Leaders come in all shapes, sizes and personalities

opportunity, diversity

By Elizabeth Brennan, UK Industry Client Director at Criteo

Behavioural assessments are common in today’s workplace and they are really useful when it comes to understanding ourselves and our colleagues better. 

After all, a high performing workplace is a diverse one, inclusive of different ‘types’ of personalities.

Whether you’ve been assessed by DISC, Myers-Briggs, True Colours or Strengths Finder, it can be easy to get hung-up and typecast by the results. “That’s so D of you”, “I’m very green like that” and “she’s an analytical type” are just some of the phrases you may have heard thrown around an office as a result of these assessments.

Worse still, it can cause alarm and concern when a certain type of behaviour doesn’t appear in the profiling – this happened to me in my early career, when one assessment showed that I did not have the more dominant traits usually associated with those in management or leadership positions.

Thankfully, I quickly learned that it takes much more than letters or colours on a personality chart to progress in your career. The most inspiring leaders I know are those that can communicate and work effectively with multiple types of people. They foster a culture where everyone is encouraged to play to their strengths and contribute to the overall success of the organisation.  After all, effective teams are made up of different personalities and led by different types of people, as each bring different and unique strengths to the table; and a good leader will recognise this.

Whatever your personal goal is; departmental head or CEO, understanding your own assessment alongside that of your team is extremely useful. While these tests aren’t maps on how to manage certain people, they help you to understand how individuals like to work and interact within the team. What’s more, they can help you as a line-manager guide and advise your direct reports on career progression and training, which will ultimately help increase employee satisfaction, engagement and retention.

I also think that as a people manager, it is important to share your own assessment with your team. Just because you are the ‘boss’ shouldn’t mean that those you work with don’t get an insight into your strengths and weaknesses too.  I have done this with my team here at Criteo, and those I manage found it useful and insightful to understand what works for me and how they can get the most out of me.

For me, if you want to be a leader, then you can be – whether you’re a yellow, a red or lack a bit of ‘D’. Personality and behavioural tests can be useful to understand yourself and your colleagues better, letters or colours will only take you so far. The true benefit of such tests is that they allow us to understand how to work in harmony with each other and create a working environment in which everyone can flourish.

About the author

Elizabeth Brennan is UK Industry Client Director at Criteo, the advertising platform for the open Internet.  With nearly a decade of experience in digital advertising, Elizabeth worked initially in paid search before moving into planning and account management.  She is a champion of women in business and a strong believer in the power of mentoring. A graduate of The University of Reading, Elizabeth is a former winner of the prestigious NABS Fast Forward award and has gone on to achieve Code First certification as part of the organisation’s initiative to increase the number of women in tech.

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