Why personality tests are useless
One of my favourite expressions is “Know thyself.” I’ve always been a fairly introspective person. I’ve been fascinated with my own psychology as well as understanding why others behaved the way they do. When I moved into management roles, this curiosity served me well. In any type of leadership role, it’s important to understand why people behave the way that they do, what motivates them, and how best to communicate with them.
So how do you know these things about people? One way is to ask, but you will find that people are terrible at accurately verbalizing these types of details about themselves.
If you work with the person for long enough you may start to observe some patterns, but this can be a slow and unreliable approach.
Personality testing has become popular, but unfortunately, they are unreliable. Have you ever taken a Myers-Briggs test? They can be fun, but should not be used for business purposes. The test is based on largely debunked theories from Carl Jung in the 20s. For the gory details, you can read this article. For the TL;DR crowd here is an excerpt.
“ Several analyses have shown the test is totally ineffective at predicting people's success in various jobs, and that about half of the people who take it twice get different results each time.”
“This isn't a test designed to accurately categorize people, but rather a test designed to make them feel happy after taking it. This is one of the reasons it's persisted for so many years in the corporate world after being disregarded by psychologists.”
DISC behavioural profiling is different than the standard battery of personality tests. Personality is subjective and can be highly influenced by your state of mind, environment, and other external factors. While Myers-Briggs results will vary from week to week, DISC tends to remain static for 3-5 years. DISC, unlike Myer-Briggs, IS based in science. The results are shockingly accurate and reliable. The most common feedback I get from having people do a profile is, “Spooky,” or “Bang-on.”
Do you use any personality or behavioural profiling in your hiring or staff management process? If you’d like to profile your team and find out what makes them tick, please get in touch and we can review.