The Downside with Assessments

I am a huge fan of personal assessments that help us better understand ourselves and others.  There are personality assessments. There are natural strengths assessments.  There are even spiritual assessments to show us how we naturally worship best.

I’ve been labeled so many letters and words that I have to keep up with all natural strengths and personality traits on a spreadsheet!  It is fun to learn and I do believe in personal assessments because I believe the more we understand ourselves the better. I’m sure I’ll take more assessments in the future, but there is a downside.

This is never the intent of any assessment, but if we are not careful we can use them as excuses. People do this all the time.  It is easy for us to say things like, “that’s just not my strength area” or “that’s just my personality.”

Assessments have nothing to do with success in life.  In fact, no one who succeeds at anything will list their personality or natural strength as the reason for their successs, so we should be very cautious of using them as an excuse as well.

I’ve seen some of the greatest sales people who could have said they didn’t have the natural personality type for it. I’ve seen some of the greatest leaders who could have used their natural personality or strengths as a reason not to lead.  The bottom line is personal assessments have almost nothing to do with success, but they can help us better understand people which is extremely valuable.

The first step is understanding ourselves which helps us find our unique style.  The next step is learning to understand others around us. This can help us have empathy towards others.  When we have a better understanding of others natural traits, we can better understand how they may deal with situations differently than we do. It helps us walk in their shoes and maybe give them more grace.  This is what assessments should do.  They should help us better understand the people around us.

If we aren’t careful, they can have the opposite effect.  We can be so self focused that we say “this is who I am” and expect the world to understand us when they don’t.  We can use them as excuse not to succeed because that’s exactly what we need is another excuse to justify our failures.

So assessments are great, but use them wisely. Never use them as an excuse. Have more empathy for others because you better understand them.

Assessments may never help us “succeed” but they can make our journey better along the way.

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