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Best Professional Personality Tests 2021

by | Jun 15, 2021 | Executive Coaching, Mindfulness Coaching, Somatic Coaching, Team Coaching

Personality testing to support professional growth is not a new thing–different tests including the Meyers-Briggs have been around for decades.

Recently, personality testing got a bit of a bad wrap, in Netflix’s documentary, Persona. That said, Persona focused more on how some companies used testing as a way to filter out candidates, which disproportionately hurt certain types of people.

In the best scenarios, personality testing is used not as a hard and fast rule to see who should or should not work at a specific workplace or on a specific team; instead, to give teammates a shared language to talk about themselves, warts and all, and to help individuals better understand themselves and how they can grow.

With all of this in mind, I want to share the best personality tests of 2021 based on conversations with coaches, companies, and human development leaders:

The Enneagram

Overview:

While the Enneagram has been around for centuries, used by various community groups, psychologists and religions, in the last 20 years the Enneagram has boomed as a powerful tool to be used within large corporations.

Where to Learn More:

The best place to learn about the Enneagram is via Upbuild or at the Enneagram Institute where you can take the RHETI test (for $12) to learn more about your highest scoring types (not necessarily your actual type).

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • A combination of easy understanding, and lifelong depth. There is no other personality tool like the Enneagram that has baked inside of it a notion of growth within a type, recognizes that different types show up different on different days and in different situations, and so much more.
  • The Enneagram is dynamic. It bakes the concept of personal growth and changes into its typing. Other tools tend to peg people as one thing or another, whereas the Enneagram recognizes that we are way more multi-faceted than that.
  • By having both a primary type and a wing, the Enneagram adds additional complexity.
  • Fun to learn and share as a team.

Cons:

  • A lot of people use the Enneagram inaccurately, over-generalizing about different types and taking certain traits as dogma.
  • It takes time and patience to find your type. No single test is 100% accurate and most often it helps to work with an expert to discover and understand your type.

CliftonStrenths Finder (by Gallup)

Overview:

The CliftonStrengths Finder has grown in popularity in recent years for two reasons–first, the simplicity of the results make it easier to understand and enact takeaways than other tests, and secondly, a new trade-in human development philosophy called “Positive Focus” suggests that employees and companies benefit the most by growing their strengths rather than aiming to be well-rounded. 

Where to Learn More:

You can learn more on the Gallup website here and via their introductory video here.

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Relatively simple, especially when compared to the potential impact of the results.
  • By highlighting one’s strengths, the test makes it easy to communicate results to peers and colleagues.
  • In many workplaces, focusing on one’s strengths is a key to increased impact and growth.

Cons:

  • As with many personality tests, StrengthsFinder can be reductive, putting you and your teammates into boxes, that may not reflect your true potential or skills. 
  • The idea of focusing on strengths is a good strategy only in certain roles, on certain teams, at certain points in your career. Knowing when to do this vs when to dial up weakness is a skill that good leaders and employees know how to do.

Myers-Briggs (MBTI)

Overview:

Made popular by MBA students everywhere (ever had a “type-A” person tell you about themselves by listing off a bunch of letters?) and by Ray Dalio at his company Bridgewater and in his book Principles, the Myers-Briggs test is well-researched and widely known, making it an easy choice to implement for most teams and companies.

Where to Learn More:

You can check out the Myers-Briggs Foundation for research on the MBTI methodology and you can take a free typing test here. There are many different MBTI typing tests out there that are of varying lengths, offering different reports, and which people argue are of different degrees of accuracy. The one linked to above is of medium length, generally seen as accurate, and a good starting place to learn about your MBTI type.

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • One of the most known and talked about personality typing tests, this makes the MBTI easier to share and discuss with teammates or friends.
  • Relatively straightforward, with 16 different results, depending on how you rank on 4 different typing pairs (Introverted vs Extroverted, Feeling vs Thinking, etc.).
  • More in-depth and modern versions of the MBTI tell you where you rank on the spectrum of each pair above to provide more nuance on your type.

Cons: 

  • The most common issue with the MBTI is that it is not dynamic. It gives you a type without a notion of how you change within that type, or how you may show up differently in different situations. This can be limited to one’s growth and self-knowledge.
  • People note that societal constructs around gender cause men and women to fall more commonly into one type vs the other, which then reinforces these gendered traits.
  • Getting a list of 4 letters, INTP, ENTP, etc. can be confusing in terms of how each of the 16-types is different and what that means interpersonally or on teams.

TrueColours Test

Overview:

The True Colours personality test assigns you a color that represents you based on your answers to their questions. The four colors are Orange, Gold, Green, and Blue. Each color represents a different primary personality type, and all four lay the foundation of True Colors’ fun and insightful personality-identification system. True Colours goal is to help you discover key social information about yourself and others. That way it creates a more understanding environment built on collaboration. I would highly recommend this to a professional team as a way of getting to know each other and everyone’s work habits.

Where to Learn More:

You can learn more at this website for information on the True Colours test and how it works. You can take the personality test here. You can pay to learn about your full-color spectrum here. There is a more expensive option to include a 45-minute creative consultation with a True Colours certified expert.

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Similar to Myers-Briggs
  • User-friendly 

Cons: 

  • There are only four color types, which feels very generalized in comparison to the Enneagram or Myers-Briggs

DISC

Overview:

DISC uses four factors to explain your behavior toward others, the DISC factors, Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. The goal of DISC is to help you improve interpersonal communications, connect with co-workers, and understand what you need to be most successful. 

Where to Learn More:

DiSC assessments are used in thousands of organizations around the world, from sprawling government agencies and Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits and small businesses. You can learn more at this website. 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Provides a common language in the workplace to communicate through
  • Focused on professional environment & relationships

Cons: 

  • Some people do not want to be described as being compliant or on the opposite dominant in the workplace
  • Mood has a factor in the way you answer questions, meaning your results may not be consistent every time

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