I’m sure many of you are familiar with the popular personality tests Strengths Finder, True Colors, and MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Inventory). They give you a list of questions and output a term, a type, or a temperament that describes how you interact with the world and those around you. I personally have Ideation, Connectedness, Intellection, Input, and Adaptability as my top five Strengths, in that order (here’s a good list of them all. I am also a Blue/Green (logically emotional like Spock I like to say) and I am an INFJ (a good description listed here).
What I think is the best part of these tests is that it gives me the language to describe who I am and what is important to me personally, which obviously impacts my work. A large part of being an effective leader is knowing one’s self. Taking these tests, and even taking them multiple times at different points in my life to see how I’ve changed, allows for a great deal of self-awareness. I know how I am typically, so I can either let people know that or work to incorporate others better since I know what my quirks are.
While I have heard some naysayers to these tests speaking to how they don’t like to be put in a box, I think knowing any one or all of these results is a good place to start to just be able to get others to understand you. You don’t need these tests to understand yourself necessarily but they definitely help others understand you. I’ve learned recently that this is a big step in working well with a team. I can be okay with myself and how I work but I need to be able to get others to be okay with how I do things or else there is going to be a lot of friction.
I encourage you to think about bringing these tools into your teams, especially with student staff members. They are trying to find themselves and their leadership style. These tests can enable them to be proud of their unique strengths and traits that make them great, rather than focus on their flaws. I know I felt like being an introvert was an issue. But after exploring myself and what I have to offer, I am ready to tackle any issue head on in my own way. I know now my difference is an asset, not a weakness.