When I recently started a new project with a coworker with whom I don't often work closely, I immediately noticed some differences in how we communicate.
First, while I prefer to spend some time catching up and making small talk, she wanted to dive straight into the work. She also seemed more observant and thoughtful in her responses, which made her difficult to read, and I found myself wondering during our initial meeting, Does she like me? and Am I communicating my points clearly?
Additionally, I noticed she preferred to shoulder many of the responsibilities herself. She'd often make comments like, "I can just do this myself, if you want, and then we can go from there."
From my perspective, her behavior seemed cold, distant, and even a little rude. That is -- until we shared our DiSC profiles with one another.
My colleague is a strong CD. Here's an excerpt from her profile: "Because you have a CD style, you probably take an efficient, no-nonsense approach to your work. Like others with the CD style, you may come across as somewhat restrained and difficult to read when you first meet someone."
I'm an iS, so my profile, on the other hand, reads something like this -- "Because you have an iS style, you're probably a very warm and sociable person who reaches out to others with your friendly, laid back approach. You make time for casual small talk and tend to have an open-door policy."
After reviewing our DiSC profiles, our relationship quickly became stronger, and more efficient.
For instance, I recognized my colleague's desire to avoid wasting time with small talk, so I limited conversation unrelated to the topic at-hand. On the flip side, I noticed my coworker made a more genuine effort to create connection with me, beginning each meeting with "How's your day going?"
By understanding our strengths and weaknesses from an unbiased, test-based perspective, my colleague and I were able to understand why we work the way we do, and both of us became more open to the other's approach.
Personality tests are an undeniably useful tool for creating a stronger, more efficient team. Personality tests can help you learn about your colleagues' communication styles, preferred style of feedback, and even how to modify your own attitude towards personalities that might clash with yours.
Here, we've cultivated a list of five types of personality tests to help you learn more about your team members. You might already use some in your workplace, but others -- like the Love Languages quiz -- might surprise you.
One of the oldest personality tests available, Myers-Briggs is a classic, dating back to the 1940's and inspired by Jung's personality theory. Essentially, the Myers-Briggs test separates people into 16 categories of personalities, providing insights into general strengths and weaknesses, desires and ambitions, communication styles, how people perceive you, and how you see the world.
For instance, let's say you find out your manager is an INTJ, described as "skeptical and independent, [and] have high standards of competence and performance."
On the other hand, you're a ESFJ -- "Warmhearted, conscientious, and cooperative. Want harmony in their environment, work with determination to establish it."
More likely than not, these insights can help you understand why conflict might arise between yourself and your manager. Perhaps your manager has difficulty delegating, and oftentimes ends up finishing projects herself rather than giving them to you. Since you're cooperative and desire harmony, you don't push back and ask for more tasks than you're given.
By better understanding each other, hopefully you and your manager can recognize the situation from an unbiased perspective. Your manager might realize, through her Myers-Briggs results, that she needs to lower her skepticism and trust you're capable of meeting high-expectations. At the same time, you might realize your warmhearted nature is holding you back from asking for more responsibilities, even though you know you can handle it.
The DiSC assessment determines where you lie on four DiSC factors -- dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance.
DiSC is one of the most popular and authoritative career assessments out there, and many companies, including HubSpot, encourage their employees to take it.
The DiSC asks you to complete a series of questions, and then provides you with a PDF report on your behavior and personality -- best of all, the report provides you with tips on how you might work better with others.
The DiSC profile can help you and your team members become more self-aware of each other's intrinsic motivations, and potential areas of conflict. Among other things, the DiSC profile provides you with information regarding your team members' communication styles and priorities.
For instance, you might learn your manager prioritizes connection, which is why she often begins 1:1s with casual small talk. In comparison, you might figure out your own personality values efficiency, which is why you feel antsy after five minutes of "wasted" 1:1 time. Figuring out these differences is the first step in solving for them.
If you've only got a few minutes to spare, this is a fantastic (and speedy) test to help you learn about your strengths and weaknesses and how they can be applied to the workplace.
After you fill out the worksheet, simply add up the numbers to figure out which letter (L, O, G, B) represents your dominant personality type -- this letter reveals your natural workplace strengths, weaknesses, and how you will respond in most situations.
The test results also include information such as motivations, communication and decision-making styles, and how you react to tense situations. For instance, an "L" (which stands for Lion) is known to make impulsive decisions, and in tense situations, takes command. A "G" (Golden Retriever), on the other hand, makes decisions slowly, and in tense situations, often gives in to opinions or wishes of others.
This information is undeniably useful if you have a few L's and a few G's on your team, and want to create space for both types of personalities to be heard.
More likely than not, The 5 Love Languages is the test you're most surprised to see on here. While undoubtedly useful for figuring out your romantic partner likes gifts or your best friend needs quality time, how can you use this test in a professional capacity?
Christina Perricone, Content Marketing Manager at HubSpot, addresses this discrepancy -- "Love languages are often overlooked when it comes to the work environment but they can tell you a lot about your team. The test is based on the idea that each of us has a unique way in which we receive love and appreciation from others."
"Since each of us is a complete person, there is often little variance between our actions at home and at work. The way someone accepts love in their personal life is similar to how they receive praise and criticism at work."
Perricone adds, "Love languages will help you understand the unique ways that your team members accept feedback and how they form close bonds with others. When applied, the end result is a tailored work relationship that promotes harmonious collaboration and psychological safety."
Since each of us will likely spend 1/3 of our lives at work, this makes sense -- why not go the extra mile to ensure each of your team members' feels appreciated for their work?
For instance, you might find some of your team members like words of affirmation, while others prefer receiving gifts. Perhaps, then, you put a package of cookies on one coworker's desk after she hits a workplace milestone, while you write a thoughtful note to another.
Ultimately, personality tests can help you uncover your own hidden motivations or perceptions of situations and can help you connect better with your team members, and lead better, as well. Try one (or a few!) of these to create a stronger, more engaged team today.