ARTICLE 5: “We Have All The Tools, Training, & Profile Assessments To Make Our Team Better – We’re Covered”
Using the right development tools can often give you good results. Similarly, the appropriate use of assessments, profiling, and other similar tools may be of value. No doubt you have heard about various tools and assessments that are used for profiling people. You know – DISC, Myers Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI), Social Styles, Facet Five, Insights and so on and so on.
These have validity when used correctly. The reality, though, is that they often are not used correctly. There are a number of reasons why they aren’t necessarily the best way forward in creating high-performing teams. So, what are those reasons?
- Self-Rating Profiles. These are questionnaires that are completed by an individual about their own perception of their own behaviour. The resulting profile only gives information to the individual about their self-perception. Some studies show that this ‘self-perception’ is not accurate when compared to profiling tools where other people’s input is sought.
- The ‘Badge of Honour.’ This is when an individual is categorised by a particular profiling tool. The individual then ‘wears the badge’ and tells people they need to get used to the fact they behave that way. In other words – ‘you need to put up with the way I behave – I’ve got a badge to prove I am like that.’
- Confusing social with work behaviours. There are separate parameters which look at how we behave in a work context, such as how we organise and how we decide. These often get mixed up with social behaviours – e.g., how we influence and how we respond to others. This leads to lack of understanding in some profiles.
- Who should complete the profile? Depending on the type of profiling tool, there may be an opportunity to seek the input of others. That is a good thing. However, when the results are presented back to the participant, they may be split in a way that separates feedback from different groups of people. For example, the results may be shown as manager feedback, peer feedback, and subordinate feedback. This can lead to more confusion as the participant isn’t sure which one to believe.
Now don’t get me wrong.
There are all sorts of tools which are valid, have ‘norm groups’ that are researched, and many are very detailed and academically backed. And there is the next issue.
Academia has little impact in the workplace where people simply can’t get along. No amount of academic proof will have any effect when two members of your team are shouting at each other across the office!
So, with all of these assessments, profiles, and tools, why can’t we get along?
In answer to that question, I believe there are several factors at play.
- Which profiling tool should be used? Using the wrong tool will lead to wrong outcomes.
- How is the profile or report presented to the participant? There must be adequate feedback of the profile to the participant to ensure understanding of the content.
- How much development does the participant receive on how to behave differently? Many tools stop short of offering proper skills development.
- Using online profiling tools that are cheap or free – they have little or no supporting development input. It is worth spending money on getting it right. As the saying goes – you get what you pay for. There is no value if something is free.
Profiling without a strategy to capitalise on the strengths and develop the areas of need is a total waste of time and money.
Of course, the greatest error in relying on profiles alone is this. They only show you behaviour based on either self-rating or multi-rating input. A profile will only ever act as a means to demonstrate different behaviours. That is not enough on its own to teach people how to adapt and be versatile with others in a range of different situations.
What is needed is a sustainable strategy for the whole team which explains how to communicate with all types of people. This may well involve a profiling tool. However, it should be accompanied by a well-established methodology to enable people to clearly understand the differences shown by the profile results. Moreover, once those differences are understood, people need to learn how to change their approach towards others.
Many people say to me ‘why should I change my behaviour towards someone else’s preferences?’ My response is that we behave in a way that feels right to us as individuals. We are not doing anything wrong – intentionally. However, that way of communicating may not appeal to the others we interact with. If we don’t change, don’t expect anything in your dealings with others to change either.
It’s a matter of not being seen as difficult, just different. Once we understand that, things will begin to change for the better.