I was very pleased that the post on personality testing triggered the lively discussion it did. The topic is a long-time source of irritation to me. Reducing the infinite variety and complexity of human character to any test should obviously set off ethics alarms, and making life-changing decisions based on such lazy short-cuts to assessing character is a bright-line Golden Rule breach. Anyone who wants to start understanding my character should read all of the posts on Ethics Alarms, and even then should prepare to be surprised.
Before I get to Sarah B.’s Comment of the Day, let me relay the link to Extradimensional Cephalopod‘s website and its basic mindsets section in his Foundational Toolbox for Life.
I’ve combined two of Sarah’s comments here, because they are closely related and I couldn’t choose between them. Here is her Comment of the Day on the post, “Using Personality Testing For Anything But Party Games Is Unethical”…
I know a manager who believes strongly in personality testing, and focuses heavily on the Clifton Strengths profile. He has convinced everyone that it is the way to go and has every one of his employees list their five strengths in order on their work emails, just like some places want preferred pronouns. Everyone I have talked to about this seems totally bought into it. I volunteer here, and thus don’t have to have my Clifton profile done, but when I was introduced to my supervisor (T), he introduced himself as a strategist, which means that he knows how to get from point A to point B in the best possible way, but has a weakness with communication, so we should just all do what he says without question, because he knows better than we do and he doesn’t have time to communicate. If you want someone who is good at communicating, talk to person H. Another of my supervisors (D), introduced herself with her main strength, the ability to think out her problems very well, but as a down side, she must have time to think, so don’t bring her a problem and expect a solution that week. She needs quiet time to work it out.
This is not a way to introduce yourselves, in my opinion. Frankly, I’d rather be known for who I am and let you determine what you think my strengths and weaknesses are, rather than a self reported test that gives me, however accurately, an assessment of those things I am strong at and tells me to make them stronger. I’d rather work to be a well rounded person. I’d also rather think of myself, not as a combination of personality traits, but as a whole person, a person who may have strengths and weaknesses, but who can work to overcome weaknesses and may let certain strengths founder as a choice.
Even if strengths are good things to have, we have to work on our weaknesses too. Frankly, T lets his “strength” in strategizing be an excuse for acting like a controlling jackass. If something doesn’t work perfectly, he blames it all on others, and says we didn’t listen enough. He cannot handle changing conditions, because they throw off his plan, so he gets stressed and pushes people badly. I have nearly quit because of him, but am too stubborn and want the experience for later in life. D uses her “strength” as an excuse to not organize or prepare for anything, all with the excuse that she didn’t have adequate time to think through the problem. If a problem arises needing a quick solution, she shuts down totally, claiming that there is nothing to be done, and won’t accept anyone else’s solution to the problem. We go from about to do our work to completely cancelling our work in moments.
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