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This article is the 1st in a series on "Breaking Knowledge Barriers".
This article is the 1st in a series on "Defining Your Strengths as a Leader"
I have read my fair share of what some might term “self-help” books. I like to think of them as “self-awaken” books. The “help” part in “self-help” alludes to something being broken that needs fixing. What I appreciate about the books I’ve read since I was little, as well as today, is that self-awaken books point to the strengths, potential, and inner wisdom deep inside of us, already alive and ready, yet often untapped and tucked away hidden from sight. This wisdom manifests as skills and intuition, and I’m keen on developing my ability to tap this wisdom. Self-evaluation is critical for me as a leader, as a manager of teams and projects, and as a woman of color.
The Center for Creative Leadership reminds us in their report 7 Emerging Trends for Transformative Leaders that some managers may struggle with interpersonal relationships, affecting their ability to build and lead teams or adapt to change, which can lead to career derailment. To avoid this, “organizations must design programs that develop [managers’] self-awareness, political savviness, communication skills, and ability to influence others...skills that are essential to effectively heading a team.”
As a professional, whether you are an employee of a company or an entrepreneur, understanding your strengths and skill sets is key to building the confidence, resourcefulness, and grit to adapt to any situation. As human beings who have way more going on than just our jobs, you can bet that your personal, educational, emotional, societal, cultural, economical, and religious identities are often at play when you negotiate professional situations.
Most of us do not know how these identities manifest themselves in our decisions, risk tolerance, and self-reliance. Most of us have comrades and loved ones we can turn to for advice and feedback, but our hearing is often screening and interpreting with the bias of that relationship and all of its power dynamics. So why take a personality assessment? Because we often don’t know the questions to ask. And even if we did, would we really answer honestly, free of unconscious bias, shame, guilt, regret, or fear?
Define Your Strengths as a Leader Activity
Take out a pad of post-its, ideally in two different colors (e.g. green and yellow). Find a blank wall or space where you can lay out two sets of post-its and set aside a total of one hour.
We know from the Council of National Psychological Associations for the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Interests “Test bias is a primary issue of selecting and using testing and assessment instruments with racial/ethnic minority groups. Past research has shown that tests can produce misleading results with culturally different groups in terms of slope and intercept (or unfairness) bias.” Thus, if you are a person of color, you will need an assessment that will address and consider this intersection of your identity, as well as many others, if you are to feel good about doing anything at all with the results.
I’d like to give you a review of a few assessments because, 1) I have taken them in more than one sitting or format, and 2) I have heard from and worked with others who have taken one or a combination of assessments as part of developing themselves professionally at work. I have written a separate blog post for each assessment in this "Defining Your Strengths as a Leader" series. Click here to go to Assessment #1 on DiSC.
About Author: Meredith "Mer" Curry
Mer has always had a passion for education and helping historically underrepresented groups achieve access and success to higher opportunities. She has consulted nonprofits, educational institutions, and businesses in addition to her volunteerism and mentorship of students.
Learn more about Mer at www.meredithcurry.com.