Everything you do as an admin involves communication and relationship building. Why and how you do what you do is related to your personality preferences, strengths, experiences, and more. And the better you understand personality types, emotional intelligence, strengths, and communication and work styles, the better you’ll understand how they impact your personal life, career, and your ability to be The Innovative Admin™.
I talk a lot about how to identify and demonstrate your value in the workplace by better understanding your personality type. Now I want to take that a step further and show you exactly how you can use a personality profile assessment in an annual review, one-on-one meeting, or interview.
To me, it doesn’t matter what type of personality tool you use – True Colors, DiSC, Enneagram, or Myers-Briggs. They all have value and provide insight. Since I’m a certified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) facilitator, I’m going to use my Myers-Briggs profile to illustrate how to do this.
My Myers-Briggs type is ESTJ.
Here’s what my profile report specifically states about the ESTJ personality type.
Without any additional information about each of the four preference scales, here are some things that immediately jump out of this description and illustrate where I add value to my executives and team members:
- Logical, analytical, and objectively critical
- Organizes projects and acts to get things done in a systematic, timely, and efficient manner
- Likes to solve problems and organize things
- Can count on me to follow through in an organized, efficient, and practical manner
This description also highlights my overall work style, the environment in which I work best, and what frustrates me as I do my work. And this is just the summary. When you look at the more complete report, there is a wealth of information to consider.
Using Personality Profiles in Interviews
Throughout my career, I have used a one-page personality type profile sheet in interviews to give the interviewer a preview of what it will be like to work with me. If I liked the company, was encouraged by what I had learned from the interviewers, and thought the position might be a good fit for me, I’d share my profile with them. I typically shared it after I interviewed with human resources, as I began interviewing with the hiring executives.
I’d usually say, “I’m very interested in this position. I think I’d be a good fit based on what you’ve told me so far. And I’d like to give you a bit of additional insight on my personality type and how I work best. If you like what you’ve heard from me, and read this personality profile and think I’d be a good fit for this position, I hope to hear from you. And if you read this and don’t think I’d be a good fit for this position, please do not offer it to me.”
Using Personality Profiles on the Job
Once I landed a job, I used the more detailed version of my personality profile to further educate my new executive on where I typically add the most value, and how I work best. I knew I would also need to learn about them. And sharing my profile helped start conversations about how we were the same and different. This was the key to developing our partnership. When we ran into communication snags or frustration points, I had a productive way of raising the issue and explaining the cause. Then each of us could raise our awareness, look for ways we both may need to adapt and find a better path forward.
Here is a more detailed breakdown of each of the four preference scales for my MBTI type, and how each impacts the way I perform in the workplace.
Extraversion and Introversion: Source of Energy
On the Extraversion (E) and Introversion (I) preference, I am a clear E. The additional sub-scales highlight some of the ways that may reveal itself in my personality: initiating, expressive, gregarious, active, and enthusiastic.
The Extraversion / Introversion preference is the most important to the source of energy. This preference pair describes how we orient ourselves to the outside world. If you prefer to focus your attention on, and get energized by, the outer world of people and activity, you probably prefer extraversion. If you prefer reflecting on your inner world of thoughts and feelings, you probably prefer introversion.
While all of my preference sub-scales clearly lean toward extraversion, it’s important to note that this is not always the case. As you learn about yourself and begin observing others more closely, keep in mind that sometimes you may lean more toward the opposite side on some scales than others. And that can explain some of the anomalies that you may see in your behavior and others.
Communication strengths of an extravert that highlight the value I add in the workplace include:
- Are active, energetic, and enthusiastic
- Think on their feet
- Have established networks of contacts
- Have a breadth of interests
- Provide extensive information and feedback
Sensing and Intuition: Taking in Information
On the Sensing (S) and iNtuition (N) preference, I am a clear S. The additional sub-scales highlight some of the ways that may reveal itself in my personality: concrete, realistic, practical, experiential, and traditional.
The Sensing / iNtuition preference is most important in taking in information. Sensing indicates a preference for a more practical focus of attention on facts and details. Intuition indicates a preference for a more abstract focus on attention to patterns and possibilities.
Communication strengths of a sensor that highlight the value I add in the workplace include:
- Are anchored in current realities and common sense
- Are practical and realistic
- Are observant and attend to details
- Retain and learn well from experiences
- Immediately apply what is communicated.
Thinking and Feeling: Decision Making
On the Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) preference, I am a T. The additional sub-scales highlight some of the ways that may reveal itself in my personality: logical, reasonable, critical, and tough. You’ll notice I’m very much in the midzone between questioning and accommodating. That one can go either direction, which can actually be helpful at times.
The Thinking / Feeling preference is most important in decision making. When making a decision, an individual with a preference for thinking tends to focus on logic and analysis. An individual preferring feeling tends to focus more on personal values and priorities.
For the Thinking and Feeling preference, an important distinction that I like to make in personality type workshops is this: Decision making involves looking at problems and people. The difference between Thinkers and Feelers is the order in which they evaluate those two elements in coming to a decision.
- Thinking types look at the problem first and people second.
- Feeling types look at the people first and the problem second.
Communication strengths of a thinker that highlight the value I add in the workplace include:
- Calm, reasonable, and under control
- Provide honest and frank feedback
- Analyze, evaluate and critique
- Objective and principled
- Clear thinking process using defined criteria
Judging and Perceiving: Lifestyle
On the Judging (J) and Perceiving (P) preference, I am a clear J. The additional sub-scales highlight some of the ways that may reveal itself in my personality: systematic, planful, scheduled, and methodical. The early starting vs. pressure-prompted is very much in the midzone on this preference scale also, much to my chagrin. I often refer to my overall type as E – S – T – pressure-prompted J. This is where one of my sub-scale preferences can sometimes confuse the passive onlooker who sees me rushing to meet a deadline!
The Judging / Perceiving preference is most important in lifestyle and how we deal with the world around us. A person with a preference for judging tends to be decisive and prefer structure and control. A person with a preference for perceiving tends to keep their options open and prefer spontaneity and flexibility. This preference scale is where you’ll typically find the most conflict in personal and professional relationships and how they work best with one another.
Communication strengths of Judging that highlight the value I add in the workplace include:
- Are decisive
- Share decisions, then move ahead
- Are well organized and efficient communicators
- Are task- and goal-focused
- Provide clear expectations and timelines
Personality Type Impact
Your personality type plays a part in almost every aspect of work: communication, team culture, leadership, handling change, problem-solving / conflict resolution, and stress management. Understanding how your personality type specifically contributes to each of these is extremely valuable. Having an awareness level of how your type may irritate other team members, how other team members may aggravate you, and what you can do to maximize your effectiveness will help you become a more emotionally intelligent, value-added individual personally and professionally. Learning and applying these things will be part of your ongoing career-changing journey as The Innovative Admin. The first step is getting to know yourself!
Your personality type has a huge impact on every facet of your life, so learning as much about it as you can makes perfect sense. Ready to dive deeper? Check out this webinar that will show you how understanding your personality type can help you communicate, work, and lead more effectively!
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.