At first glance, a personality test may not seem like a valid exercise to bring to your workplace. While this writer firmly believes taking a “Which Golden Girl Are You?” quiz is never a waste of time, it might not give you much insight into how you can improve your relationships in the office. Personality quizzes that specifically focus on determining and comparing working styles, however, can certainly be beneficial for your team.
Taking a closer look at workplace personality types can help you to build healthier and more productive relationships on a personal level — an undeniably valuable benefit considering that many of us end up spending more time with our co-workers than we do with our loved ones. Of course, by improving your one-on-one work relationships, you’ll also help to promote more effective interactions across your teams, which ultimately contributes to a stronger, more successful business.
Determining and understanding personality types is trickier than it sounds, though. First of all, there are a number of different methods and models to choose from, with each one presenting its own pros and cons. And once you settle on a personality model that sounds like it will work best for your team and your goals, the results you get won’t instantly translate to healthier relationships — it’s all a matter of taking what you learn and applying it in constructive ways.
With all of this in mind, the GO2 crew is just beginning to learn about how our own personality types may be influencing our team dynamics. We’ve chosen the SELF profile model designed by NST, or National Seminars Training, to guide us.
NST describes their quizzing tool as “a fun, quick assessment of people’s interaction styles.” Now, I feel I have to give you a few caveats on following that link. First, the graphics will instantly transport you back to your elementary school days. And when you finish the quiz, your results will include some superfluous “fun facts,” like a list of celebrities that, according to NST, share your interaction style. But if you can overlook the aesthetics and the fluff, you’ll find some valuable insight.
To give you a general overview of the SELF model, it’s based on four major personality types or interaction styles that you’re likely to find on any team:
- Social — a creative, persuasive and outgoing risk-taker who thrives on building relationships.
- Efficient — a dependable, organized and goal-oriented leader who likes to have both control and recognition.
- Loyal — a caring, compromising and helpful team player who prioritizes harmony and understanding.
- Factual — a reserved, methodical and meticulous thinker who emphasizes accuracy and logic.
What makes the SELF approach particularly great is that it gives you quiz results with much more nuance than what we’ve found with other models. You won’t just get a description of your personality type — the SELF model puts it all into context for you, with a breakdown of your interaction style and a greater understanding of what that style means for you and the people on your teams. You’ll even get suggested working strategies that can help you to improve your interactions with employees, peers and managers of all styles.
After taking the quiz myself, I have to admit that even the “fun facts” do have some potential to help put it all in perspective. For instance, one particular fun fact helped me to clear up any doubt I’d had about being labelled an E. “In the Seinfeld sitcom, the character most like E is Elaine” — okay, I’m sold.
Once you begin putting your SELF profile information and advice to work for you, you’re likely to gain a better understanding of how each personality type or interaction style can play an important role in your workplace. You’ll see that individual strengths complement one another to create more balanced, effective teams.
If you and your team decide to find your profiles through SELF or any other method, keep in mind as you read your results that a personality type is never an absolute — we are all dynamic individuals who may work, react and adapt in different ways at different times. You’ll want to use the results of any personality test not as a rigid set of traits and rules, but as a general framework that can help you navigate workplace relationships and set your teams up for greater success.