In talking to many high profile leaders in my interviews one constant theme that keeps cropping up is this idea of “Self-Mastery”; getting to the truth of who you really are as a leader. This is a critical first step in your leadership journey.
In the Marine Corps this was one of the key Leadership Principles: “Know yourself & seek self improvement“.
Personality tests can be a huge asset in getting to the root of who you really are. But with so many to choose from how do you know which one is best.
Here is my view of the top five tests today, and how they compare:
Wealth Dynamics: Created eight years ago by Roger James Hamilton, a social entrepreneur and founder of XL Nation, Wealth Dynamics has rapidly grown into the most widely adopted profiling system for entrepreneurs and business owners around the world. The reason for its success is that it links both your strengths and weaknesses to your preferences, and then gives you clear role models and strategies to follow. It takes the very best of MBTI, DISC and Strength Finder, and delivers to you a system that is intuitive, relevant and easy to explain to others.
John Maxwell Leadership Assessment: Following John Maxwell’s Five Levels of Leadership, the assessment measures 64 attributes that measure an individual on the attributes that help leaders have success at each level:
- Position – The leadership attributes included in this section focus on trustworthiness and commitment.
- Permission – The leadership attributes included in this section focus on relational abilities and interpersonal skills.
- Production – The leadership attributes included in this section focus on getting results individually, organizationally and as a team.
- People Development – The leadership attributes included in this section focus on reproducing and developing your skills in others.
- Pinnacle – The leadership attributes included in this section focus on who you are as a leader over time, your awareness of yourself and others.
Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): Launched in 1962, this old classic has been around for close to 50 years. Taking the test results in one of 16 types with titles like “ESTJ” and “INFP”. These refer to four polarities (such as extroversion/introversion and thinking/feeling). The test is used to assess preferences without easy links to strategies or role models, so it really requires an expert to interpret the results and translate it into effective action.
DISC profile: Launched in 1928, this system is simpler and more intuitive. DISC refers to the four behavior types the test assesses: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. It is more focused on behaviors than preferences but has the same Jungian roots as MBTI, and there are correlations to the two. Teams find DISC easier to grasp and explain back than MBTI, but both systems lack clear strategies for success or tailored tools for specific industries or modern challenges.
Strength Finder: A more modern test created by Gallup and championed by Marcus Buckingham, Strength Finder focuses on your strengths rather than focusing on preferences or behaviors. The test identifies your top 5 strengths out of a possible 34. Accompanied with a relevant modern philosophy (focus at your strengths and you will be happier and more productive for it), this test is more prescriptive on proactive strategy than MBTI and DISC but lacks an intuitive model that team members can transfer (Few can remember all 34 strengths, let alone how they relate to each other). It also does not identify top weaknesses, in either individuals or teams.
SUMMARY: Personally, I highly recommend everyone take the Meyers Briggs at some time during their life; I found I was an INFP (Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving). Once I received the results I felt better in my leadership quest as I didn’t have to try to pretend to be somebody that I wasn’t.
I’m a huge fan of Roger Hamilton’s Wealth Dynamics Test. It’s ideal for entrepreneurs; letting you know what your entrepreneurship style is. But it’s also great for anyone interested in knowing what their true leadership style is; it’s one of the best tests that explicitly shows you where you should focus your life’s work and passion. I took this test at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey and it helped me focus on my strengths. After taking the test I found that I was primarily a CREATOR, with MECHANIC & STAR as my secondary. You can view my profile to get a taste of the quality of the report you will get from them if you decide to take this test.
You can take the test here: Wealth Dynamics Profile Test
Lastly, I’m big on John Maxwell’s latest Leadership Assessment. This is the newest and most comprehensive leadership tool I’ve seen in a long time. This is the exact assessment I give to all of my new coaching clients. I found the following unique features & benefits:
- Measurements on 64 leadership attributes.
- Unlimited number of raters.
- Feedback compiled into a full-color, easy-to-read report.
- The ability to see results on an overall basis as well as split out by rater type.
- Leadership attributes summary at the end of the report that lists all items ranked from highest to lowest based on overall average score.
- Written comments provided by your raters listed in an unedited form.
- Category scores in the areas of Position, Permission, Production, People Development, and Pinnacle from The 5 Levels of Leadership.
You can take the Maxwell Leadership Assessment here: Maxwell Leadership Assessment
The bottom line is to become a better leader you have to be fully self-aware. These tests can help in that journey; none of them are perfect but all of them well help you in your quest in knowing yourself and seeking self-improvement.