Finding Your Inner Strength


“Everybody has a list of 100 things they would like to change about themselves. But it’s all about focusing on the good things.”– Taylor Swift. 

It feels like we are often taught that being different is wrong. But what if I told you our differences are where our greatest strengths lie? Every person is made differently with personality traits that help build them, and these personality differences ultimately make us better friends, family members and coworkers. Let’s take a journey into the mind and figure out how understanding our differences and strengths can benefit us, specifically in the workplace.

To understand our own personalities and the various tests out there, it’s important to have some background. The first use of personality tests began in 1917 during World War I. Doctors would use them to help identify which soldiers would be most susceptible to nervous breakdowns in combat. Since then, the personality assessment industry has grown into a $500 million industry with the goal of helping people understand themselves and others just a little bit better.

Businesses across the nation have started to use these personality tests as a way to better understand their current employees and also how they can better recruit and form teams to play to their current employees’ strengths.  

There are thousands of different tests out there. One of my personal favorites is Buzzfeed’s “What Kind of Dog Are You? I’m a Lab for those wondering. 😊

For professionals, the most popular personality tests include the Myer’s Briggs Personality Type, the Enneagram test, and the CliftonStrengths. All three of these have the same format, starting with a short questionnaire and ending with a verdict of where your personality lies. From this information you can get a basic or complex understanding of the inner workings of a person, depending on the test. depending on the test.  

Here is a peek at what makes me, me, according to the personality tests I have taken. 

Myer’s Briggs: I am a Consul (ESTJ-A). 

Enneagram: A #3 The Achiever 

Zodiac Sign: Taurus 


Top 5 

  1. Positivity 
  1. Adaptability 
  1. Winning Others Over (WOO) 
  1. Ideation 
  1. Includer 

Now, you might be thinking, “Bradley, what does that all mean?” I could write a blog on breaking down each one and how it specifically fits into who I am as a person. No matter what these tests tell you, it can’t truly define every aspect of your personality. That is why tests like these shouldn’t be the sole criteria in hiring or performance reviews as they can never give a full picture of a person. If my 34th strength was Consistency, it doesn’t mean I can’t be relied on to meet deadlines and deliverables every time. It just means I am much better at adapting to a project’s needs and finding outcomes in a different way. There are examples like this in every test, so it should never be seen as the peak to one’s potential or a limit in any way.  

So Why Take Them at All? 

Although no personality test can perfectly identify every piece to a person’s inner workings, you can still leverage it to better understand each other and build stronger teams. I’m partial to the CliftonStrengths test, as it focuses more on playing to your strengths as opposed to trying to fix your weaknesses. As such, I will be referring to that one the most in this breakdown. (Gallup, if you want to sponsor me, my dms are open). 

Creates Understanding. 

The number one reason to take any of these tests is to help team members quickly build an understanding of how each team member works rather than by simply just putting them together. For example, one of my strengths is Adaptability. By knowing this, my coworkers might expect I will have an easier time taking an assignment in a different direction or coming up with alternative ways to do something. However, it might also mean I need some accountability for deadlines and processes. By creating this understanding upfront, you can help avoid friction between team members who don’t think the same way.  

CliftonStrengths breaks their 34 strengths into four main categories. These are Execution, Influencing, Relationship Building and Critical Thinking. Your strengths can fall into any of these four categories, but most people end up having one category they land in more. From this, you can gain a better understanding of their overarching approach to work and life. 

For example, I have a coworker who works on some of the same projects as I do. I noticed she tended to need as much information as possible before she would send off an email. I had always been confused about why that is, until we did our CliftonStrengths training, and I found out her strengths fall mostly in the Strategic Thinking section. As such, she values information first and action second. Because of this, I understand if I am passing something off to her, I need to make sure I’m giving her all the information I have, so she can ultimately succeed, and, in turn, so can our team. And vice versa, she knows I tend to like to build my own journey with a project and need only as much information to get rolling. 

Team Bonding 

Taking these personality tests and then talking about your results is a great way to help your team bond.  

“There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.” ― Mary Lou Kownacki.  

Figuring out why we think how we think and act how we act is the deepest story someone can share. By getting everyone together to discuss what makes them who they are, you can bring the team closer together. Some of these personality tests come with guidebooks of exercises or even coaches to help guide you through your teams’ results. However, you can also just take an hour, bring everyone into a conference room, and take one of the personality tests together and discuss what you learn after.  

Build Stronger Teams 

Once you have an idea how people work and think, you can start building a stronger team. For example, my top five CliftonStrengths infer I am very much a people person and I would excel in a role where I get to work with a wide variety of people; however, I do not have a lot of strengths that play in getting things done. As such, you could make sure I am working with someone on the opposite side of the spectrum who is fine just getting the work done in the most efficient way possible while holding me accountable for deadlines. Alternatively, you could place me on a team with similar strengths but make sure we all have something to cover the other person’s gaps. 

For example, you could place me with someone who shares Positivity, Woo, and Includer, all being strengths that are more people focused, but that person’s last two could be Consistency and Responsibility. I will push them to think more outside of the box and change how we do things to make a better outcome. On the reverse, their remaining strengths will push me to keep track of deadlines and make sure we are keeping track of our part in this project.

We go our whole lives trying to find out who we are and how we fit into our respective worlds. Personality tests will never be able to solve every question for us, but they can be a useful tool for understanding ourselves and others a little bit better. Every person is different and has different ways; they like to work, learn, play and live. By utilizing these silly tests, we can hopefully bring the world a little bit closer in understanding one another.  

Taylor Swift said it best, “I promise that you’ll never find another like me.” 

Bradley Banken

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