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Friday, June 24, 2011

Personality Tests and Better Team Management

Many companies in the Philippines aquire various screening tools that include personality tests to determine the candidates' fit with prospective jobs. More often than not, the results of these tests don't reach or are not explained to prospective supervisors or managers.  After determining if the candidate passed or failed this part of the screening, the results are filed in the 201 record if the candidate is hired or elsewhere if the candidate failed to meet expectations.

I feel that failing to explain the result of a test whether, aptitude, pshycological or personality to a future boss is a waste of a great opportunity to lead or manage a team better. Why so, let me explain my points.

First, I hope you agree with me that better understanding of the personalities in the team is useful to leaders who want to match their "strokes with the different folks" that they have on board.  I believe that a properly explained assessment result can help managers do this.  Let me cite my experiences as examples.

16 PF  can help managers assign employees to tasks where they are likely to succeed. When I was Head of Training for a BPO company, we used this tool to determine who among our employees have the personality profile most suited for playing Line Trainer role. We benchmarked all our existing line trainers, compared the profiles of our best trainers with the others  and found us some trends that we used to compare prospective trainers against. It also helped us identify what kind of help employees need in order to work better as line trainers. Learning from this experience, I used the same method to choose potentially successful MTs.

I also found MBTI  and similar tools useful in understanding team member personalities. It helps explain how and why they do certain things when they do them. A good understanding of the tool helped me predict fit of employees with certain type of tasks.

Another tool I find very useful is the Thomas-kilmann Conflict Resolution Mode. Knowing how my own dominant mode affect the dominant mode of others help me take the necessary action to improve collaboration. For example, I know that my dominant mode is competing and some of my staff's style is avoiding. In order to promote collaboration, I need to lay back a bit and encourage my avoiders to gain courage to express themselves. I believe that a manager who wants better collaboration can do well by understanding how  his/her members behave in situations that require healthy exchange of ideas.

There are number of other tools out there. Some are even more sophisticated and user-friendly than the ones I mentioned here. If HR can  properly educate managers on how to use this information, I'm sure it will help them greatly.

Hold on. Let me end this by saying that the key to effectively using these tools for team management is for the manager to understand her own personality and how it affects others.  It's an important reference in find ways to adjust one's own style to match the styles of one's staff.

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