Dave Rhodes writes, “Freedom is not the ability to do anything you want to do. Freedom is the capability to become who you were always destined to be.” We often wrestle with essential and life-altering questions, such as, What Am I To Do? How Am I To Do this? Where Am I To Go? Which are all fundamentally rooted and informed by this question, Who Am I To Be? Our Who precedes our What, When, Where, Why, and How - yet, all continue in a dialogical and mutually forming relationship with each other over time. Simply put, our Who is our Personality. And our personalities are the characteristics and behaviors that make us who we are, which according to the American Psychological Association, “comprise a person’s unique adjustment to life, including major traits, interests, drives, values, self-concept, abilities, and emotional patterns.”
So what are some ways we can understand our unique personality to walk in freedom, ultimately embracing our destiny and expressing our unique beauty? I recognize that multiple theories are out there trying to explain the nature, structure, development, and dynamics of personality that can make tackling and maneuvering through this matter complex. But for our purposes, I will attempt to keep things as straightforward as possible (because that’s who I am).
At the risk of overgeneralizing when it comes to discovering and assessing elements of our personality, two approaches need to be considered. One practice is focused on personality TYPE, and the other is personality TRAITS. Type identifies your personality with innate (inborn or intrinsic) drives, needs, and preferences - for example, are you an introvert or an extrovert? Type is your ‘core’ self, and traits are your ‘contextual’ self. They tend to be more fixed than flexible. Traits, however, are focused on your behaviors and are measured on a continuum - such as being highly empathetic or not empathetic. It’s the nature and nurture dynamic at work, with both informing and influencing each other over time.
The Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) is one of the most reputable and recognized type assessments. Based on the work of Carl Jung, it locates you within four preference pairs or dichotomies:
- Extraversion or Introversion (how you direct and receive energy)
- Sensing or Intuition (how you take in information and perceive reality)
- Thinking or Feeling (how you prioritize information and make decisions)
- Judging or Perceiving (how you approach and orient yourself to the outside world)
(When thinking about preferences, think of which hand you prefer to write. You can do so with both, but you choose one over the other - and writing with that hand is usually more natural and legible. For example, someone can be wired as an introvert but can choose to be extroverted - it just takes more effort and intentionality).
The MBTI is a positive framework and tool for personal and team development, covering conflict management, communication, decision-making, and dealing with change.
Several assessments measure traits. A well-known one is the DISC assessment which identifies four personality styles and work behaviors: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. As a certified MBTI practitioner, I use the CPI 260 Assessment, which assesses your lifestyle orientation around four ways of living, your level of life satisfaction, and 26 characteristics essential to healthy leadership grouped around five categories: dealing with others, self-management, motivations and thinking styles, personal characteristics, and work-related measures. The CPI 260 is an excellent tool for leadership development and executive coaching, helping people to improve their performance.
Every individual (and team) is a unique work of art created to express and embody their beauty, creativity, and personality in all its colorfulness. Deciphering one’s type and traits is one of many ways to help discover, deploy, and develop your personality. Assessments do not provide precise, absolute indicators of who you are or can be; they provide instructive and insightful approximations and estimates to guide the journey. There is a multitude of personality assessments available to choose from. The goal is to select reliable ones that suit the purposes best for you and your team.
At Chemistry Staffing, we provide several helpful solutions to help leaders and their teams grow and develop so they can thrive in their work and ministry. If we can help resource and support you and your team through personality assessments, please get in touch with us. We would love to connect and serve you.
Additional Resources to Check Out:
- MBTI Step ll Assessment - this assessment is very diagnostic in that it breaks down the four MBTI pairs into twenty pairs (five subset pairs for each central pair).
- Truity - is an excellent site with several free personality tests.
- Younique - is a free and fully resourced site to help people discover and activate their unique calling.
- Cloverleaf - is a powerful web resource providing automated coaching for individuals and teams, leveraging multiple personality assessments.
- 5 Voices - is based around five leadership voices: pioneer, connector, guardian, creative, and nurturer. (This is similar to the APEST assessment designed for church leadership).
Dr. Allan Love