Personality measures are based on different theories about the main dimensions of personality or on categorized findings about how people react for example to pictures or respond to questions. Personality tests are a way to create structure and quantify information about a vague concept . They help in assessing fit between job characteristics and personal working style as well as in determining the unique dynamic of a mind, its weak spots and strengths.
At one time psychologists were of the opinion that the information revealed by psychological methods and especially any statements written by psychologists should not be disclosed to patients or customers. The common idea was that the information would be damaging and the person could not take it. This notion is thankfully completely discarded at least among all self-respecting psychologists. Most psychologists nowadays view self knowledge as a liberating thing. It adds a sense of control, freedom of choice and polyphony to the definition of the self.
Self knowledge permits the individual to be aware of his own needs and make informed choices concerning his own goals. In the job market, a person who is aware of his personality, knowhow and experience is bound to apply for the right jobs and get them. Self-knowledge lets the individual be the master of his own fate, to put it in a grandiose way. An employee with developed awarenessdoes not depend on external structure or other people for motivation and wellbeing but is able to create it himself.
According to Jungian typology I am an INFJ, according to the Belbin theory a Plant and a Team Worker with my BIS a little elevated and the BAS on an average level in the BIS BAS system. Knowing this does not definitely capture all that I am but offers a way to reflect on what I experience interaction with others. Information like this helps to recognize what kinds of work settings suit me, what kind of team members I produce good results with and what kind of things support or decrease my motivation. On an emotional level, knowing these things about myself has been liberating and created a sense of permission to be the way I am. By being aware of these characteristics, I can operate more smoothly with others and concentrate on working on the things and in a way that brings me most joy.
The danger is that characterizations can be seen as an excuse not to be critical towards yourself. “This is how I am I can’t help it” is no excuse – if you already know that you have characteristics that may for example cause misunderstanding in communication with others, the possibility to modify your behavior is there.
Personality measures and other psychological definitions do not imply the end of personal development but provide a researched and theoretically useful way of describing a person’s unique way of functioning. They serve the individual by creating self-knowledge that liberates, creates freedom of choice and ultimately helps in finding happiness.