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Why Personality Tests Don’t Work

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 - Joe Kiedinger

Personality tests have been around for decades, with the aim of helping people understand themselves better—or in the workplace, helping them communicate better with others. That’s the goal. But, despite their popularity, they don’t deliver. Here’s why:

Personality Tests Lack Forward Motion

It might excite your team to fill out a new profile together. The office chatter often picks up as employees compare their results. You know the convo, “Are you a Doer or an Observer? Are you an owl or a chicken?”

After the chatter dies down, then what? Even if your company printed everyone’s results for their desk space, what happens next? Not much. Your team is likely at a loss about how to apply their new knowledge during their workday.

Because personality tests aren’t paired with a program to keep them alive and in use. People need to be reminded, reminded and reminded again until it becomes second nature to them.

Employers Seek Band-aids Where Surgery is Needed

No company decides to voluntarily add paid personality assessments to their budget just for fun. They’re put in place because there’s a communication issue happening that’s affecting the business.  

The bigger question is: why do leaders think that a personality test alone is going to fix that situation? Conflict requires conflict resolution. It requires two people, or sometimes three, sitting down together and having a conversation to get after it.

Logical Solutions to an Emotional Problem

In the human brain, there are three main sections. The brain stem controls our breathing, heart rate and other unconscious systems of the body. The cerebral cortex is where logic, learning and language are housed. But the limbic system is the emotional part of our brain.

Why does this matter? Because you can’t find a logical solution to an emotional problem. We’re emotional beings and as much as we’d like to keep emotions out of the workplace, we can’t. If you want to improve communication at work, you need to find out what another person finds dignifying and what motivates them as a unique individual.

Ok, Joe. So, now I’m doubting my choice to sign up for personality assessments at the office. Now what?

That’s where Dignify comes in. Dignify is not a personality test, it’s a leadership toolbox that is used on a weekly basis to engage and motivate those in your care.

It teaches dignity-based communication, strengthens communication, provides an array of useful tools to improve efficiency and accountability—and, most importantly, it reminds teams to keep using it!

The suite of tools helps teams:

  • Learn best practices for communicating with each employee
  • Build emotional safety
  • Encourage regular one-on-one touchpoints between leaders and direct reports as well as between co-workers
  • Provide a safe place to address conflict in a non-threatening way
  • Track goals and boost accountability
  • And keep engagement going with gamification!

We must stop using logic-based solutions to get after emotional challenges. Ready to build a dignity-based culture of transparency, trust and mutual respect?


ACTION PLAN: See for yourself what a difference Dignify could make for your company’s internal communication.

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