While personality tests for employees can provide valuable insights into unique traits and work styles, critics raise several concerns. Some argue that these tests may oversimplify complex human behavior, lack reliability, and validity, and suffer from self-report bias.
Additionally, there’s a concern Assigning individuals to personality types may encourage stereotyping, pigeonholing, limit growth, and lead to unfair treatment. Critics doubt the practicality of assessments, suggesting they may not offer actionable insights or benefits in the workplace.
Despite concerns, personality tests can improve workplace performance when used responsibly and alongside other tools. Plus, the way organizations use assessments is changing; assessment data can now be used dynamically rather than remaining a one-time, static transfer of information.
Ever since their inception, assessments have been a static, one-time experience. Meaning users complete a list of predefined questions that translate into a final score that lives on in perpetuity… Thanks to automation, asking additional assessment questions over time is becoming feasible. Assessments can be refined as users engage in additional contexts, such as interactions with specific colleagues or while dealing with certain challenges. – Scott Dust, Forbes Council Member
A balanced approach to tests, while considering their limitations, provides valuable insights into employees’ strengths, motivations, and preferences. And understanding your employee’s personality inventory can help ensure they are in roles that are an ideal job fit.
For example, a more introverted person who doesn’t like speaking in public will most likely not get a job that requires them to do so. Having the right personality for the job or organization will result in a better job fit and bring many benefits—including reduced turnover. – peopledynamics.co
By tapping into the power of these assessments, managers and coworkers can enhance understanding, strengthen collaboration, and reduce conflicts. Embracing assessment tools in the workplace can ultimately lead to a more successful organization and unlock your team’s full potential.
Assessment tools can enhance understanding, strengthen collaboration, reduce conflicts, and unlock team potential for a more successful organization.
Consider relevance, validity, ease of use, and actionable insights when selecting assessment tools for employees.
A balanced approach to personality tests can provide valuable insights into employees’ strengths, motivations, and preferences, helping to ensure an ideal job fit.
Learning how to “treat others how they want to be treated” can improve communication, relationships, and team effectiveness.
The Purpose of Personality Tests For Employees
Ideally, personality tests help organizations provide a common language, improve communication, reduce tension, reveal strengths/weaknesses, and identify growth opportunities.
When employees understand their personality traits and those of their colleagues, they can approach each other more effectively. This can transform potentially tense situations into constructive conversations.
Assessments can also be used as tools for personal and professional development. They help individuals understand themselves, manage their behavior, and learn how to adjust their communication style according to their teammates’ preferences.
8 Benefits of Personality Assessments in the Workplace
Increase Communication: By gaining insights into their and others’ personality traits, team members can effectively express their needs and better understand how to work toward shared goals.”
Encourage Collaboration: By helping teammates understand the unique strengths, motivations, and communication styles of each other, you can create a more collaborative and harmonious culture.
Personal and professional development: Self-awareness can catalyze personal and professional growth.
Psychological safety: When individuals feel understood and can communicate in their most natural state, they experience a higher level of psychological safety, which is essential for a successful workplace.
Strengthen Trust: When teammates understand each other’s personalities and motivations, they can build stronger relationships and trust, fostering a more supportive and cohesive environment.
Boost Productivity: You can enhance team productivity and performance by leveraging each person’s strengths and adapting your communication style to their needs.
Employee Satisfaction: When individuals are encouraged to utilize their strengths and align their work with their passions, they are more likely to be satisfied and engaged with their jobs, leading to increased retention and a more positive work atmosphere.
Team Building: Understanding each person’s motivations and strengths can help you create more balanced and effective teams. Managers can assign tasks that align with each member’s skills by recognizing and leveraging individual talents.
It turns out the golden rule of “treat others how you want to be treated” can be taken a step further in the workplace. Instead, strive to “treat others how they want to be treated” to improve communication, strengthen relationships, and increase team effectiveness.
Enhancing Collaboration and Personal Development through Situation Awareness
Understanding your situation is crucial in moving from self-awareness to successfully collaborating with others. By recognizing that there are different ways you can behave regardless of your natural tendencies, and considering factors such as urgency in communication, asking more questions, or being mindful of the words you use when giving critical feedback, you can significantly improve the collaboration within your team.
Operating with minor adjustments, where you invest a little extra energy to behave differently according to your teammates’ needs or the situation, is called personal development and self-management. This is the ultimate goal of providing personality tests for employees – to comprehend yourself, your team, and your situation and to manage your behaviors, expectations, and actions accordingly. This ensures the most positive, fruitful, and forward-moving outcomes for your team and yourself.
Recognizing what makes you exceptional and choosing to act differently out of kindness, generosity, collaboration, and the desire to achieve more can make you more effective and thrive at work and in your personal life.
Assessments are tools for understanding all your options, enabling you to make the best choices and achieve the desired outcomes. By increasing emotional intelligence, you can unlock your full potential and become a more effective leader, teammate, and individual.
Free Playbook For Creating An Engaging Employee Experience even During Challenging Times
4 Keys To Selecting the Right Personality Tests for the Workplace
When choosing assessment tools for your employees, consider the following factors:
Relevance to the workplace: Ensure the test focuses on traits directly impacting work performance and collaboration.
Validity and reliability: Select tests with strong scientific backing, as they are more likely to provide accurate and consistent results.
Ease of use and interpretation: A good test should be easy to administer and understand. This helps individuals quickly apply the insights they gain to their everyday work interactions.
Actionable insights: The best test results provide practical recommendations for improving communication, collaboration, and team performance.
Top 5 Workplace Personality Assessments to Optimize Team Performance
The top five assessments that can significantly enhance collaboration and performance in the workplace are:
The 16 Types assessment, based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), measures mental habits and decision-making engines. It’s invaluable for understanding how individuals consume information, learn, and reach conclusions. By recognizing these habits, you can foster buy-in, minimize miscommunication, and build trust within your team.
DISC is a quick and easy-to-remember assessment that measures four traits: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. By observing your team’s communication styles and level of activity in conversations, you can better understand their needs and motivations. Adjusting your approach based on their DISC profile can improve collaboration and productivity.
The Enneagram is a versatile assessment that can serve as a lens for understanding socio-emotional motivators. By identifying these drivers, you can comprehend why individuals behave differently when pursuing the same goals or facing the same challenges. The Enneagram also provides insights into group dynamics, decision-making environments, and conflict resolution, making it a powerful tool for promoting teamwork.
Strengths-based assessments, such as CliftonStrengths®, Strengthscope, or VIA, help individuals tap into their innate talents and abilities. Employees can become more passionate and energized about their work by activating and developing these strengths. Leveraging the strengths of your entire team can create a synergistic environment that fosters a high-performing and engaged workforce.
The VIA (Values in Action) Strengths assessment is a tool that measures an individual’s character strengths. It focuses on 24 character strengths, organized under six virtues: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence.
You can create a more positive and strengths-based team by identifying and leveraging individual character strengths by supporting employees in using their unique qualities to contribute to the organization’s success.
When teammates understand and appreciate their colleagues’ unique abilities, they are more likely to support and complement one another. In addition, this understanding can encourage a growth mindset, as team members can learn from each other’s strengths and work on their weaknesses.
Personality tests for employees are essential tools in the workplace, as they can reveal diverse aspects of an individual’s character, work preferences, and motivations.
What Insights Do Different Personality Assessments Reveal About Employees?
16 Types (MBTI): Offers insight into how employees process information, learn, and make decisions. Managers can effectively assign tasks and optimize workplace dynamics by understanding how an individual’s brain works.
DISC Assessment: Focused on observable behavior, DISC identifies distinct work styles, making it an invaluable tool for managers to understand and support their employees. It’s beneficial when time is limited, and a quick evaluation is needed.
Enneagram: This assessment delves into the underlying motivations that drive an individual’s behavior. By comprehending these driving forces, managers can tap into their employees’ strengths and provide tailored support, leading to improved performance and job satisfaction.
Strengths Assessments: These identify employees’ unique talents that, when developed, result in exceptional performance. Recognizing and leveraging these strengths can help employees excel with less effort, ultimately benefiting the entire team.
Leveraging personality tests for employees is a powerful way to unlock your team’s full potential and create a thriving culture. By understanding each team member’s unique strengths, motivations, and work preferences, you can foster collaboration, minimize conflicts, and ensure that tasks are assigned in a way that maximizes performance and job satisfaction.
Cloverleaf offers a range of assessments, including free options. We recommend starting with 16 types, DISC, Enneagram, and strengths assessments. These can provide valuable insights into team strengths and opportunities for growth. Click here to start a free trial or take a test.
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Have you ever wondered why some colleagues seem to have a different approach to work than others? Or why do certain team members communicate differently or prioritize tasks in a particular way? Using DISC in the workplace can help teams understand one another’s behaviors and actions.
The DISC profile can help you understand yourself and your teammates because it identifies common patterns of behavior and motivation. The assessment is easy to comprehend, with only four parts: D, I, S, and C. Each letter represents a specific work style and describes the interests of each quadrant.
This post will explore using the DISC in the workplace to improve your team’s communication, collaboration, and productivity. You’ll also discover practical tips and strategies for working effectively with each type.
How Does The DISC Assessment Differ From Other Assessments?
The DISC assessment is unique in that it provides a simple, accessible way to understand and categorize behavioral tendencies, which can improve communication, teamwork, and leadership in various contexts. Other assessments may focus on different aspects of an individual’s personality or behavior, such as emotional intelligence, cognitive abilities, values, and motivating factors.
The DISC profile differs from other assessments in focusing specifically on an individual’s response to favorable and unfavorable situations. It measures their tendency toward four behavioral traits: dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance. DISC provides insight into individual interactions and responses to stress and conflict.
Why Is DISC Important In The Workplace?
Incorporating DISC into the workplace can improve communication, giving and receiving feedback, and conflict resolution to enhance team performance. Managers can create a more cohesive and effective team by understanding each person’s motivational tendencies, communication styles, and cognitive diversity.
Understanding Motivational Tendencies
One of the primary benefits of using DISC in the workplace is its ability to provide information about the motivational tendencies of individuals. For example, individuals with high Steadiness scores may value cooperation and sincerity, while those with higher Dominance scores may prioritize pushing towards goals and outcomes. Understanding these tendencies can help managers better motivate and engage members of the team.
DISC scores can also provide insights into effectively communicating with others. For instance, a team with a disproportionate number of high Dominance scores may create an environment where those with higher Steadiness or Compliance scores do not feel comfortable contributing ideas. Managers can create a more inclusive and productive environment by understanding different communication styles.
DISC can also help depersonalize conflict by providing a common communication language for a team. For example, using a team dashboard to display aggregate DISC results can help team members better understand each other’s conflict management styles and triggers. This can lead to developing a “conflict contract” that establishes group norms for dealing with conflict and helps generate team buy-in.
Capitalizing on Cognitive Diversity
Studies have shown that teams with higher cognitive diversity produce better outcomes. DISC can help teams understand their level of cognitive diversity and how to harness it to improve outcomes. Using the team DISC wheel, managers can see where the team lacks certain styles or where a member may play a critical role in achieving team goals.
Defining the Right Roles
DISC can help managers better understand how team members fit into their roles. Managers can create a more productive and engaged team using DISC to match individuals with roles that align with their behavioral patterns. Assigning tasks that conflict with their natural style may lead to burnout or turnover.
Free Playbook For Creating An Engaging Employee Experience even During Challenging Times
The D Type Personality In The Workplace
Dominance: Balancing Drive with Team Dynamics
The D in DISC stands for Dominance, which characterizes driven, goal-oriented, and assertive individuals. They are natural leaders who seek control and authority, viewing them as positive qualities. However, in their quest for success, D types may prioritize tasks and outcomes over the well-being and contributions of their co-workers.
High-D individuals must balance their drive for achievement with understanding how their actions affect their team dynamics. Overly focusing on tasks can dismiss the importance of building relationships and collaborating. This can ultimately hinder team success and create a hostile work environment.
Leaders with high-D traits can motivate their team towards a shared goal while creating a culture of openness, respect, and trust. By balancing their dominant nature with empathy and consideration for others, they can harness their strengths to achieve success for the team.
The I Type Personality In The Workplace
Influence: Harnessing Energy for Collaborative Success
“I” stands for Influence in the DISC model, representing individuals prioritizing social interaction and relationship-building. I types are energized by being around people and are drawn to change, seeing it as a positive force that can bring about new opportunities. They excel at connecting with others, using their charisma and personal skills to generate enthusiasm and excitement.
One potential downside of the I style is that their enthusiasm and love of variety can sometimes lead to impulsiveness and distractibility. They may lose sight of the end goal or become disorganized in pursuing new experiences. As a result, it can be helpful for Is to work with someone who can provide structure and help keep them focused on the task at hand.
Influencing types bring a valuable perspective to teams, and their ability to build relationships and generate excitement can help keep teams motivated and engaged. By understanding their strengths and potential pitfalls, Is can use their skills to benefit their team and the organization.
The S Type Personality In The Workplace
Steadiness: Fostering Team Harmony and Collaboration
These individuals are team players who prioritize a harmonious and inclusive team culture. They value stability and seek to create that for their team.
Others often consider them to be great listeners and have supportive teammates. They don’t like change or conflict and rarely initiate it, even if it costs them. It’s also essential to include them in any team decisions, give them ample notice if any changes need to be made, and seek their opinions.
S-Types like to ensure everyone is heard and foster a strong sense of connection among teammates. By understanding and leveraging the strengths of the S style, you can create a positive and supportive team environment.
The C Type Personality In The Workplace
Conscientiousness: Leveraging Attention to Detail for Team Success
The letter C represents traits that value a high focus on details and a desire for excellence. Individuals with this personality type are motivated to deliver quality work and are experts in their area of work. They hold themselves and their team to high standards and seek feedback to ensure their work meets expectations.
While conscientious individuals bring value to a team, they can find it stressful when faced with last-minute changes or rushed schedules. It’s important to give them adequate notice and allow them to work independently. They appreciate regular feedback but must be presented with kindness, as they can be sensitive to criticism.
These individuals thrive when given tasks that require attention to detail and expertise. They don’t need much collaboration or social interaction and may prefer to work from a private office or home. You can maximize their contribution to the team’s success by recognizing and leveraging their strengths.
How To Use The DISC Assessment With Teams?
The DISC circle illustrates how individuals with different personality types respond to change differently.
Responses to Change Based on DISC Types
The top of the circle represents the Ds and Is, who are drawn to change and view it as a positive force that can help them achieve their goals. In contrast, the Ss and Cs at the bottom of the circle are change-averse and can perceive change as an opposing force that may impede their effectiveness. They fear that chaos may arise in the team due to change.
People vs. Task Orientation
The DISC model further categorizes individuals into two groups based on their preference for people or task-oriented work. Those on the I and S side are drawn to people, collaboration, and service, and those on the D and C sides are attracted to tasks, execution, and accomplishment.
Effective Communication Strategies For Each DISC Type
The way people communicate also varies based on their place in the circle. Ds prioritize clarity over diplomacy and may come across as blunt, while Is focus on building relationships and connection.
Ss prioritize harmony and use soft-spoken, affirming communication, making direct communication difficult. Cs prioritize clear communication based on data and have a black-and-white approach to good and bad.
It’s helpful to slow down and use a measured approach when speaking to Ss and Cs, especially when giving feedback or asking for information. Providing notice and time to synthesize information is crucial for Ss and Cs.
Providing advanced notice about impending changes or project deadlines can help gain buy-in from Cs and Ss. Communicating how changes will benefit the organization or team can help achieve their support.
D and I personality types respond well to direct, confident, and energetic communication. They appreciate clear goals, objectives, and deadlines. When communicating with a D, it’s essential to be clear and concise, avoiding too much detail or ambiguity.
When communicating with an I, it’s important to be enthusiastic and engaging, using stories and anecdotes to keep their attention. They appreciate a more conversational tone and love to be recognized for their contributions.
D and I personality types appreciate a sense of urgency and enthusiasm in communication, and giving them space to express their ideas and opinions is important. They also respond well to visual aids and are more likely to be motivated by positive feedback and recognition than criticism.
Using DISC To Improve Communication During Team Meetings
During meetings, it’s important to be aware of communication patterns that can reveal someone’s DISC style. The Ds and Is tend to speak up first and express their opinions, while the Ss and Cs may reserve their comments. To ensure all members contribute, set aside time for Ss and Cs to provide feedback and opinions. For example, dedicating the last 15 minutes of the meeting can be effective. Creating a cadence for participation can also encourage involvement.
When Ds and Is lead meetings, ensuring everyone’s voice is heard is essential. They may assume that others will speak up if they have an idea, but encouraging participation is important. Awareness of each DISC type can help create routines that allow for informed decisions and ensure everyone’s voice is heard.
Using Cloverleaf's DISC Personality Test To Nuance Unique Personality Characteristics In The Workplace
DISC results often include a spectrum that reflects where individuals fall on each of the four quadrants. It’s possible for individuals to strongly prefer one quadrant or be more balanced, meaning they won’t have a dominant trait.
One of the unique features of the Cloverleaf DISC test is that it reveals some conflicting values that individuals may possess. For instance, individuals with a strong I and C may experience conflicting values because they enjoy a fast-paced environment with people and frequent changes from the I. Still, from the C, they also desire consistency.
Some characteristics may present less in individuals because they are self-regulating, which is a superpower. Balancing opposing values is a unique strength, as it allows one to see both sides of an issue.
Those with strengths in opposing quadrants, like IC and DS, have complementary strengths that can benefit a team without a partner or collaborator. This ability to see both sides of the picture can drive external collaboration and build consensus while maintaining attention to detail and striving for excellence.
In contrast, a traditional influence strength may become exhausted with detailed work. Still, someone with a balanced profile can have the energy to dig into the data and make new discoveries.
The rare combination of a high S and D result is present in only 2% of Cloverleaf users. These individuals possess a strong pioneering driver while valuing connection and being highly supportive of their team. They love change, power, and authority but also desire stability and harmony with others.
While some people with this combination may focus their drive inward rather than solely on achieving goals, it’s important to note that there is still a strong desire to move forward.
Each quadrant in the DISC profile is driven by particular questions that they find most important.
Ds are goal-oriented and prioritize understanding where they’re going and how to get there.
Influencers prioritize collaboration, resourcefulness, and the enjoyment of the task.
Steadiness drivers want to know how they will execute a task and how it will impact the team’s well-being.
Conscientious individuals want to understand the task, including its standards, expectations, and boundaries (such as time, resources, and commitments).
By using DISC in the workplace, you can tailor your communication and approach to meet their unique needs and preferences.
Understanding DISC results and the communication styles of each quadrant can significantly improve your team’s dynamics and productivity. By knowing the questions that each quadrant is interested in, you can communicate more effectively, meet everyone’s needs, and gain their buy-in faster.
Taking the DISC assessment and inviting your team to do the same can help you leverage everyone’s talents and gifts to achieve better results. Visit cloverleaf.me to start your profile and begin your journey towards better teamwork.
The Big 5 personality traits include conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, and extroversion. The goal of the Big 5 was lofty—to distill all the possible personality traits into a cohesive, manageable set of factors.
The research signaled that five was ideal, although it could have been more (and some less popular models do have more than five). The selection of five was to ensure that the factors were distinct and comprehensive, such that the factors covered the vast majority of “variance” across all possible personality traits.
The Big 5 has undergone plentiful and robust construct validity analyses and has been included in all sorts of models, making it a solid approach to evaluating how personality traits relate to different types of organizational behavior. More specifically, if the goal is to understand the degree to which a personality trait (e.g., openness to experience) correlates with an outcome of interest (e.g., creativity), the Big 5 is a wise choice.
The challenge with the Big 5, however, is that’s it’s not inherently “practical,” which is the goal in applied settings. The Big 5 is built for research, where the goal is to incrementally advance theory. In applied settings, however, the goal is to facilitate behavior change. This requires a slightly different approach. The factors of interest are still grounded in evidence and have also undergone construct validity analyses. However, the selection of factors (also called dimensions) is based on user utility. Further, the way the assessments are constructed, scored, and reported is more appropriate for those interested in making day-to-day behavior changes. Below, I offer more detailed explanations of these differences.
The first difference is variability. For example, even though conscientiousness is one of the strongest predictors of performance, the mean-level across populations is relatively high. Without variation, it doesn’t add much value to applied settings. Applied, trait-based assessments, such as the dimensions of DISC, 16 types, Enneagram, and Instinctive drives, are built for ensuring that variability exists so that we can glean more specific insights on how the factors show up in work settings.
The second difference is neutrality. The applied, trait-based assessments, for the most part (if done correctly), are purposefully neutral (i.e., they are not “good” or “bad”). Several of the Big 5 have negative connotations—neuroticism in particular. Low levels of agreeableness (i.e., disagreeableness) and low levels of openness to experience (i.e., being close-minded) do as well. Again, although these are clearly universal and important traits, they don’t work well in applied settings. Participants don’t want to be told they are innately flawed. Further, negatively worded assessment questions introduce social desirability bias (i.e., we want to present ourselves to colleagues and supervisors as better than what we really are) and/or inflation bias (i.e., we are biased to think we are better than we really are).
The third difference entails the approach to assessing behavior. The Big five looks at one trait at a time and asks whether you are low to high on that trait through a series of questions. This is the best approach for research settings when you want to evaluate one trait at a time (and statistically “control” for all other traits). This is ideal for incremental science, but not for applied conversations.
Applied assessments look at a factor of interest and then evaluate the poles of that factor. The extroversion trait of the Big 5 does this, with its opposite being introversion, but the others don’t have the same degree of polarity. Being low on neuroticism doesn’t inherently suggest that you are emotionally intelligent, for example (although some have tried to prove that this is the case).
With DISC there is a two-by-two of factors that look at how you view your environment (factor 1 = favorable or unfavorable) and how you approach your environment (factor 2 = aggressive or passive). With 16 Types, the factors cover categories such as “perception” (either sensing or intuition) and “judgment” (either thinking or feeling). Overall, these pole-based approaches ensure that the insights are neutral (not good or bad, just different), people self-rate without bias (no one likes to admit they are neurotic or disagreeable, for example), and those insights can be delivered regardless of where one falls on the factor of interest.
Also important, the personality trait assessments on the Cloverleaf platform do overlap with some of the Big 5 dimensions. In particular, extroversion-introversion is covered in 16 types, and agreeableness is covered, to some degree, in the D vs. I scores of DISC. In my opinion, those are the two most practical factors of the Big 5 in applied work settings.
I’ve heard several academics suggest that using anything except the Big 5 to assess personality is incorrect. This is oversimplified. If the goal is to advance science with respect to personality, the Big 5 is the most suitable. But this is because that is what the Big 5 was built for.
If the goal is to change behavior in applied settings, Cloverleaf’s personality trait assessments—DISC, 16 types, Enneagram, Instinctive Drives—are not only suitable, they are ideal. Academics assume that these practitioner-focused alternatives haven’t undergone construct validity analyses. This is untrue—they just don’t have the data to conduct these analyses. The assessment providers offer some analyses, independent academics have conducted analyses and published the findings in peer-reviewed outlets, and I have conducted our own analyses on our user database. The findings are sound.
In summary, the Big 5 is amazing, especially if you’re conducting research. But as of today, we are focusing on incorporating personality trait assessments that offer as much practical utility as possible.