It’s been said at infinitum that people are our greatest resource. Why not consider investing in an assessment that will help you understand your people and your people understand you? In Episode #57 of our Executive Leadership Podcast, Chris and Perry discuss various personality and behavioral assessments and how they can improve your leadership and bring greater cohesion to your team.
To cultivate leadership development on your team, consider bringing a 5 Levels of Leadership Workshop to your organization this year.
Read Transcript Below:
Welcome to the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast, where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others, and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a John Maxwell facilitator and coach. And I’m Chris Goede, Vice President of the John Maxwell Company. Welcome and thank you for joining. Just as a quick reminder, the 5 Levels of Leadership is the methodology we take into corporate America to help with culture and leadership development. It’s really the foundation of everything that Perry and I talk about in regards to leadership. We’d love for you to visit our website at johnmaxwellcompany.com/podcast, and if you have a comment about the model or a question for Perry and me, we’d love to love for you to leave it on the website, and we’ll address it in one of our upcoming podcasts.
Here is today’s topic: “I’m a High I, Networker, ENFJ, Blue, What Type Are You?” I sometimes don’t even know what to say to people that come up and start talking about their personality traits. “Hey, I’m a D, or a C, or a B.” It really gets me when they say, “I’m an ENFJ.” I just can’t keep up. I think they’re trying to tell me the alphabet. So, Perry, what are we in for today?
I had a discussion with some coaches recently debating the use and appropriateness of various personality or temperament type assessment tools, like DISC or Myers-Briggs. At the John Maxwell Company, we use a specific personality assessment tool in our coaching and classroom work that we call the Maxwell Leadership Assessment. But before we go there, I’d love to get your thoughts on these tools and how you see them.
Well, in our 5 Levels methodology, Level 2 is considered the foundation of sustainable success when it comes to leadership. John says that if you have the ability to connect with people, they will give you permission to lead them. They will want to follow you. Personality and behavioral assessments are an amazing way to connect with your team. I’m glad that we are talking about this today, because I think connecting with people is the foundation of being a successful leader. We are in the people business. I know when I go different industries, people say they’re in the manufacturing business or the gadget business or the car business. I go, “No, no, no. Hold on. We are all in the people business.” Another reason I think this is a great topic is because, as John says, the hardest person to lead is yourself. Until you truly know yourself, you can’t lead yourself. These assessments are important both for understanding yourself and understanding your team.
There are several of these tools out there. DiSC and Myers-Briggs are two popular ones. One of our clients uses one called Management By Strengths (MBS). At the John Maxwell Company, we’ve honed in on RightPath. What was the decision to go with RightPath over DISC or Myers-Briggs?
That’s a great question. I think all of them are really good. But our foundation is with the RightPath Behavioral Assessment. We like that it uses the behavioral factor more than style or situational factors. We wanted the ability to measure internal behavior. I think some tests allow some learned behaviors to influence the scores. The other thing I really like about it is that it tells you why your results were what they were. You can look at my results and go, “Chris, why are you so crazy?” And I can say, “Well, I’m going to show you three intensities that I have right here that are driving that result.” Not only do I need to be aware of that, but my leaders and my peers need to be aware of that as well. When you take a DISC or a Myers Briggs test, in my mind, you’ll think about yourself at work. RightPath is just about thinking about you. It’s very simple, straightforward. That’s your DNA. That’s who you are. You may have learned some behaviors to get along, but at a gut, DNA level, this is who you are. You’ll see these factors that are controlling how you communicate and connect. So, those are just some high-level reasons why we ended up choosing RightPath to partner with.
Again, we are not saying one tool is better than the others. We are just talking about how you are applying the tool itself, because they’re all strong. What I love about the MBS is the simplicity of it. The MBS uses just four colors: red represents directness (that would be called the D in the DiSC). Green stands for extroversion–the ones that like to talk and never work. No, I’m just kidding. Blue stands for pace, those who work at a steady pace. Yellow stands for structure, those who want to do what’s right in every situation. Here’s how one company implements this tool. This company has every single one of their employees, from the CEO down to someone on their first day on the job, wear a name tag with a color. Everyone knows what color means what according to the MBS. They say one of the reasons they want the colors on their name tags was that their customers would ask about it. It’s a great way to talk about the importance of people. The second reason they chose to do this is that when you come up and shake hands with somebody, your eyes will go directly to that color. I can immediately understand a little bit about the person that I’m talking to. If they’re not green, they’re not an extrovert, and it may take a little while to get them ramped up and talking. Or if someone comes in hot right away, they’re a red; they’re very direct. It’s their style of connecting with people and with you. I love how they’ve applied one of these tests to their daily environment.
An issue they might run into is that the color labeling can lead to stereotyping. How do we protect against generalization when it comes to personality type labels? How do I keep from telling myself a story, when I really don’t know the story? Before you make an assumption (and we all do it), take some time to see where the conversation goes. The longer you’re having that conversation, you’ll get a feel for how dominant their color label is. No matter what it is. Each one of us has a different varying degree of our color. So we don’t need to make an assumption that, just because someone’s a blue, they’re all about a steady pace, right? Because there are four components at play, and each of those four tells a story about that individual. Make sure you understand the story behind each one of the four before you make an assumption about that person as a whole.
At the John Maxwell Company, we use the Maxwell Leadership Assessment. It’s what most of us probably know as a traditional 360 degree assessment in the HR world. When I said that, you probably started cussing, right? No one likes those 360 assessments because you get all these positive comments about your leadership, but you go right to the negative comments and dwell on them. But the Maxwell Leadership Assessment uses the 5 Levels of Leadership language. We talk often about how we are building a common language around leadership. So, where our test is different than most 360s is how the results come out. We can design development plans around certain levels of the 5 Levels of Leadership. We use the comparison of personality with poker cards. We’re all dealt certain cards at birth. The MLA shows you how you’re playing your cards. How are you leading? What does it look like to be on the other side of your leadership? When you take that behavioral assessment and you align it with the results of their MLA, it’s powerful.
The other reason why the Maxwell Leadership Assessment is so important is that you can use it to measure the development of your team or yourself. You can take it as a baseline, and then, 12 months later, you can take it again. Have a coach spend some time walking you through the results. Often, people misinterpret what the data’s really telling them because they just go straight to those negative comments. Again, I love being able to use that tool in unison with the behavioral assessment. We’ve said it already that the hardest person to lead is you. Wouldn’t it be great to have a little self-awareness? These assessments help make you more self-aware of how you operate and what makes you tick.
People are your most important resource. Not only will you be able to appreciate your team members more through these assessments, but your team members will grow closer together as they learn more about each other. It’s just naturally going to happen. Successful teamwork doesn’t just happen. We’ve got to understand each other. So, I would encourage you to invest in yourself and your team members by taking personality assessments. We need to understand how we’re wired, because at the end of the day, we all get under pressure inside organizations, whether it’s a quota, a deadline to change a process, or whatever. And when we get crunched for time, when we get backed into a corner, what will come out is how we’re naturally wired, so we need to make sure we’re aware of that. As leaders, we need to be aware of our team members’ true natures so that we can coach them through those times.
Fantastic. In the transcript of this podcast you can find links to some of the personality tests we’ve mentioned, in case you’re not familiar with them. If you would like to ask a question about the 5 Levels, or if you’d like to have a 5 Levels workshop at your location, or if you’d like to leave a question for us, you can find it at johnmaxwellcompany.com/podcast. As always, we’re grateful for you joining us. This has been the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast.
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