Personal Competencies Assessment



“Know thyself.”

Famous dead Greeks long ago were not wrong. Knowing yourself is one of the most important paths toward true self-improvement no matter the rationale, be they work, family, or peer-social. The classics were not wrong, however, the tools to get one to an improved point have changed. There are many ways to get there from here. This is the point and purpose of doing personality, leadership, and learning style exercises and tests. I am imaginative cynical idealist. This bled through most of the tests we took.

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Why do them? Because we divide ourselves’ early on in the real work world into those who continuously learn and those who do not. But for many the destination is also important. Where are you going? It is hard to know where you are going and why you are going there if you don’t know what your strengths and weakness are, One has to know what’s within oneself to manage develop or overcome.

I think doing these exercises are useful in the attempt to develop a career path but also to reengage those who are mid-career, perhaps trying to redesign the ‘next step in the path.’

Learning styles or knowledge acquisition has been big since the 1980s; I aware of this because I have had the concept beaten in to me since the first grade.

How do you best learn? On the Honey and Mumford Learning Styles test I scored strongest with 18 for Activist; 16 for Pragmatist; 12 for Reflector; and 10 for Theorist. This is not a big surprise for me because I have always learned best by doing and have always required a ‘why’ question or 12 regarding whatever subject matter I am not particularly interested.

This to me is the most important part of the assessments I did. It confirmed some of what I already learned about myself and the ways in which I learn best.

However, I enjoyed Jung’s Personality Assessment and ended up scoring the below


“ENFP Warmly enthusiastic, high spirited, ingenious and imaginative. Able to do almost anything that interests them. Quick for a solution for any difficulty and ready to help anyone

with a problem. Often, rely on their ability to improvise instead of preparing in advance. Can usually find a compelling reasons for whatever they want.”

This description is of my personality is correct. That said I am not high energy. In fact I am so not high energy that when I was about seven years old my mother took me to the doctor because I was not high energy like her. I do think this personality assessment it is a double edged sword for me in that the quick creative solution is not always the best or ideal long term, but in a fast paced daily changing work environment it is very much desired and is appreciated as the solutions allow others to get back their day to complete work. This was a typical problem set for me on at least a once a week basis in my last two jobs.

This dynamic basically describes my former day-to-day work interactions to the doted I’s and crossed T’s in my last job as an Assistant Managing Editor, Web for a news website in Washington, DC. The one weakness I see in it is my strength to rationalize just about anything. This can be a huge problem if you are not aware, as this also means a person may fool himself by rationalizing the wrong conclusion from a situation and live in an alternate reality from those working around him if the creativity goes to one’s head. I generally try not to believe my own spin, unless I really do and I am a proactive evangelist for it.

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I don’t know if this is an optimal way to function in professional life, but balancing unrelenting idealism and cynicism is generally what I am known for. Then again, I have always functioned this way, at least as long as I could remember, but have never seen it described so eloquently as in the Jung’s personality test conclusions.

The Managerial Grid and Leadership questionnaire was fairly interesting and useful to me as well. I fell into the team leader quadrant 8.4 on the “people” axis and 7.6 on the “task” aspect.

I am not surprised, I have been functioning in adhoc daily teams of eight or four competitive team members since first year of secondary school, when I started rowing. When I left rowing, my exit was slow, as it is for many who get involved in the sport. and I coached for two years. In this role, I learned about managing personalities toward joint goals. Not just as it related to my boats, but also my other coaching staff’s boats too. Idealist cynicism is ideal for coaching rowing because they are the laziest hard working athletes around.

Is it useful to take a test and have knowledge about what you already believed about yourself confirmed? Maybe. I would argue it is possible to play to the test and personally, I would rather be judged on my team leader qualities, by how I perform within group work tasks and on how the group performs. I would still argue that the people axis is generally more important to me personally, as most project failures I have been involved with have failed due to poor relations among the team members. Luckily these situations have been rare but useful learning experiences.

On the Whetton and Cameron “Locus of Control Scale,” I scored 7 where corporate business executives average 8.29 with a standard deviation of 3.57. This evaluation was somewhat useful to me. Learning and or being able to control yourself and things around you to best you can but not getting too stuck on you if it somehow does fail or you don't really want to own it in the first place us helpful. I try not to be too extreme in this one, because on the one hand you must look inside first if something goes wrong (Drucker, 1999). The other side of this is understanding that in some circumstances no matter what you do something will go wrong. Sometimes things are just entirely out of your control. Complaining can be legitimate, but I prefer it be a cathartic team building exercise, if at all, otherwise you just sound like a whiner. I do have a hard time with whiny people. American’s are fairly big complainers and whiners about everything. Two semesters in an Irish University proved that to me.

My Whetton and Cameron “PAMS” test score was 402 against the maximum possible (462) where a score or 304 or above put an individual into the top quartile. This was the test I disliked the most. I feel my scoring is not right. I do feel that way, but am not entirely sure if observed by a third party they would agree. This test, I think, is easier to over rate oneself while not trying to do so on purpose. I did not get much value from the PAMS test.

I feel like I knew myself pretty well before doing these various evaluations, primarily through trial and error in different job roles and projects over the last few years. Doing them has allowed me to think back on situations where the various aspects and competencies would have come into play in both the work sphere and personal sphere.

I learned the most from the learning styles assessment and the personality test. They confirmed things that make me more comfortable with describing myself.

However the cynical idealism I arrived here in Dublin with is perfect for any towns people that thrive on politics and debate of big ideas like those that happen in Washington, D.C., where folks do it for a living. But it can at times come off as crass and rude or off putting, in other cities (Atlanta or Dublin) where being able to argue three different sides of an issue well, and not really believing any of them too deeply is not the norm. Moving to Dublin has helped me move away from some of this as have exercises forcing me to think deeply about how my personality and various life experiences impact my social and professional communications and the image of me that is being projected. This project has helped me know myself and my competencies strengths and weaknesses much better.

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