When seeking sustainable performance improvement, it’s important to look at things holistically. Personality is not separate from performance, just as relationships are not separate from teamwork.
Knowing that, it’s often easiest to make large-scale changes by unpacking complicated, synthetic concepts like performance, and making sure that each component is cared for. Personality is a good place to start. Performance, when broken down, is a series of decisions – behavioral choices – that we use to accomplish our goals. It’s important to know where these decisions come from and how they affect one another. Our preference for certain types of decisions and behaviors is determined by our personal style.
But, that is not to say that we are limited by our personal style. Simply acknowledging our personal style makes it possible to choose behaviors that are not in line with our natural tendencies, but that are more effective for the situation at hand. When that situation involves dealing with someone who is very different from us, understanding their personal style is the most fundamental aid to presenting and gathering information to and from that person – to communicating with them. Learning the difference between our preferred methods of communicating and the methods of others will make working together more efficient and effective. It may also reveal which methods are more successful than others when approaching certain tasks and goals – helping everyone involved become more effective when approaching similar tasks in the future.
There are many ways to measure personality style. One very popular and proven method is presented in the Personal Style Inventory (PSI) – a personality assessment and soft-skills training program based on the theories of Carl Jung. Starting with a quick and easy-to-score self-assessment, the PSI ascribes a style to each participant based on their responses. Participants are guided through an explanation of how these styles are differentiated, which behaviors are associated with them, and how they are perceived by people with opposing styles. The PSI includes style strengths and action-planning to avoid ineffective, style-specific behaviors.
On an individual level, knowing our own natural strengths and weaknesses helps us decide where to focus our energy and which of our skills need refinement. Whether we are working together or separately, performance – just like personality – is a relative measure. When working to accomplish any goal, it’s always important to consider our actions as they relate to others. That’s how we build organizations, communities, families, and ourselves.
Experiential learning activities like the Personal Style Inventory allows for application of new knowledge in the moment – a positive change just by participating. Improvements in performance and interpersonal relationships take effect immediately, and become part of work life.