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: Monica Wofford, CSP, is a professional speaker and CEO of Contagious Companies, a training and consulting firm that develops better leaders and trains managers how to become better leaders.

The last month of the year is a great time to make a fresh start!

The end of the year is near and yet, as it always does, January will peak its head around the corner before we know it. As the New Year approaches, how will you lead your team to make a fresh start for 2014? This isn’t about resolutions or goals. It’s a natural time of year for many to “try something new” or “begin again”. Make the most of that mindset for both you and the employees, by tuning into the December Monday Moments. Each will be devoted to a fresh start focus and will help you become a better leader, take your team to new heights, and produce even greater results. The first in our Fresh Start series is “How to Assess without Making a Mess”.

Beginning now, use an assessment tool to give you and your team a fresh start. An assessment or personality profile reestablishes the baseline of understanding for everyone’s strengths, skills, vulnerabilities and areas of development. The tool we happen to use with great success is the CORE Profile®, but there are dozens of tools out there. Whichever you choose or currently use, heed these precautions to ensure success instead of added stress and mess when you assess.

Don’t Reveal Results on Their Name Tag

Personality assessments provide tremendous data. Each one provides something different. CORE, as an example, identifies what you believe your personality is, which personality you actually demonstrate, and how much stress impacts your use of all personality traits. Leaders looking for a quick fix or simple solution to conflict in the workplace will often misuse this data and try to label each team member as only one personality or another. We ALL have multiple variations of our dominant personality traits and we all also have access to all four of the most commonly labeled dominant personality preferences. For that reason, don’t label employees as only one or another. Cutesy signs on their door or name tents are their desk, eliminate their potential to develop new skills. It is important to recognize variation without oversimplifying the labeling system that will do more damage than value.

Don’t USE 360 Feedback Tools

360 degree feedback assessments don’t focus on personality as much as they do what others think about your personality. If not facilitated with finesse and an advanced level of skill, these types of tools can turn quickly into a “he said, she said” conversation wrought with hurt feelings, bruised egos, and potential retaliation, particularly if the employees are giving feedback to the boss. 360’s are intended to be positive, but they also only have application in certain environments in which the employees and the leader have an already high degree of emotional maturity and security about who they really are. What we know is that 54% of the population does not possess this level of understanding about who they are.

Don’t’ interrupt the Process

Once you begin using a personality assessment process among the team, see it through. Don’t begin with a few, collect the data and then stop. This leaves others wondering about the value and can also create questions about “now what” or “why did we get left out?” Personality assessments are not really designed to be a mechanism that creates the campaign of the week, but are designed to raise the level of emotional intelligence, self-management, and understanding of what we do and why. This type of data will improve results if carried through. If the process is stopped, they go right back to the same level of oblivion they may have had before.

As that stereotypical “get it done”, results oriented personality, here is my recommendation of what to do if this is an area in which you want to make a fresh start. Research assessments that are currently being used in the market. Find one that addresses the data you need to solve the problems you may have or address the behaviors missing that are keeping you from your desired results. Hold a kick off meeting explaining the process and then begin assessing the team. Follow that up with training on how to use the data and then, much like shampoo, rinse and repeat with the next level of team members.


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