Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Understand your Personality

It is self evident that we all have different personalities and if you are in midlife and looking for a new job or promotion, you need to be acutely aware of and understand your own characteristics. There are a number of online personality tests and techniques available to identify your own strengths and weaknesses.  Two of the most popular are Belbin and DISC.
Belbin will help you to identify your team roles – how you work within a team and the character traits that you display.  Are you a Leader or a Shaper, an Implementer or a Specialist? There are several other categorisations within the Belbin analysis. You can complete the online form yourself and receive a 5 page analysis of your character type. You can also ask friends and work colleagues to complete a different version of the form and this will give you a 360 degree view – how you see yourself and how others view you.
There is a small cost to use the Belbin analysis and details can be found here
DISC will help you to identify your own personality type.  The DISC profiling produces 3 graphs that highlight the following key information:
  • How you appear to other people
  • How you cope under pressure
  • How you see yourself
  • How does it work?
The profile is in the form of an online questionnaire that takes around 10 minutes to complete. The answers are then analysed and your personality profile is constructed and the output is turned into a 7-8 page report. 
If you complete these questionnaires and read the resultant analyses you will have a basic idea of your own character type. Some of this will be no surprise to you. Parts of it may lead you to question your own self-image. Regardless of your own characteristics, you must understand where you fit in. Leaders will always lead. If you are not a Leader type, will you ever be the boss? Realistically, if you are not a natural leader you are unlikely to rise right to the top. However, you can most certainly aspire to a senior role in an organisation, though you will need to work on those areas that require development.
Where are you most comfortable? Truly successful people move out of their comfort zone as a matter of course. They will push and stretch themselves to ensure that their character types are as rounded as they can be.
Your character type may surprise you. Can you change? Maybe, maybe not. The choice is yours and the experience may not be a smooth ride. If you are a Leader type, you may need to develop your ‘softer’ side in order to manage your teams as you progress through the organisation.
If you are not a Leader, you can change your character and become more authoritative, more directive and more persuasive. This will not be easy and certainly in the initial phase, you will feel as if you are not only outside of your comfort zone but that you have lost sight of it! But this is exactly what you must do to move forward. The great explorers who first charted the land masses of the world set sail and disappeared over the horizon at a time when the prevailing wisdom counseled that the Earth was flat and ships that sailed too far would fall off of the edge. These explorers were prepared to take the risk to find out the truth. In your own way, if you are determined to reach the top, you will also have to sail over the horizon from time to time to explore uncharted waters. Taking risks and being responsible for the outcome will seem daunting initially but once you have your first successes, moving forward will seem easier.
Certain character types are more suited to particular roles and departments than others. Frequently, departments are defined by this. For example, a typical Finance or IT department will contain fewer Leader types and Resource Investigators. They will contain more Team Workers and Completer Finishers than a typical Sales or Marketing department, where Leader types will compete for dominance.
Individuals who stand out are those that are comfortable and confident in their surroundings but who also have the exceptional extra characteristic. A Leader type will stand out in a Finance environment and a confident Completer Finisher will similarly shine in a Sales department. They will be confident, rounded individuals who can do their jobs and deputise for their boss when required. They have that something extra, which those who are less successful don’t exhibit.
If you haven’t completed a personality test previously, it will be a worthwhile investment for you to understand yourself in a more structured way and see how your are perceived by others.
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here


  1. Companies which have vacant management level positions could ask several qualified employees to take DiSC profile assessments available at so that they could determine which one would be the best person for the job.