The Real Us

T

I had a flashback in our management meeting this week.
I was reminded of the first time I was asked to take a personality test.
It was at the Bank. My boss was holding an all-day meeting and in advance of that, she had asked all the attendees to take this test.
On the meeting agenda, there would be some time to talk about our individual results, and how we collectively all worked together.
I had recently left a law firm to join the bank. At the law firm, no one took personality tests. Everyone fervently hoped no one talked about personalities.
As I was taking the test, I remember thinking that the questions were random and that any assessment it made of my personality would be wrong.
So insightful were the results that as I read it, I wanted to look over my shoulder to see who had been watching.
One unforgettable statement made me stop breathing: sometimes you don’t ask people for their opinion because it may be different than your own. 
Oh my goodness.
That was supposed to be my innermost secret, that as a “doer”, an achiever, a Type A, I didn’t always want to take others along with me.
I maybe just preferred to figure it out myself.
I have thought about that test report a thousand times in the years since I took the test. In running my own business, I have really tried to seek out other opinions.
But what is ingrained in us never really goes away.
In the Monday meeting I watched myself feeling frustrated at my colleague’s hesitation about a project.
“Let’s just try! Let’s keep going!,” my inner voice said, the part of my personality that the report called a “driver”.
But my colleague was right.
Her concerns were valid.
She wasn’t saying let’s not do it, she was saying, this is an issue we need to address.
So we will recalibrate the plan, regroup, go about it another way.
Thank you, former corporate employer, for making me take that test. It has saved me more times than I can remember.

About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean is the president of Toronto's best cupcake and cake bakery - Prairie Girl Bakery. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock

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