This is not your Common-or-Garden Personality Test.
Today I’d like to delve into a more advanced psychometric test – one that promises to be the end of personality ‘stereo’ types.
If you’d like more of an intro into psychometrics before getting into this article, check out my first post here:
I think we’re in an exciting time for psychometrics (but of course I would say that!). There are quite a few new developments that seek to resolve some of the ‘traditional’ problems with personality testing – and have no doubt, proper personality testing is a science and must evolve as it is faced with new information. As the late, great professor Hawking once said, “intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”.
I’ll talk about some of these new evolutions today in the context of the new-and-tasty psychometric test, the Pearman Personality Integrator.
About the Pearman
I don’t doubt that in his many years of coaching, Dr. Pearman got to know personality type intimately – and so he’s perhaps one of the best placed people to develop ‘type’ further based on his coaching practice. With that said, the Pearman is not strictly about personality, as its full name gives away. It is a personality integrator – within the same test, it begins with personality and integrates it with our behaviour and our genuine actions at work. As such, I think it has something in common with both the Belbin and MBTI which I’ve covered earlier.
Why develop a new personality test, and what makes it different?
A lot of personality tests ask you questions ‘in a vacuum’ – to consider yourself ‘in general’ or in one generic context such as ‘at work’, but this presents a bit of a conundrum. Do you always behave in the way you indicate on the answer sheet? For instance, if you were asked, “How often do you take charge of a group?”, you might be thinking any of the following:
- “I like taking charge, and I get to do it a lot of the time”.
- “I’m sometimes okay with taking charge, but I’m not a particular fan of it”.
- “I do like taking charge, but I only get to do it in very specific situations”.
If you were to think option 1, great! However, if you were to think of options 2 or 3, you have very different ideas, but either way, your answer to the question might be “sometimes”. Hopefully you can see why this could be an issue.
The Pearman’s solution to this is to add an extra dimension to the question. How natural is the behaviour for you, versus how often do you actually behave in that way?. Here’s an example:
Now the distinction can be made clear. Option 2 above would be ‘Neutral’ and only ‘Sometimes’, whilst Option 3 might be ‘Natural’ but still only ‘Sometimes’. In one sense then, the Pearman is accounting for both your underlying personality and your external behaviour – both parts of ‘the egg’.
Much like the MBTI, these questions coalesce to give you a type. Rather than a strict code like ‘ENFJ’, though, they are presented as traits: both for your natural style and your demonstrated behaviour. For instance, while I get an ‘ENFJ’ result on the MBTI, on the Pearman I am 89 E, 93 N and 72 F – meanwhile my demonstrated style is 63 I, 69 N and 63 T. If you like the simplicity of the MBTI types, you could say I’m naturally ENF but I often work as INT.
The astute among you might have noticed the fourth letter has mysteriously vanished – rather than treat this as a separate axis, instead the ‘Sensing’/’Intuiting’ axis is considered the ‘perceiving’ function and the ‘Thinking’/’Feeling’ axis is the ‘judging’ function.
What does this all mean in practice? Well, my natural inclination is to focus on the outside world and to initiate discussions with groups of others, but in my work one-to-one discussions are more common and there’s more of a need for careful formulation of ideas. I also favour values and empathy naturally, but my work often encourages me to be more analytical and make decisions based on logic. This naturally leads on to the next piece of the puzzle.
How do I know whether this difference is ‘safe’?
We have gone one step beyond the MBTI in that we can see how someone’s natural style and behaviour style differ. But when those styles are different, how much pressure is the person put under? Is, say, an ENT thinker comfortable working in an INF way or does that cause them stress?
The Pearman also includes a section called the FlexIndex: Rather than assess personality, the FlexIndex looks at the different skills and preferences you have that enable you to work in a flexible way, on five different scales. Here’s a handy diagram to give you an introduction:
This is a very important piece, since it can reveal not just how good you are at coping with different styles, but where exactly the strain comes from, and what you might do in order to make working in different styles easier to accomodate and less stressful – since we will undoubtedly all need to do that from time to time.
So what’s the next step?
As usual, when you take the Pearman it’s important to go beyond the psychometric test, and think about how to use the results of the test to develop yourself in your life and work.
The Belbin and MBTI which I’ve covered already are more suited to team discussions and open workshops, but the Pearman on the other hand is much more appropriate for rich personal development, which makes sense since it was designed by a professional coach. As it’s a highly detailed and somewhat technical tool, you get a comprehensive personal report which would take time to reflect upon in its entirety.
As a byproduct, the average benchmarks for natural and behavioural styles (the ‘norm groups’) are quite revealing. For instance, it’s totally normal and quite common for someone to be more extroverted (E) and feeling (F) but for their behaviour to be more introverted (I) and thinking (N) based on what’s expected of them in their lives and works.
I wonder if you fall into this category too? Perhaps this reveals something about us as a society, but that’s probably beyond the scope of this article!
As ever, I hope this dive into the Pearman has been interesting and not too technical to dissuade you from looking into it further.
If you or your team are interested in taking the Pearman personality integrator for an in-depth development report and conversation, give us a call on 015395 67878, e-mail us at email@example.com, or visit our website at www.psyence.co. We are also planning to run accredited training courses on delivering the Pearman, so please also let us know if you’re interested in learning to use this tool and we can give you more information.
And if you have any questions or comments about this week’s article, please do get in touch on Linked In or Twitter, Tweet at @dovenestjacob, or e-mail me at Jacob.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next time, I’ll talk about another tool under the badge of MHS, the EQ-I 2.0, looking in depth at emotional intelligence: a workable, developable way of using your personality in the workplace. If you’re a current user of EQ-i, you might also like to know there is a crossover module in Pearman, to link the personality results to the EQ-i for additional insights.
Psyence & Dove Nest Group