Leadership by strengths: How do you fascinate people?
People nowadays want to stand out, be unique, tell the world what makes them special and bring the best of them in every aspect life, with social media becoming a prominent part of that effort. All of our contributions to social media and our actions at work or at social events forge what people think about us, our reputation, and most of the time we are not measuring the impact of our words, our actions and our posts.
Your family loves you, your close friends like you and your co-workers respect you, but what are those traits that makes us different, what are our strengths and the values that attract people to us and how do we find out.
One way is to ask people directly in person or through a survey, that could be a great source of realistic first-hand information about ourselves, but most of the times we don’t want to bother a whole lot of our friends or colleagues with that, so we tend to look for alternatives, that was my case.
Another option are personality tests, a quick Google search provides a myriad of options, from the standard Myers-Briggs test, to new takes on the Gustav Jung’s test on 16Personalities and a variety of new approaches in Who Am I?, Persona Bubble and Test Color.
One famous alternative is the Gallup Strengths Finder™, a test that provides a map of the person’s most relevant strengths, together with a development plan based on those talents.
I took a few of these tests and as expected the results vary from test to test, but all provide valuable data points to understand our own persona, figure out the similarities and the key strengths that we definitively have.
Recently, through my Reputation Management class at Stanford University I came across a test called the Fascination Personality Test by author Sally Hogshead, a test which takes a different stake at the personality archetypes and tries to focus on your external reputation, how the world sees you, how you, your communication method and your message is getting across to your readers, highlighting the positive values that you have in order for you to keep nurturing them and take advantage of them.
Similar to other tests, this one begins with a short questionnaire regarding yourself, then based on those answers, the test identifies your 2 primary advantages from a set of 7 general qualities such as Innovation, Passion, Power, Prestige, Trust, Mystique and Alert. All of us have a combination of all of these qualities, and the test combines the 2 strongest to define your personality archetype from an array of 49 types.
The test also suggests an alternative archetype based again on the same 2 strongest qualities as a twin archetype. On a small subgroup of about 30 students in my class, the results were very diverse, most of us got different archetypes, and after thorough discussion in groups, the majority agreed to some extent to their advantages.
“The Change Agent” and “The Maverick Leader”
In my case, my 2 advantages were Power and Innovation, so my archetype became “The Change Agent” and my twin archetype “The Maverick Leader”, so I got energized when being called those big adjectives and I even felt enticed to use that phrase somewhere.
However, in all honesty I was initially skeptical about my result, specifically on the Power advantage, so I needed to dig deeper into the details to understand what qualities I was emphasizing in my communication and make sense of them.
After reading the details, Power meant that I was reflecting confidence, influence, leadership and goal orientation, some traits that I believe I possess, which made me feel more convinced about the result. Once I was done with that, I took a look at what meant to be a Change Agent or a Maverick Leader, and the descriptors such as Inventive, Self-propelled, Drive, Creative Thinker, Entrepreneurial landed well on me based on my career path.
On the Myers-Briggs test, my personality type is ENTJ (Extrovert, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging), so some parts (qualities) were contradictory among tests (e.g. Being Irreverent, which I am not), but as the test suggests the important thing was the focus on the strengths that I do possess and reflect on how my communication style is landing on other people.
Scientific research by psychologist Martin Seligman and others in the field of positive psychology have found that the more a person focuses on their strengths instead of the weaknesses, the person tends to boost their long term happiness and performance.
For such reason, it is important to find those strengths in these tests and develop a plan where we can make the most out of them. Certainly, the Fascination Personality test provides an additional tool for you to leverage and find your strengths and even maybe your own reputation tagline. Mine is Inventive Executive… mmm… well maybe I need to keep trying…