For thousands of years, wise philosophers have suggested to us mere mortals that one of life’s secrets is to ‘know thyself’.  The message is straightforward, by getting to know ourselves properly it becomes possible to adapt to our immediate environment, deal with challenges effectively and control our emotional responses.  I like to think of it as emotional intelligence, resilience and self-control wrapped up into a single phrase.

But what does it mean to know oneself?  Afterall, if anyone is going to know me better than anyone else, surely it is me? 

Probably not.

As it turns out, ‘self-awareness’ is not really all that straightforward.  In fact I would go as far as to say that knowing yourself is one of the most difficult aspects of being human.  We think we know ourselves pretty well, but we rarely get to see what others see through their eyes.  Very few of us are any good at seeing our own reactions and behaviours and moods, even though we think we are.  Everyone else is emotional and unreasonable!

The reality is we all have our blind spots.  We all have our strange pet hates.  We all have our bad days.  We all have ‘unreasonable’ reactions to certain circumstances.  It’s just the way it is.  Our personality and ways of doing things are shaped over many years thanks to things like our parents, friends, beliefs, experiences and natural tendencies.  It’s complicated.

The more technology impacts work, the more human we need to be

As time goes by, technology will continue to have an impact on the way we go about work.  Tasks that can be automated will be automated.  However, the one thing that is not going to change any time soon is the need to do human things really well.  Things like interacting with people, managing emotional responses, empathy, communicating, these are all things that won’t be replaced by technology any time soon.  Artificial Intelligence simply isn’t there yet.  What this means is that your next job or promotion will probably hinge on your ability to convince others that you have these human skills.   It is becoming more important, not less, as we move into the future.

A key piece of the ‘know thyself’ puzzle therefore is being aware of how we behave and react under different circumstances.  What happens when things go well?  When they don’t go well?  What happens to our communication when under stress?  What style do we employ to influence others?

It all starts with self-awareness, and this is much easier with the help of an accurate psychometric assessment.  It might be the most important thing you choose to do on your path to future career success.

Introducing the 15FQ+ Assessment

Whilst we at Optimum have access to a range of psychometric assessments, the 15FQ+ is one that you should be aware of.  It measures personality factors across important things like Interpersonal Style, Thinking Style, Coping Style, Influencing Style, Leadership Style and Career Theme.  Given that each of these are highly critical to workplace success, it’s a wonderful starting point.

Even though I have completed my fair share of assessments over the years, I recently took the 15FQ+ again as part of my ‘know thyself’ commitment.   Whilst the report is extremely comprehensive, here are just a few insights that I found to be extremely beneficial:

Influencing Style.  My primary influencing style is ‘culture breaker’, a term used to describe my tendency to present ideas that are different to the norm.  Whilst this isn’t such a bad thing, the question an employer would want to satisfy themselves with is whether I have sufficient ‘knowledgeable integrity’ to ensure ideas are not counter-productive to the status-quo of an existing team.   Lucky for me that my report suggests my interpersonal style is naturally obliging and co-operative in nature.  My secondary influencing style is ‘business-winner’ which indicates an ability to attract new opportunities from previously unknown sources.  If I were going for a new role that involved identifying new opportunities, this would be a wonderful talking point in an interview.

Investigative ‘Career Theme’.  I have always considered myself to be somewhat creative and imaginative, although I had never considered myself as the investigative type.  However on reflection, this is something I really do like.  Sure, those around me would probably describe me as an ideas guy, and that I can sometimes overlook those pesky details of how something will actually be implemented.  Details details!  However, ensuring that I get myself involved in the experimenting of what works and what doesn’t is something I am likely to be energized by.   Again, if I was going for a new role, this is something that would make a really interesting talking point at a job interview.

Abstract Thinking Style.   The 15FQ+ offers insight across five different thinking styles, and the one that seems to dominate for me is ‘Abstract’.  In other words, dealing with new information and abstract concepts is something that comes naturally to me.  Another observation in terms of thinking style is that I am likely to be more flexible in my approach, however this may result in some things not getting done (this is so true!).  By being aware of this, I can make the adjustments required and move beyond my usual default thinking style.  Remember, this is just as much about ‘conscious correction’ as it is about knowing myself.  With the right information, I get to remain the master of my choices, which means I am the master of my future.

The good news is that it’s simple and easy

Whether you are a senior leader looking to discover your natural strengths, or a team member looking to better understand your value in the workplace, the 15FQ+ is something that everyone should do.  You just need 20-25 minutes of quiet time at a computer to answer the questions, and then debrief with one of our experienced consultants.

At Optimum, we are always talking to employers about the type of team member characteristics they value.  Your ability to know yourself is likely to make a very big difference to achieving your career goals, and we can help you get there.  Simply contact us to get started.

General Manager – Insights & Innovation

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