You don’t need to know all about psychology to understand yourself and others, but what is useful is to develop awareness about yourself so that you can be able to appreciate your strengths – and realise where you might be less than effective. Using just some of the tests in my book Psychological Testing can be helpful – try answering these questions for yourself:
1. Are you competitive? If you’re not, it doesn’t mean you can’t be go-getting and successful – you might be good at accommodating the needs of others – working in the caring professions; you might be strong at collaborative skills, working in a team, problem-solving, consulting – see p. 151
2. Are you a leader? Some people think this is essential, they must be in charge, they must get promoted to a leader role – but it can be just as important not to be. Being a resource investigator – able to marshal contacts, network, find answers to problems with the help of others; being a team-worker – maintaining harmony and keeping everyone in the team happy; being a monitor-evaluator – keeping the team on track and preventing crazy decisions from being made – these are all very important – see p. 191
3. Are you thrusting and dynamic? People with Type A personality are often seen as the kind of person who is most wanted in business – energetic, non-stop, highly proactive, doing everything in a hurry. But Type As crash and burn. They suffer from stress and even get heart attacks. Type Bs can be the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kind of people, who quietly get on with important work without dramas, and always have time for others – see p. 65
4. Are you fast at making decisions? People who are “J” types on the famous Myers Briggs Type Indicator tend to be good at getting on with business and administrative tasks – but do they remember to think of other people’s feelings and points of view? Do they work through their to-do lists, but without reflection? The “P” types may be much more concerned with learning and ideas, less concerned with possessions and material things, and are dreamers and thinkers. They provide the really brilliant breakthroughs, although the “J” types might make them finally happen – see p. 85
5. Are you a real egg-head type? Should you be mega-smart and massively intellectual to really get on in life, or can you overdo it? You can be very good at critical thinking, being able to reason, deduct, recognize assumptions and evaluate all arguments, quickly reading and absorbing difficult pieces of text and making lightening judgments. But sometimes you can be just too smart for your own good. Top consulting firms use critical reasoning tests to select promising consultants – but they actually don’t want people who are too clever. They may not be able to get on with others, sell projects, see the wood for the trees – and do other things which consultants need to do – see p. 175.
Dr Stephanie Jones
Associate Professor, Organizational Behavior, Maastricht School of Management, The Netherlands
Stephanie Jones is the author of Psychological Testing: The essential guide to using and surviving the most popular recruitment and career development tests.