‘Personality’ tests are typically used to explain why we behave how we do, not to shoehorn us into behaving in a particular way because a test said we are an ENFP or Belbin’s Plant. Unfortunately I have witnessed the latter too often, but for me it has not just been explaining why I behave like I do, but realising who I actually am and what I can be.
Over years I have completed many of them. The most recent was the one that really hit home: Merrill and Reid’s Social Styles.
It is simpler than the others and a lot quicker to finish the many variations on the ‘test’. Yet I have found it to be more accurate and has made me realise more than Belbin, Myers Briggs and all the 360 feedbacks could offer.
Before taking the test I knew I would be Amiable.
Some of the characterises of the other social styles, in particular the Driver, just seemed mean. I know they aren’t ‘mean’, just different, but this probably only amplifies how I fit nicely into the Amiable quadrant. I could write about the social styles all day, but this isn’t meant to be a blog post about Merrill and Reid.
We all have to flex and I have never had a problem doing this. Real life is not split into four quadrants and there are some things we like doing, other things we don’t, some things come naturally and others push us out of our comfort zone.
My job has changed over the past 11 year, as most jobs do. But what I have realised is that while I have changed, becoming more Amiable over this time, the nature of my work has conversely become more suitable to someone who is a Driver by nature.
I have reached the point where I am spending nearly all my working day of my comfort-zone and it’s exhausting.
Yes there are things I’m not so good at that are a direct result of my Amiable nature, but this is not to say I do not perform in my job. I just spend most of the time being somewhere I’d rather not be, doing things that don’t come naturally to me.
The answers is quite simple.
It’s strange though. I have spent so much time with personality tests, self-help books and various coaching and leadership material, that I’m surprised it took me this long to finally get to here.