Motivating Employees

I had coffee with a CEO friend of mine, and he asked me my opinion on personality testing employees. It may difficult to imagine but I have a pretty strong opinion on the matter.šŸ˜‰

I believe executives like personality tests as we are used to testing and labeling in our society. 

I think the logic goes something like this; Since people are so resistant to opening up and being themselves in the work environment (or ever), let’s give them a label that has some truth to it, and they will feel valued and more willing to take specific suggestions per their label. 

Personality testing also is supposed to be valuable for assigning employees with suitable roles, though my experience is it leads to specialization, not the team work we all want.

The problem is that people begin to identify with the labels they collect. When other people also got labeled with the same test, they begin referring to one another by their labels and it becomes a bit funny, and serves as a weak inductive justification for ones own and others behaviors. 

If a “Dominant” personality normally does X, and that is a justification for them not doing Y, then their lack of mature expression and growth is understandable.

When Carl Jung formulated his Introvert and Extravert tendencies, he did not mean for people to get comfortable with those labels. Being in the middle, comfortable with both introversion and extraversion was the goal. Tests measure things at one point in time, grades and labels are intended to show us where we are when we take them, and also where we can go!

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