6 Ways to Get the Most out of Personality Tests

October 22, 2015 by cloften  
Filed under Bible, Church and Leadership

I’m a D-I.

I also am a Lion.

I also am a choleric.

I’m an achiever.

I could keep going, but I’ll end with I’m an ENTJ.

The real question isn’t what am I on all these personality tests, but does it really matter?

personality testThere seems to be competing ideas filling up my Facebook feed lately.  One is from people taking the Myers-Briggs personality test (that’s the one that declared me an ENTJ).  The other is full of links and videos saying that the Myers-Briggs is no good.  Stop using it.  As with most issues such as this, the truth lies somewhere between “personality tests are the best! They tell you everything there is to know about you!” and “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

A personality test taken well can give you a lot of insights about you and help you understand some ways that you think and approach life that maybe you didn’t know before.  On the other hand, it can’t tell you everything about you and not everything it says about your type will be true about you.  Use them wisely and they will give you wisdom.  Here are some tips.

1) Be honest with your answers. I know that seems pretty obvious, but you would be surprised the number of people that take personality tests or spiritual gift tests and don’t answer based on what is currently true about them.  They answer the questions based on who they wish that they were.

Q: On a scale of 1-5, how manipulative are you?

A: 1  How dare you, personality test?

On the other hand, don’t bring your low self-esteem or fake humility.

Q: On a scale of 1-5, how patient are you?

A: 1 There was that one time 3 years ago when I honked my horn at someone at a stoplight.

2. Trust the tests more that have the most categories. I’m not just a lion.  I may be more like a lion than the others but I have some otter and golden retriever as well.  Mostly I feel like I’m a platypus.  “A little of this, a little of that, a little of what is that?”  DISC can have as many as 24 categories, Myers-Briggs has 16.  The more categories the more specific and insightful the descriptions can be.

3. Share your results with a trusted friend who knows you. You may read your results and not be sure if it accurately describes you or not.  Bring someone else in and read them the results and they will be able to help you.  It may also be helpful to have someone you trust near you when you take the test for some questions that are challenging, like for me if I’m trying to decide if patient or not opinionated describes me the least.  A trusted friend can help you figure out what’s true and what isn’t.

4. Check other profiles if there is an area where you are on the borderline. I always test out at about 55% extrovert.  So I don’t really exhibit all the characteristics of an extrovert.  So, I also look at the characteristics of an introvert.  I’m an ENTJ, but I also have a lot in common with an INTJ.  Everything is the same except the second profile is for an introvert.  16 categories aren’t really enough to classify everyone.  Many of us will be some mix of a couple of different profiles.  That doesn’t make the test bad or wrong.  It just simply shows how you need to be smart in how you understand and apply your results.

5. Accept the “bad” results but don’t let them define you. I remember sharing my Myers-Briggs with some guys that were very knowledgeable about the test.  They told me that I was impossible to work for.  Right before your team is about to achieve the goal, you move the goal post and so you never celebrate victories.  I thought, “Man, that’s sweet.  Thanks for sharing that with me…at this social dinner.  Can you pass me a fork so I can stab your hand with it?”  The problem is that what they said was true.  That is something that I deal with.  However, that doesn’t mean that is who I have to continue to be.

6. Embrace your strengths and manage your weaknesses. I now make conscious decisions to celebrate with my team.  We evaluate the details of how something went, less intensely.  We celebrate before we evaluate.  That doesn’t necessarily come naturally to me, but I do it, because it is right.  I have to manage myself to make that happen.  Some weaknesses you can’t really fix.  I cannot become more detail oriented.  I can, however, surround myself with people who are.  I can try to not place myself in situations that call for that.

Also, believe in your strengths.  Don’t let unhealthy thinking keep you from believing that you have great qualities.  Believe in your strengths and use them.  I’m a D-I in the Disc and that means that I want to lead, but I also am relational.  I describe it as “I’m right, but I want everyone to be happy about that I’m right.”  I embrace that as who I am and it helps me lead people effectively as a pastor.

I am a big believer in these tests, taken and understood appropriately.  If you can be honest with yourself and the test, you can learn a lot about yourself.  Learning about yourself can take you a long way in knowing who God has called you to be and how he wants to use you.

You know I’m right and you’re happy about that, aren’t you?

Myers-Briggs test

Disc Test

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