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Staff Health

Why I Hate Personality Profiles

Personality assessments can be helpful tools... or they can do significant damage to your organization.

Why I Hate Personality Profiles Blog BG

AKA How not to use personality profiles during a search

First things first, the title is a little inflammatory. The truth is, I LOVE personality profiles. I am a 7w8, ENFP, ID, whose Strengths Finder is strategic, activator, maximizer, arranger, and self-assurance. I consume personality assessments like youth ministries consume pizza.

One of the core components of Chemistry's search process is built around an assessment process. We built a proprietary assessment process that helps us identify whether someone will be a great, long-term fit for the churches that we get to serve. The process serves as a great screening tool that allows us to quickly understand red and yellow flags for a potential match.

So, why the inflammatory title? Because as helpful as personality profiles are, when they are used incorrectly, they can be disastrous. As I have served churches throughout the years, there are two common ways that I have seen churches get into trouble with personality profiles:

  • Assuming that there is a correct type for a position. While it is true that certain wirings make a more natural fit for certain roles, I have seen too many churches disqualify incredibly talented people for a position simply because of a MBTI profile or Enneagram number. 
  • Defining a person by their type. The letters, numbers, colors, or words associated with a profile are not the be-all, end-all of a person's wiring. These tools are a starting point for learning about people, not the definitive tool for understanding everything about someone.

Bottom Line: The danger of personality profiles is that we use them to define people, not to learn about them. Chemistry's assessment process is used to facilitate conversations with candidates and churches, not to define them. We use these tools as jumping off points for the conversations that we have, allowing us to better understand how someone uses their wiring for Kingdom ministry and how they have leveraged their unique skills, abilities, and challenges, to better serve. I am a big fan of using assessments as part of a church's search process... but only if you use them as a tool for learning, not as a tool for defining or sorting.  


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Matt Steen

Matt Steen

Matt has served the local church for over two decades as a youth pastor, church planter, and executive pastor. Originally from Baltimore, Matt currently lives in Orlando, with his wife Theresa, and has a B.S. in Youth Ministry from Nyack College and an M.Div. and MBA from Baylor University. Certified as an Urban Church Planter Coach by Redeemer City to City and as a StratOp facilitator by the Paterson Center, Matt has made a career of helping churches thrive through intentionality, clarity, and creating healthy cultures. He is convinced that a healthy church is led by a healthy team with great chemistry, and loves partnering with Chemistry’s churches to do great things for the Kingdom.

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