I have benefited greatly by completing personality assessments, as well as implementing the work of Marcus Buckingham on strengths and Susan Cain on the power of being an introvert. All of these resources have helped me to not only better understand myself, but my team, those I mentor, family and friends as well.
Here are five resources that have helped me the most and you can find of value as well:
1. Discover Your Strengths/Strengthsfinder – Marcus Buckingham, Donald Clifton and Tom Rath
I was first introduced to the modern “Strengths Movement” when I saw Marcus Buckingham speak at a learning conference several years ago. I had initially looked forward to seeing Jack Welch speak at that conference. When he had to cancel due to a health issue, Buckingham was a last minute wonderful replacement. The long-time best-selling Strengthsfinder assessment (which has now been used by more than five million people), was first included in Buckingham’s and Donald Clifton’s 2001 book Now Discover Your Strengths. I continue to find the Strengthsfinder assessment to be valuable in learning about myself and others, and have used it at work and we have used it as a church leadership team. My top five Strengthsfinder themes are Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever.
- Go Put Your Strengths to Work – Marcus Buckingham
Buckingham’s strengths concepts really came alive for me with this 2007 book. The learning organization that I was a member of hosted Buckingham’s book tour for this book, and I have read and discussed this book with several groups. This book helped me to understand the concept of activities that “strengthen” or “weaken” me and others. This encouraged me to find work for my team members that would strengthen them. The book also introduced the concept of strength and weakness statements. When I look back on business books that have had a positive impact on me this one would be near the top.
As I mentioned, Buckingham and Clifton developed the original Strengthsfinder assessment. Buckingham states that the purpose of that assessment was to be descriptive and affirming. He and Clifton wanted to provide a way to describe the best of us and to make us feel good about our style. Buckingham states that the challenge is that once you have a positive language to describe yourself, what do you do with it?
What careers should you pursue? What techniques should you call upon to capitalize on your strengths and outperform your competitors? What should you share with your manager to help him or her help you do your best work?
In recent years, Buckingham has focused less on measurement and more on what could be done to increase employee engagement, strengths and performance.
StandOut, published in 2011, was based on extensive research, statistical testing and analysis of the world’s top performers.
Where Strengthsfinder was descriptive and affirming, StandOut is prescriptive and innovating. The new StandOut assessment (an updated version StandOut 2.0 was published in 2015), measures you on nine strengths roles, and reveals your top two. My top two are Creator and Equalizer.
- Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). There are many personal assessments available. Although I have not completed it, many in my church have benefited from the Enneagram assessment. In the organization I work at, the PACE Palette assessment was very popular a few years back. I still find it as an excellent tool to use with a team.
The assessment that I have found most helpful is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment. There are many free versions online you take. Here is one free version.
The MBTI offers 16 types that are referred to by an abbreviation of four letters. My type is INTJ, meaning that I test as an introvert. The first time I took the assessment several years ago I remember being very concerned that the analysis included with the short online version of the assessment I took indicated that those who hold my profile are not equipped to be good leaders. As with any assessment, keep the results in perspective.
Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking was an eye-opener for me. Like the other resources mentioned in this article, it helped me to better understand myself and others. If you are an introvert, work with or are married to an introvert or have children who are introverts, I highly recommend you read this book. It includes insights that are equally helpful on and off the job. Although I have not read it yet, Cain has recently published a version of Quiet for kids and teens, entitled Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts.
These are five resources that I have found to be helpful in learning more about myself and others. What resources have you found to be valuable?