Taking Steps toward Leadership

What fun.  Another Assessment.  I hate those things on Facebook, you know the ones:  Which Harry Potter character are you?  What kind of animal would you be?  What century should you have been born in?  Oh for heaven’s sake.  I guess those things are supposed to provide insight into our inner beings.  Then we post them to the internet so everyone knows which Star Trek character I am.  We had to do the Meyers/Briggs assessment for one job I held. We did the Colors of personality by Boelke for another position I held (though that was fun!)  We did the STAR personality assessment by Hoyt which proved very helpful in my business.  Meyers/Briggs is exhaustive, and exhausting, and statistically less helpful than you would imagine.  Why?  Because the finer the sieve, the less distinguishable the traits.  I am characterized as an INFJ: Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging.  This would come as a surprise to most who know me.  Each of these opposing trait pairs:  Extroverted/Introverted, Sensing/Intuitive, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving can be combined with each other to get a picture of who you really are.  It’s based on how you make decisions.  I think my decisions are more situational than predictable.

The Colors of Personality makes me out to be a Green–Intellectual, finding books more comfortable than people, my favorite question is “why” and I need lots of personal space.  The STAR assessment makes me a T–a techie or Trekie depending on the audience.  Now I have had to take another assessment test…the Strengths-Based Leadership by Clifton.  What are my strengths?  Learning, Individualization, Connectivity, Belief and Achievement.

If you combined all those attributes, would you get a sense of me?  How would you picture me?  What kind of speaker would I be?  How would I coach someone?  How would I react to set backs?  What kind of people would I associated with?  What would my interests be?  What kind of clubs would I belong to?  To get the real measure of a person, you have to know them.  What kind of values do they have?  What is their character like?  Are they truthful, patient, helpful? What kind of experiences have they had?  Where have they traveled?  What kind of education do they have?  What kind of activities do they participate in?  When you go into an interview with a prospective employee, do you give a test first?  There are things on the resume that don’t give you the full measure of the person.  Giving the test would give you an incomplete picture since there is no guarantee that the person would be responding truthfully rather than how he/she thinks you’d WANT him/her to answer.

I find the tests fascinating.  All the T’s get together in the corner and give each other Virtual High Fives…so that they don’t have to actually touch each others while the R-Relationship people are in the corner holding hands and singing Kum Ba Ya.  The INFJ is standing by himself in the corner taking notes on the behavior of everyone else in the room and the ESFJ’s  are trying to get the INFJ involved in Beer Pong.  The Golds in the room are discussing how to organize the next event so everyone gets food, and the Reds are ordering pizza on their Iphones.  I might know what kind of behavior to expect if I knew ahead of time what color or letter or set of letters everyone was when I walked into the room.  That NEVER happens.

What all these tests and assessments do is put people into a characteristic box…and we’re back to Facebook.  Are you the cold calculating Defense against the Dark Arts teacher with a secret love story?  Or are you the seemingly batty 2nd Sight teacher who occasionally has a burst of really important prophesy that comes up only when the right people are in the corner listening?  Are you a Centaur or a Chimera?  Are you the lead guitarist or the bass player?  Are you Colossus or Dead Pool?  What difference does it make?!

How do others see you?  What do you show them?  Do they get a sense of your character?  Your sense of humor?  Your experience or intelligence?  How do you see yourself?  The challenge is to make what others see closer to what you are and how you see yourself.  The tests and assessments are just a vague outline, a vapor of a shadow, a starting point to who you really are, and how you see others as well.  Ask good questions and get a deeper understanding of each other!


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