You’re on your way! You’ve done all the right things to prep for a career or at least your first real job. Your grades are excellent; you’ve talked to counselors and others you respect about possible careers; you even did a job shadowing with a friend from church. You know about the difference between hanging out on monster.com and doing serious networking. Maybe you’ve had an internship.
But there’s one indispensable ingredient to the career mix: you, and how God has wired your personality. Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Detail oriented or more of a big-picture thinker? How do you handle conflict? In school or other settings you may already have taken some of these tests that assess individual personality. And more likely than not, as part of the hiring process, you will be asked to take some sort of assessment or aptitude test, both to see if you have the abilities required for the position but, more important, to determine whether your personality is right for the job and for the team you’ll be working with. I have seen time and time again those who achieve incredible career success know their strengths and play to them. Those who have career disasters often ignore their strengthens and gifts and allow their personalities to derail them in the workplace. Take time now to learn about yourself as it will be a career changer!
One of the best personal assessment tools I’ve come across in my career in the business and nonprofit worlds is Personality I.D.® You can find more information at Crown.org. It’s based on the DISC inventory, which is widely used in the work world. DISC stands for Directing, Interacting, Supportive, and Conscientiousness. Personality I.D.® breaks down these traits into 17 “blended profiles.” Each of us will have one of 17 personality profiles and they will impact how we work with others and what careers and jobs will be best for us based on our gifts and skills. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. If you are questioning what you what to do in life or want to learn about yourself so you can be successful in your job and career this assessment is a perfect place to start!
Let’s look at four of them as examples.
As the name suggests, the Driver is a natural leader—bold, direct, confident. She loves new challenges, building a new enterprise, initiating. She struggles with details and routines and can be a poor listener, insensitive to others’ feelings. She will thrive in a setting where she is given a lot of independence and the challenge of meeting big goals—without having to worry about the details.
Rachel is a natural driver. After graduating college she took her love of business and the start-up world to form an investment group that help entrepreneurs get funding for their projects. Known as angel investing she help organize and direct a large group of investors around the country into one of the most prominent angel capital groups that is helping new business get started and helping create jobs around the country. She is a perfect driver and getting great results!
She loves people—and they love her back! And why not? The Networker is optimistic, engaging, persuasive, even inspiring. A skilled communicator, she is at her best sharing new ideas, concepts, and information with a group. However, she can sometimes talk too much, be emotional and impulsive, and overlook details. But provide her with variety and creative opportunities and she shines!
Heidi is a natural networker. She has a diverse group of friends and associates around the country and she loves connecting people and sharing things with them that will help them in their lives. A few years ago she was struggling with her weight and health. After starting a new weight loss and fitness program and achieving astonishing results she started to share her results with her friends. They quickly joined in and soon a business was born. Heidi became a leader and spokesperson for a fitness revolution helping many across America and starting a business for herself in the process!
If you want to make sure something gets done, ask the Administrator. She is steady, persistent, loyal, a good “team player.” But, as so often happens, her greatest strength can be a weakness: she can be so focused on reaching a goal that she can come across as stubborn and inflexible. She functions best in team settings where she can be the one keeping everyone on track.
Amy was a young intern who took the Personality ID assessment and learned she was an Administrator. During her internship she focused on admin work for the company and got rave reviews from her boss. She was focused on her areas of strength and quickly made a name for her in the company. When the internship was over she was offered a full-time job and leadership role within the company. Four years into her employment she has had multiple promotions and continues to perform at a high level. A natural administrator Amy played to her strengths and is on a great career path because of it.
- Deep Thinker
She’s the one who loves to do research! The Deep Thinker excels working with data, analyzing, developing plans. Precise and conscientious, she can also fall into the trap of perfectionism and may be hypersensitive to what she sees as criticism. Hand her a complex project involving lots of information and ask her to come up with logical solutions, and she will deliver.
Shelia has been with her company for close to 25 years. She is gifted as a deep thinker and throughout her career has naturally gravitated to roles to analyze data and develop plans. Serving in multiple roles she rose through the ranks to become a senior leader for her organization always staying focused on roles that would allow her to use her gifts and natural abilities. Now she is mentoring young women how to do the same.
There is no single path to success. It is good to ask questions and study other leaders and what worked for them. However, it is critical to take what you have learned and contextualize it based on your own unique skills, gifts, and abilities. Play to YOUR strengths! The key to success is to be the best version of YOU and don’t try to be someone else. You have to know yourself to lead yourself!
There is no better time for exploring your God-given personality than right now, when you’re starting out. You can position yourself for success . . . and save yourself problems down the road. I’ve seen both. Know yourself—and thrive!
I’m Robert Dickie III, the president of Crown. Check out my latest book Love Your Work: Four Practical Ways You Can Pivot to Your Best Career.
This book is for anyone who wants more opportunity and success in their career by helping them pivot to plug into the major economic trends today and providing a practical game plan for every step of the way.