´s my advice: If you have taken one or more of these assessments, that´s great. Revisit the results every now and then and make sure you are using the knowledge to your benefit and growth. If you have not taken any behavioral assessments, ask your training department to arrange this for you (most trainers are certified in one or more of these assessments). It is also a lot of fun and helpful to do this with your team.
For those of you who do not work for a company, there are several places online you can take an assessment. Some have shortened versions of the assessments which are still pretty accurate and are less expensive. www.personalitypage.com has a shortened assessment for $5 that I have used before and gotten fine results (the folks with the longer forms will discount these, but the results are pretty close and just fine for most of us). This website also has lots of reference information you can use once you know your style. For example, you can read more about my INTP style here.
There are no good or bad styles. There are no styles that lead to success or failure. We can all be successful, but might have to learn different skills to round out our natural tendencies. There will be certain environments that will be more naturally stimulating and a better fit for us given our natural tensendies (one of the reasons I like exploratory writing, for example).
Don´t assume that you know what your natural tendencies are. Before I got involved in working with several of these instruments, I would have told you I was an extrovert because I talk a lot for a living. But I am really a strong introvert. I can see this now and distinguish the difference between being comfortable in front of a group and being an extrovert. Knowing this helps me be more successful and happy.
What´s your style?