Monday, 11 April 2011

Reflecting on inventories

I'm not a big fan of using standard psychometric tests in recruitment and selection.

One way I like to use personality inventories is in coaching, as a way to help show someone how well they have developed.

For example, managers often come to me because they are overwhelmed with stress and struggle to keep going in the job. After we've worked together for a while and focussed on ways of reducing the pressure, shifting mindsets, delegating and managing self and others better, it's useful to sit back and reflect.

What aspects of their personality may have contributed to the problem?

Using NEO five factor inventory, we can focus on a few dimensions that may have contributed to stress in the past, but which, with lower scores, are more manageable.

High Conscientiousness, where a manager may work to such high standards that they feel responsible for everything, coupled with High Agreeableness, where a manager may be reluctant to discipline staff and keen to avoid conflict at all costs, can increase pressure on the individual. When the manager has High Sensitivity and worries about things going wrong or perceived criticism from superiors or subordinates, it may take very little for this person to crack under the strain.

By introducing these concepts when things are improving, the manager may feel much less defensive about the dimensions and relevant descriptions, but recognise the elements that have caused trouble. These can then be used as a personal tracking system to help maintain pressure at a safe and healthy level.

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