Leader Volume 10, Number 2
Testing My Personality
Over the last few months, my
company has made all staff take a series of tests to check our
“personality types.” Many
organizations have used such tests, and the testing people tell us
that these tools have been very helpful.
The results from these tests supposedly will improve our
communication, team playing and creativity.
For instance, someone who has “X” personality traits is
supposed to work and communicate best with other “Xs,” but not
with “Ys.” On the
other hand, mixing an “X” person with a “Y” person
Thus, our managers are to use the
results of these tests to assign people to teams as well as to
decide who should attend various meetings.
This surely is a major benefit to managers. They just have to follow the formulas of the experts who make
up these tests.
If a manager doesn’t know his or her staff well enough to
appreciate who would work best together and who should be paired
in meetings, that manager doesn’t know enough to manage--even
with these tests made up by psychologists with Ph.D.s and other
degrees after their names. These
tests are an artificial crutch.
I also believe the tests do not
provide relevant data. For
instance, I could have answered many questions differently,
depending on my mood at the time of testing.
Some tests ask what we’d do in a hypothetical situation.
I’d bet if an actual
situation, similar to the hypothetical one, came up the responses
would be quite different.
While many managers are now
enthusiastic about this exercise, it will be interesting to see if
these tests, and their results, will be relied upon a year from
now. Probably not,
just another wasted exercise, in time and money, to “improve”
I wonder what the next management
tool is going to be directed our way? Will it, like all the others, be used with enthusiasm and,
soon after, be ignored? Well,
at least the experts are coming out ahead!