- Couples Retreat
I’ve always been interested in people’s personalities. That’s probably not an earth shattering comment considering I’m a psychologist. A personality test can help clarify what makes a person tick so that s/he can navigate relationships–both personal and professional–more easily.
I’ve been hearing more and more from people I work with what kinds of personality questionnaires they’ve done along with revealing what type describes them:
If you know much about these different tests, you’ll know that those five types listed above describe a similar personality type: someone who tends to focus on bettering relationships.
It can be helpful to figure out personality types when you’re trying to get along better with loved ones or colleagues—i.e. when you keep getting into conflicts, when you just feel as though you just aren’t relating to one another well, when you want to become a more productive and effective team, when you’re trying to become more self aware, or when you’re trying to decide what career might be the best fit.
I remember years ago doing the Myer’s Briggs at work. We identified our own personalities and figured out what would help us become more effective teammates. Doing the assessment helped us figure out why some people preferred working alone while others wanted to work face-to-face on collaborative projects. It helped us better be able to problem solve more effectively and recognize why it was easier to relate to some people than others.
Colleagues can benefit from learning about personality differences to better be able to navigate those differences on a day-to-day basis. Practical, down-to-earth folks can learn to work with idealists intent on exploring the possibilities. Planners can come up with strategies on how to work with their go-with-the-flow workmates.
I once worked with someone whose job required them to work alone for extended periods. This person couldn’t figure out why he was so unhappy until he realized as an extravert, his job wasn’t the right fit. He needed to be in contact with other people, not spending a month at a time alone doing research in the middle of nowhere!
I’ve used personality types to help couples tweak how they communicate with one another. For example, some people need time to think about and process information alone while others think and process as they talk to others. Couples can run into problems when they try to make the other person stay and talk it out until the problem is worked out when the other person just needs thoughts and feelings to percolate for awhile.
Once I worked with a woman whose job entailed dealing with people all day. She enjoyed it, but definitely needed time to be alone to recharge her batteries after work. The problem was her husband would spontaneously make plans for them to go out for dinner with friends, or he’d bring a friend home for an evening of good conversation over a meal. Understanding each other’s personalities helped them be able to negotiate when and how often they socialized together, and when her husband would make plans on his own.
Figuring out what makes you similar and different from other people can be both fun and helpful. It does require, however, that a person knows him or herself and is able to answer the questions honestly. Otherwise the results may not accurately describe someone.
Sometimes people also say things like, “This is my personality at work but that’s not the way I am at home.” That doesn’t mean they’re not being honest with themselves but could instead mean they’ve learned skills and ways of doing things that benefit them professionally but are not innate to them.
For example, people could mistake me as an extravert when seeing me public speaking. I usually look relaxed, confident, and can present heart warming or informative talks depending on the occasion. It’s a skill I’ve learned—and enjoy—as long as I’m prepared. But if I’ve done something like presented for a full-day seminar, I need and want to go somewhere where I can be alone to recharge.
We’re adaptable—and we’re unique. These assessments can be helpful but are not to be understood as absolutes.