Since the Industrial Revolution many workplace theories have treated human beings as interchangeable units. Processes can be developed for workplace interactions, and these processes can then be refined for efficiency. Individuals inside the process succeed or fail depending on how well they adapt to their role. Those who don’t adapt were often treated as useless for all roles.
Of course we understand that people are different. Some are good at certain roles, others have strengths that are better used in different ways. Attempts to incorporate this understanding in a workplace that is still rooted in the Industrial Revolution model have not always been successful, however.
The challenge is that we need some kind of consistency and human resource professionals need to have an understanding that they can objectively justify. Personality assessments give us insights into how different people prefer to communicate, how they organize and respond to different structures, and what roles they naturally take within groups.
There is an obvious benefit to the individual. People who take an assessment have a better understanding about how and why they react to others. They can make better decisions and improve on their communication and organizational skills. Understanding your own personality type is part of the picture.
Many of us are frustrated because we work with others who don’t seem to operate the way we do. Often we are seeing the situation in terms of our own personality type. By having an understanding of other personality types helps us understand that we need to create different types of connections for different people. Team building and effective collaboration are often dependent on the right combinations of personality types or on a solid mutual understanding between these different types.
Personality tests are also being used by career counselors to help people choose their path in life. Counselors have their clients take a personality test as a way to help them explore what career roles will best match their core abilities, what they would do best at, and what career would make them the happiest.
These tests have become widely popular because they help us answer some important questions about ourselves. As they continue to be used both by companies and by individuals, the results are being tested and refined which will allow the power of the tests to improve as well.