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May 3rd, 2021 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

Know Thyself

Over the years I must have taken dozens of personality tests — most of them are, of course, garbage. I doubt you learn anything useful from knowing which Kardashian you are, nor if you are a dog or cat person (of course, there is only one right answer to that question anyway). But when taking a properly created and calibrated test — be it a self-assessment à la Gallup’s Strength Finder (now called the CliftonStrengths Assessment) or a 360 degree peer-review tool, can be incredibly insightful.

Knowing your strengths, weaknesses and blindspots truly is the first step to (better) leadership. Sharing this openly with your team can become incredibly powerful: Some ten+ years ago I interviewed with a pioneer in cloud infrastructure. The CEO was a massive fan of the Gallup Strength Finder and asked me to take the test before our interview. In the lead-up to our conversation the recruiter shared the Strength Finder profile for every single person I talked to with me. It became a fantastic shortcut to a) understand the other person better but also b) to make sure I delivered my arguments, comments, and perspectives in a way which was “compatible” with the other person. As you might gather by now, I am mostly a narrative-driven person. I think in stories and pictures — which also showed clearly in my Strength Finder profile. For one of the people I talked to, their profile showed a clear strength and preference in numbers and strictly logical argument. Walking into the session, knowing this, I could calibrate and have a much more use- and insightful conversation than without that bit of information.

Our friend Adam Grant (of Give and Take-fame), together with famed investment manager Ray Dalio, created the free Principles You assessment. It is a pretty thorough self-assessment, unearthing some great insights about you. Take it — but also make sure your colleagues and teammates take it, and you share your results. You will see — it will make you all better leaders and colleagues, as well as make your team hum.

And just in case you are wondering: I am an adventurer, Impresario, and Explorer. 😃

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