People are all unique. Yet we share similar traits and characteristics. So can we group people by these traits into groups? Personality profiles attempt to do just that, using frameworks to group together individuals with similar characteristics.
Personality profiling gets a mixed reaction. One camp loves the idea, and finds it helps them understand others. In particular it helps them relate to their polar opposites, or at least understand them. The other camp feel it’s not possible to fit the complexity of human behaviour into boxes, and strongly oppose incorrectly squashing people into a box to be labelled. So how do you feel about personality profiles?
I personally think they are great, as they break the human complexity down. I have no problem understanding people like me. But when people get further removed, I need help to understand. I do agree they remove the nuances of personality. People are always going to be people. And people are complex. Moreover a profile will never fully describe someone, but it will help get me get along better with you at work.
Most of us will have come across the Myers-Briggs personality profiles, which seem to be the google of personality profiles nowadays. But do you know there are many more models? Many people have come up with ideas for these groups or segments. Additionally lots of lovely people have made tests for these readily available on the internet for free. So I’m going to dive in, answer the questions honestly, and see if I get what I expected.
The grandmother of personality profiles is Myers-Briggs. (Did you know they were mother and daughter?) It’s used a lot in corporations in my experience, and most professionals can tell you their type. Myers Briggs profiles you in four attributes, each denoted by a letter. These are:
- Extraverted or Introverted
- Sensing or iNtuiting
- Thinking or Feeling
- Judging or Perceiving
I always test as an ENTJ, I retest occasionally and always come out ENTJ [although my E isn’t a hardcore E, it’s E-lite]. ENTJ’s are a minority of the population and some memorable ENTJ’s are Margaret Thatcher and Steve Jobs. Commonly referred to as The Commander or The Field Marshall. We are described as:
ENTJ’s are …. Frank, decisive, assume leadership readily. Quickly see illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems. Enjoy long-term planning and goal setting. Usually well informed, well read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.
So how does that describe me? You know, it’s not that far off the mark, especially in a work related situation. It helped me get into the six figure club. And explains my investing system. From the brief descriptions above, you could be describing me. Although I don’t think I am that forceful, but I guess it depends on who I am being compared against.
The Hexaco framework divides a human into six personality traits below, plus the extra Altruism.
- Agreeableness (versus Anger)
- Openness to Experience
The results aren’t as easy to distill, hence here they are in condensed table format.
|Characteristic||My Score||Median||Middle 80%|
|Agreeableness||2.88||3||2.22 - 3.72|
|Altruism||3.75||3.88||3.00 - 4.63|
|Conscientiousness||3.94||3.47||2.72 - 4.16|
|Emotionality||1.63||3.34||2.63 - 3.97|
|eXtraversion||3.5||3.5||2.72 - 4.22|
|Honesty-Humility||3.94||3.22||2.41 - 3.97|
|Openness to Experience||4.56||3.31||2.50 - 4.13|
What can I read into these? I’m an outlier on openness and emotionality. Then I rank higher on conscientiousness and honesty-humility and average for the rest. Which gels with my understanding. The one I was most surprised with was openness. I know I love new things, but I hadn’t realised the rest of the world really doesn’t. And I always rank low of on these sort of quizzes for the emotional question. So again, not surprised I am low, but the distribution looks tight like everyone else is really near the median. So clearly I am in robot territory here. Is that why I am single?
The DISC personality framework divides your personality up into four segments.
- Dominance -Describes the way you deal with problems, assert yourself and control situations.
- Influence – Describes the way you deal with people, the way you communicate and relate to others.
- Steadiness – Describes your temperament – patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
- Compliance – Describes how you approach and organize your activity, procedures and responsibilities.
My results are shown here:
You are responsive to challenges in a practical, realistic and enthusiastic manner. You are a fact orientated person capable of providing help based on solid information. You are assertive, self-sufficient and individualistic. People are likely to perceive you as being rational and creative at the same time.
So, this pie chart is scary. Am I really that dominant? However my rebellious side is laughing at the tiny compliance slice there. So DISC thinks I am a domineering non-conformist.
OCEAN or Big Five Test
This profile goes for a segmentation of five characteristics.
- Openness to experience (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious)
- Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless)
- Extraversion (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved)
- Agreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. challenging/detached)
- Natural Reactions (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident)
My results show:
So another set of results indicating I am a very open minded robot…..I’m nothing if not consistent here? And links to my curiosity for new things, e.g. in my podcast choices.
Visual DNA (Based on OCEAN)
OK, I added this one as the others are all text based, based on statements. Would I get different results on a visual quiz? I took the test to find out, results here.
So yes, that’s quite a different set of results, and pictorially I seem to score lower across the board. I also get a much more chilled result, The Stargazer. Compared to The Commander, it seems a world apart. But I’m more interested in what it tells me. Do I interpret words differently to pictures? I’m softer in picture format?
Gretchen Ruben’s Four Tendencies
Gretchen’s book on happiness really resonated with me, and I like how her framework is more simple, and focuses on what drives someone to do things. What motivates an individual?
I’m a questioner…
Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
This ties in with my rebellious nature. I clearly only support things I believe in.
Now I’m stretching the boundaries. Can colour preferences be used to determine your personality? Some people certainly think so, and they have an online test where you can test yourself and be scored.
My results come back as:
Finely you are a manager and a leader, and you know how to organize groups of people and how to give them your energy.
You are attuned to others and you show a good emotional intelligence, which allow you to give support to people.
You are intellectual and intelligent, you wonder and you inquire before taking any action and setting your values.
Firstly I’m not sure how to read the poor English. I immediately try to work out the reason – is this one of many results paragraphs you can get? Am I so unique they didn’t both proofreading this one? And if their grammar is shoddy, is the psychology as well? Have to say I’m not convinced that colours can really determine personality.
To conclude, I’m a fan. Personally I find tools like this invaluable in helping me understand myself and how others see me. I profile my colleagues to understand things we can easily collaborate on and any possible clashes. We all tend to anchor personalities based on our own norms. Especially if you work with high achieving people that are similar, you can forget that you are in a bubble and the rest of the world does not share or value those characteristics.
To sum up my big learnings are:
- I live in a liberal elite bubble
- I tend to associate with high performers
- Hence things that I think are normal, are not normal
- Personally I can come across as too domineering and take over-y
- And too unemotional (I identify with the Hillary problem)
- Nobody can agree if I am an Introvert or an Extrovert…meaning I’m probably an Ambivert.
Over to you
- Are you a fan of these frameworks?
- Have you done the tests? What do you test as?
- Have you got your team to do the tests at work? Your family?