What is Your Work Style?
One aspect of planning your career and finding your specialty is knowing what your strongest skill set is and identifying your work style. If you’ve been working in a role that’s left you unsatisfied, even though you feel competent with the work, it’s time to see if you might be working in the wrong field. If you’re taking time to plan your career, it’s a good time to do some self-discovery. What were you meant to do?
Is it All About the Test?
If you’ve worked in corporate America, or any company large enough to have an HR department, chances are you’ve been assessed through one test or another. It may surprise you to know personality tests have been around for hundreds of years. In these early days, assumptions were made about your psychological attributes through your physical appearance or even the size of the bumps on your head.
I know it sounds crazy, but we’ve been looking for a way to categorize people through testing for a long time. Testing methods has been criticized, combined, refined, and are still used today to find the best fit for employees and employers. Use of these tests gained an upsurge in popularity once it became illegal to use a lie detector test in the hiring process. Let’s take a look at the two most utilized tests today.
The Four Magic Letters
One of the most popular tools for looking at an employee’s behavioral style, and creating a gauge for their interpersonal relationship styles, is the DISC assessment. The letters in this acronym stand for:
Dominance Influence Steadiness Conscientiousness
If your company is not using the DISC assessment, chances are it’s using the MBTI. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is another common test given to people to identify personality characteristics and work styles. The mother-daughter team of Myers and Briggs based this test on the teachings of Carl Jung, the noted psychiatrist. The results of this test were also expressed in a four-letter score, revealing eight distinct work styles.
Extraversion or Introversion (expressed as E or I)
Sensing or Intuition (expressed as S or N)
Thinking or Feeling (expressed as T or F)
Judging or Perceiving (expressed as J or P)
What Does This Have to Do with Career Planning?
Some employers will see higher value in these tests than others. It’s a common belief you must hire people who are a good fit for projects, and a test is the best way to get this information. Popular thought also tells us every team, and every project should have a specific diversity of individual strengths to be effective.
But, if you undergo these evaluations on your own, you may discover you should make a career change. Or, you might see where your gaps are, and the areas which need to be nurtured and improved upon to further your career. The exercise will provide useful information about yourself and can be a valuable tool for planning your future.
I Hate Tests – Is There Another Way?
Of course, there are other ways an employer will assess your fitness for a position and different ways you can take an inventory or your work style on your own. It will definitely be to your advantage to know your skill set when you interview for a job. Most interviewers will ask you questions about your approach to work.
Avoid the temptation to answer these questions to please the interviewer. They are looking to see if you are suitable for the job. You need to assess, hopefully in advance of the interview, whether this job is ideal for you.
What Do I Need to Consider?
Are you a social butterfly, or a lone wolf? Do you work well collaborating in groups with others, or do you perform best on your own, working independently? If you’re someone who works well in both environments, you’re way ahead of the game. Flexibility in this area is a desirable trait!
How do you like to be coached? Are you the type who prefers frequent communication and guidance on a project, or are you the type to take the reins and run with it? Letting an employer know your preference here is another excellent way to assess suitability. If the job tends to be micromanaged, and you can’t work under those conditions…
What’s your communication style? Are you accessible to coworkers at all times, or do you reserve specific times for Q & A? Do you like to use email, or sit face-to-face in meetings?
How do you like to structure your day? Do you get the tough stuff done early? Are you a beast at multitasking, or do you need to maintain focused on one task at a time? While we’re structuring our day – Will you be working overtime, or do you manage your time carefully to avoid the need for staying late?
This Week’s Challenge
This week’s challenge is to continue work on your personal career plan! Take an honest inventory of your skillset and define your work style. If you’ve got an old test available, take a look at it. Is it still relevant?
Are you Serious About Creating a Career Path to Success?
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Quote of the Week
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances. If there is any reaction, both are transformed.”
– Carl Jung