In work or school, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine and become a piece of a machine whose main goal is to produce output but taking the time to figure out what makes you you is the first step in analyzing your strengths. Analysis is often at the forefront of my mind because by trade I’m a Business Analyst (BA), and as an analyst, breaking down tasks and thinking critically about the why and how of problems is my day to day. So naturally I’ve come up with a process to assess my own strengths, and in turn come up with a process that may work for you as well.
I’m a Business Analyst
Let me start this by saying I am not qualified to analyze anyone’s strengths – I have no degrees, certifications, recognitions, or credentials to advise any other human being on how to assess what their strengths are, or what to do with said strengths. What I do have are my own experiences, an opinion, the internet and a business degree (again, not an actual psychological certification.) What I have learned so far about my strengths and what I have deduced about the successes and failures in my life are a singular journey not meant to represent that of others.
So now that liability clauses have been covered, how should you go about assessing your strengths? The easiest-to-access process for self-analysis is with online quizzes. There are tons out there, so I’ve narrowed it down to these three for you. These are valuable tools, that are highly regarded by several universities, HR departments, and business conferences to find your dominant personality traits, and in turn give you the opportunity to translate them into strengths. To give you an idea of these work, I’ll talk through these quizzes in terms of my own results.
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator measures psychological preferences and how people perceive the world and make decisions.There are questions about your behavior and mood in social settings, your temperament, your interests, your perceptions, and more.
According to this test, I am primarily Extroverted, Observant, Feeling, Judging, and Assertive. Overall, my personality type as evaluated here is one of likability. I work hard to get people to like me, I’m dependable and task-oriented, and I need things to be successful – I like structure and organization. As a Business Analyst, I need these traits to be successful. Analysis requires a great deal of dependability as my job requires focus and the ability to complete multi-step projects with great attention to detail. Multiple teams might be depending on my thoroughness.
Alongside these broad categories are more specific categories that discuss how people of this personality type will perform, or behave in a number different areas, such as in friendships, professionally, general strengths and weaknesses and more.
Enneagram is a personality assessment based on 9 core personality types, hence the name Enneagram which derives from the 9-sided geometric figure. The 9 personality types can be referred to by their numbers or their characteristic roles, and these personality types are deduced from several questions that focus on stress and security factors in your life.
Enneagram results focus on psychological motivations, and through this test I was identified as 3 – The Achiever, 7 – The Enthusiast, and 9 – The Peacemaker. Similar to Myers Briggs, the results of the Enneagram assessment gives you breakdowns of strengths and weakness of each of your traits, and general attributes about people that possess that trait. My range of scores determines that I have aptitude for loyalty, commitment, and industriousness. I work well in social constructs. As a business analyst, I’m in the thick of things, working with teams that come from different backgrounds and with different motivations. Marketing might not understand the needs of IT and vice versa. I’m there to get them to work together.
The Big 5
The Big Five personality traits are based on common language descriptions, and are grouped together using factor analysis. The quiz itself asks you a number of questions about different facets of your personality, and your preferences.
The Big Five (also known as the five-factor model) is one of the most commonly accepted models of personality assessment. It scores you on five major dimensions of personality: Openness, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Extraversion, and Neuroticism. Once you take the quiz, your results tell you what you scored on each of the dimensions and how your results can be interpreted.
To some people, these results mean a great deal; to others the results may mean nothing. Ultimately you are the only person who can decide which portions ring true and speak to who you truly are.
So, what does it all mean? Well, there were portions of each quiz that I felt were spot on, and some results that I felt could not have been more off. Another factor to keep in mind when processing the feedback from these assessments is that they feel (and are) highly personal, which can get in the way of fully absorbing the results. By this I mean, before you took these quizzes you already had an image of yourself and how you think that the world perceives you, and if your results aren’t in line with that image you may falsely reject them. While you may disagree with some of your results, friends or coworkers could read them and think that they explain you to a T.
The main benefit from taking these quizzes, and thinking about what your strengths are, is in the analysis itself.
I have always been a fan of assessments like these because whether I like the results or not, it gets me thinking about how I operate. If I agree with all the results then great, I’ll continue to perform my life in the same way and be with happy with that. But if I don’t agree with the results, then I usually have one of two responses: Either I think to myself, “You stupid quiz, you don’t know me at all! Oh right. This online quiz literally does not know me. I know myself and that’s what really counts.” and I continue to go about my day. Or I think, “What the hell? Why did I get this answer, what question was that from? Is that how I am actually perceived?”, and become more cognizant of my daily actions and motivators.
Learning to Self-Analyze
After taking the quizzes, I understand my own basic needs in life and in work. I can use that information to better judge my reactions to situations in my life and to truly understand my own motivations. If I’m unhappy at work, I can better understand why. If a co-worker reacts to me in a negative way, I can better evaluate my behaviors and assess what could be done differently in the future. There are some things that you cannot control, but you can at least understand them and plan accordingly.
These quizzes can also help you plan your path in life. How do you want to grow? Analyzing your strengths is in large part about finding them. Once you find what yours are, you have the chance to hone them. This first step of self-analysis will help you gather your attention and focus your efforts on improving areas of your life you are already good at. Instead of burning effort on things you are awful at, become great at what you are doing now.