Personality profiling is one of the most commonly used psychometric testing tools for many HR professionals. We believe, however, that behavioural preference testing is a more useful and applicable tool for organisations looking to train and develop managers and leaders, build high performing teams, better engage their employees, improve communication and team dynamics, recruit and onboard new employees, and gain better insight into their organisation as a whole…and that is just the start!
In this article, we will explain why C-me focuses on behaviour preferences over personality profiling and highlight the benefits it can offer to your organisation.
What do we mean by personality?
The American Psychological Association has a very good simple definition to what is a complex subject:
Fundamentally, personality is relatively stable over our lifetime. There are exceptions but for most of the population, a person’s personality does not change a lot across their lifetime. Many years of psychological research have been invested to understand what personality is and how to measure it.
Perhaps one of the most significant figures in the history of psychology is Carl Jung a Swiss Psychologist and Psychoanalyst working in the early part of the 20th Century. Jung is famous for developing a theory of personality involving axes between:
- Thinking and Feeling (so called, “rational functions”)
- Introversion and Extroversion (“attitudes”)
- Sensation and Intuition (“irrational functions)
Everyone is plotted somewhere on these axes, essentially explaining that we respond to the world around us as a moving scale rather than in oversimplified binary categories. Still today these axes, along with other notable findings in his work, form the foundations of many commonly used psychometric profiling tools on the market now.
Various psychometric assessments exist today for a plethora of purposes and personality profiling is one of the most known. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most researched and used in the world. MBTI categorises individuals into one of sixteen personality types based on their responses to a series of questions.
Understanding ourselves through personality profiling assessment tools can be an important component of personal growth. These tools allow us to gain insights into our innate tendencies and how we experience the world around us. There are significant limitations for their application though, which we will address in a moment. First, let’s define ‘behaviour’.
What do we mean by behaviour?
Behaviour can be simply understood as how we express our personality – our actions, conduct, or mannerisms. We observe a person’s behaviour, for example, in the way they respond to various situations, challenges, and tasks they are presented with in their personal and professional lives. We are essentially ‘behaving’ all the time reacting to every situation, adapting how we want to respond.
Crucially, behaviour can be observed and therefore measured and coached to achieve specific goals or objectives. Behaviours can be influenced and developed over time. Most of us who have been working for some time can obverse in ourselves how our behaviours have adapted to achieve success in the roles that we now have compared to when we started out in working life.
This simple diagram explains where behaviour sits, as the secondary ring to ‘personality’. Our behaviours are what impact everyone else and because they are a result of our personality they indicate what our personality might be. We’ll come back to this diagram in a minute. Next let’s look at the limitations of personality profiling.
The problem with personality profiling
While personality profiling has been used for decades to help individuals understand their innate tendencies and preferences, as well as for companies to better understand their employees, it has some significant limitations for application:
- One of the primary issues is that personality tests can ‘box’ users into one personality type, which users can feel does not accurately reflect how they can flex and adapt to the need of the moment.
- Moreover, personality tests may not reflect how individuals have developed over time and how they have adapted to become successful in their jobs, therefore they are a poor predictor of job performance. As we have already mentioned, personality is relatively fixed through our lifetime, however, our behaviour can change and develop with self-awareness and learning about the needs of others who may be wildly different from ourselves.
- On a business level, 16 categories or more can be overly complicated to remember in every day working life and hinder the application of learnings into business performance.
Why we focus on behaviour not personality
Below are three observations about the importance of behaviours and why C-me focuses on the importance of prioritising behaviour over personality.
- BEHAVIOURS CHANGE: self-reflection and feedback can provide valuable insight for personal development, whereas personality is more fixed.
- BEHAVIOURS ARE OBSERVABLE: it is the visibility and direct impact of behaviour on others that, when adapted, has the power to create the most dramatic change in communication, resolution, and cohesion. Our behaviours emerge out of our personality, and our behaviours are how others experience us.
- BEHAVIOURS ARE CONTEXTUAL: personality is unlikely to change in two different meetings, but behaviours can and probably should change, depending on the aims of the meeting and the people present.
Application is everything. We focus on behaviour preferences focused on the so what? Seeking to help individuals, teams, and organisations consistently bring out their best selves in any situation with anyone.
Ultimately, it is the way people behave in response to their colleagues and team members, and to challenges that their organisations throws at them, that really affects how well both they and the organisation develop and perform.
We use tried and tested Jungian psychological foundations, but we apply them to better affect by assessing behaviour preferences rather than personality.
Benefits for the individual
Individuals find it easier to relate to the idea of altering their behaviour rather than their personality because behaviours can be modified and to greater affect.
Behavioural preference profiling offers a more actionable approach to development and training for the individual because behaviours are something that a person can choose to change, unlike their personality, which leads to more significant improvements in performance.
Benefits for teams
We help individuals understand their psychological preferences and how these preferences drive aspects of their behaviour; then how to use this knowledge to recognise these same elements in others and from that enable them to adapt their behaviour to improve their relationships.
We show teams how behaviours impact their team dynamics, and give them strategies to understand their differences, resolve conflicts faster and collaborate better to achieve their goals.
Benefits for the organisation
Behavioural preference profiling is not limited to categorising individuals into a particular personality type. Instead, it focuses on identifying specific behaviours that are necessary for success in a particular role or team, creating a fairer route into a position by allowing room for growth for anyone with any preference combination.
Profiling the behavioural preferences of all members of an organisation provides a unique perspective on collective operating strengths and areas of risk that are opportunities for growth.
How do we apply behavioural preference profiling?
There are many uses within an organisation. Here are some examples:
- Build high-performing teams: To identify the strengths and weaknesses of team members, allowing leaders to build teams that work cohesively towards shared goals.
- Improve recruitment and onboarding success: Supporting employers to select candidates whose behavioural preferences align with the requirements of the role and the culture of the organisation and then personalise onboarding plans to best suit the new employee's behavioural preferences.
- Increase employee engagement: By understanding what motivates employees and how they prefer to work, employers are better equipped to create a work environment that fosters engagement and productivity.
- Leadership and Management Development: To enable leaders and managers to better foster engagement and motivation among their teams towards a common goal, thereby building a strong and cohesive team that contributes to the success of the organisation. Especially understanding how to do this with individuals or teams or departments that are wholly different from their own.
- Bolster team communication and dynamics: Teach individuals and teams how to tailor their communication style to suit the preferences of each team member, leading to more effective communication, fewer misunderstandings and ultimately, better team dynamics and performance
- Unique organisational insights: Provide macro data on behavioural preferences across the organisation and how this is affecting operations.
What we offer: One platform with multiple applications
If you would like to talk more about how C-me could use help you and your organisation or clients book a demo with one of our team.
Written by C-me Research Team,