Have you ever thought you were really good at something only to have someone tell you, maybe you’re not? I always thought I was good with people. I mean, I knew that I was not a people person per se, but I knew that and I made up for it. Didn’t I?
A few years ago I was a part of a managers training that was based around personality types. There are many different theories and names for the categories that you might fall into for any given personality type quiz but the options for this training were: controller, analyzer, persuader, and stabilizer.
Controllers are those A-types who want to get things done. One of their weaknesses is plowing forward not taking input from the team like one of those basketball players that score all the shots, at the end of the day the game is won but the controller may not have any friends left. Overall it is in the controller’s best interest to have the other types on the team and to take the time to get their input. The analyzer is the proof reader that fills that gap in the controller’s big picture view, the persuader will have some good alternative ideas, and the stabilizer will be your advocate.
To no one’s surprise I was a controller, not borderline with one of the other types oozing into the mix, but 100% con-troll-er. Some people do not give these types of test much merit. I agree depending on the day, weather, temperature, and what someone just said to you at breakfast, you might end up with a different result on any given day. I argue, however, that if you are completely honest with yourself while taking one of these tests there is a good chance that it will at least partially ring true.
A few months after that first test I was involved in another self-assessment training and we used a different online method that emailed back a list of ratings based on many dimensions and when I got my report back initially I balked at it. But do you know what it said? It said I need to work on my people skills, specifically, it said I was weak in interpersonal skills. I was indignant; this is not possible “I know I am not a people person so I work hard at making up for that.”
Dear reader, I am a scientist and as such I cannot argue with the data. I was a controller who lacked people skills.
So, what did I do? I took some classes in active listening and how to deal with conflict, and mainly I just try to be more mindful of how I interact with people. Learning to recognize traits of those other three personality types in others is a technique to control the controller as well.
I’m still a controller and always will be but it’s my actions that I can regulate and that I am responsible for keeping in check even when I have to wait for an analyzer to come up with their response, listen to options put forth by a persuader, or tolerate hugs from a stabilizer.
If you take one of these tests don’t be too quick to brush off the results if they don’t tell you what you expected them to, if you knew the answers why take the test in the first place?
Laura Thorne is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.