Here’s a personal example of how employee personality assessment profiles can be misleading. Years ago, when I was a sales manager, the company I worked for brought in an expensive management and personality profiler. I wasn’t a fan from the beginning when she arrived late, holding up more than twenty busy managers, and then complained about working past 5 PM to a group who would be working for several hours after she departed.

Regardless, her assessment of my sales abilities finally convinced me to call her out. After taking her personality profile exam, she concluded that I wasn’t cut out for sales. To put this in perspective, I had been a record-setting salesperson and now was managing one of the top sales teams in the nation. She was wrong.

Employee Personality Assessment Profiles Can Be Misleading  

And here’s when and why management assessment and personality profiles don’t work; when they’re taken as absolutes. They don’t work when they’re interpreted too rigidly. Management assessment profiles aren’t always right.

When I facilitate management assessment and personality profiles, I begin by sharing the story above. Then I explain that, at best, these exams might help us understand a little about what makes each of us tick. These quizzes aren’t a be-all and end-all, and they’re not 100 % correct. They can offer small insights into how we react, think, and communicate, which can be helpful.

It’s not an Exact Science

Although management assessments and personality profiles are often based on mounds of gathered data, it doesn’t mean they work the same way for every individual every time. It’s not one size fits all. To attempt to categorize individuals into four or five arbitrary categories is ludicrous. Think about this. Scientists are only in the early stages of mapping the human brain and don’t understand every function and interaction. Therefore, how can we possibly use a quiz or survey to segment folks into groups?

Most Aren’t Straight Forward and Simple

When we present these tests as absolute fact, and pigeonhole employees into categories, it doesn’t work. People are complicated, and one exam will not determine how one person will react in every circumstance. Most of what human beings do isn’t a simple this or that.

Most of what we do isn’t dichotomous. It’s much more complicated. And answering 20 or 100 questions like “Would you rather blank or blank, or blank”? Or, “What best describes me is blank”, can lead us to clues about ourselves — not absolutes. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’d be just as well off consulting the stars or using a Ouija board.

So, How Should Assessments be Used?

You shouldn’t take management and personality profiles too seriously. They should be taken with a grain of salt and not as absolutes. So, be wary of personality and management profile tests. They can be helpful when you use profiles for development, not to define someone. Don’t let a profile define who you are. Use it to help you be a better you because management assessment profiles aren’t always right.

How I Help You?  

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash