Using personality or behavior assessments (DiSC, MBTI, Big 5, etc.) reinforces the belief that people are the problem & they are not good enough being who they are. This distracts from the failure of the company & management to focus on organizational systems & operations. The majority of company problems come from poorly designed work systems. The people do the best they can to work within this system. Change how the work gets done people will change. Change the people the problems remain the same.

Using behavior and personality assessments in team building Create Learning Team Building and Leadership

I’ve written about the use of behavioral and personality assessments before. There is a large amount of literature, opinions & research about validity & the application of these tools.

My direct challenge:
  • Assessments do not point to the work that has to get done.
  • Interpretation of the results are only as good as the person interpreting the results… and if they know nothing about the work that has to get done, how is it helpful?
  • They are used to deal with someone’s perception of “Difficult people”  or Teams. It’s odd the the person identifying others as difficult rarely sees themselves as part of the problem.
  • Managers, Human Resources Staff, Organization Development Consultants use these things as valid indicators to arrange teams, structure project work, improve management communication, hire staff, coach & try to change behavior.
  • You are NOT a psychologist. If you are a psychologist the people who work for and with you are NOT your patients.
A Managers perception of people will lead to Trust Attracting or Trust Repelling Behaviors

Using these assessments leads to Trust Repelling Behaviors. They drop directly into the 2 of the 10 Misconception about people at work.

  1. The notion that some types of roles (sales, research, finance, etc.) call for a higher level of special personality qualities or competencies (initiative, social-ability, risk-taking, aggression, etc.) than other types of roles.
  2. The belief that you can get significant and lasting changes in people’s behavior only by changing the person’s psychological makeup and values.
What can be done? we still have strong personalities on the team.

The majority of us fall within an acceptable normative range of behavior. If someone is EXTREME – they’re soooo introverted they are unable to speak in front of a group or in a meeting AND this is a requirement for their work.  This is where maybe a personality or behavioral assessment can be useful. This should be accompanied by coaching & development, returning to the work that has to get done.

For the majority of people these bad behaviors are symptoms of broken systems within the work

Changes to how people work Change peoples behavior Create Learning Team Building and Leadership


Ideas that may work:
Discuss & ensure that everyone knows & shares knowledge of these 5 things:
  1. Why are we together? What is the work we are doing?
  2. Does the team and each person know what to do?
  3. Does the team and each person know how to do what they are supposed to do?
  4. Does the team and each person have the best tools / resources to do the work?
  5. Are Check-ins, Milestones and follow-up expectations known documented and used?

OK – you have gone through all of this and you feel convinced that the work & work system is structured properly and the team or person(s):

  1. Know what they are supposed to do.
  2. Know how to do it.
  3. Know why they should do it.
  4. Have had sufficient feedback.
  5. There are NO obstacles beyond their control.

Involve the team or person in one of these personality or behavior assessments. AND ensure that you point to how it applies to the work and connect the dots to show how current behaviors are getting in the way of work getting done.

What do you think?

Do you agree that Systems-Drive-Behavior? What about your behavior can become negative when you are unclear of how the work gets done?

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