Psychometric tests are a standard and scientific method used to measure individuals' mental capabilities and behavioural style.
There are different types of psychometric assessments. There are essentially two main types: personality assessments and aptitude assessments.
- The personality assessment explores your natural values, motivations, behaviours and interests. There is not a score or a right or wrong outcome from a personality assessment. Only the person's natural style, and the behaviours, values, motivations and stressors that align to that style.
- An aptitude assessment looks at your cognitive ability and reasoning and is often used to determine the right skill set for a given role. Intelligence levels are compared to a defined standard, which means that there must be a certain score achieved to pass.
Both are extremely useful, but in this article we are looking at personality assessments and types.
Why is psychometric profiling important to Major Incident Management?
Major Incident Managers are leaders. The role requires you to lead multidisciplinary teams in situations that are time sensitive, stressful, often complex and full of ambiguity.
It requires you to maximise collaboration between the various Technical Resolving Groups, vendors and third parties. Collaboration between these groups equals faster resolution of major incidents (reduced MI MTTR – major incident mean time to resolution) and this means less financial loss, less downtime for End Users, and less impact on the business. It is also critical to manage the confidence of a diverse range of stakeholders.
Your leadership style, personality style and how these change under stress, all have a huge impact on the teams and people that you bring together to resolve a major incident. As does the way you engage with and manage stakeholders.
MIM® introduced psychometric profiling into the Best Practice IT Major Incident Management in 2015 as a way for Major Incident Managers to understand themselves better, and thus lead a with a more considered approach. Through discussions with the community what became apparent was that the biggest challenge faced by Heads of Major Incident functions was the relationships between their Major Incident Managers, the Technical Resolving Groups and their stakeholders.
At a high level there are three areas of value to consider:
- Understanding your own style and preferences
- Understanding others style and preferences (teams and people you lead)
- Understanding others style and preferences (stakeholders)
1. Understanding your own style and preferences
The benefit of understanding your own psychometric profile type can’t be underestimated. Self-awareness is a key aspect of emotional intelligence, and emotional intelligence is vital to great leadership.
Leaders have followers. Followers who willingly choose to follow their leadership. To stand out as a leader you have an identifiable personal brand. It is very difficult for people to choose to follow you if they don’t understand what you stand for, who you are and what you believe. Understanding and defining your personal brand cannot be done well without emotional intelligence.
Understanding your own personality style and preferences is also a precursor to understanding others personality styles and preferences. Understanding your own and others styles helps to identify strategies to maximise relationships between different personality styles, reduce conflict, maximise collaboration, and increase performance.
2. Understanding others style and preferences
Once you have a good understanding of self, your own tendencies, communication styles and motivators, it can be illuminating. But what is really special is when you begin exploring the other personality types, and start considering your team members, colleagues, and customers.
Once you understand the different personality types of others, the different motivators, values, communication styles and stressors, it changes the way you behave as a leader. It alters the way you engage with others. Psychometric profiling gives you a mental model to see things from other people’s perspectives, which in turn helps you to tailor your communication to best fit with their style, and how you motivate them.
Leading people with this level of understanding and consideration drastically alters the result you get, both in terms of the relationships you have with them, and with the positive outcomes you are able to create as a team. Ultimately this results in moving faster in the second phase of the Best Practice IT Major Incident process (post 15 minutes phase) in particular.
3. Understanding others style and preferences (stakeholders)
Stakeholders are quite unique in Major Incident Management, very few other functions of IT engage with as many people as Major Incident Management, or in the same time sensitive, real-time way.
The stakeholders are as diverse in their personality styles, temperaments and values as they are in their roles.
In Major Incident Management you are often very busy, and therefore you don’t get much time with stakeholders. It might be mass communications that you issue in the initial 15 minutes phase, it could be an inbound phone call from the CIO or a Service Director that joins a conference call, whatever the interaction, what you do and say as a leader for major incidents will stay with them and their impression of you is formed in part, from this. This can be positive or negative, and it may be negative, not because you said or did the wrong thing, but simply because you didn’t understand the stakeholder’s communication style, and preferences.
A good example would be someone with a high D (for dominance) style (in the DiSC® methodology), a senior leader perhaps. You give them all of the detail, every last bit – you have everything in hand, all of the Technical Resolving Groups are performing exceptionally well and the major incident will soon be resolved, but the stakeholder doesn’t seem happy, maybe even frustrated. You are confused…
If you had the mental models and tool that psychometric profiling delivers, then you would have understood that this stakeholder doesn’t really communicate or wish to be communicated to in detail. They want high-level summaries. By giving them the detail and taking 15 minutes to explain everything, you have actually talked yourself out of a positive stakeholder engagement. This stakeholder might even perceive that you are unsure of yourself because you felt the need to explain yourself in great detail. This, of course, is not the case, it is simply that your communication was generic and not tailored to the individual, you didn’t understand their style, and so because of their own bias, world view and style, they have had a completely different experience to the one you intended them to have.
Major Incident Management is a leadership role, and leadership is a constant effort to serve the people you lead better. Psychometric profiling is only one tool in the Major Incident Managers toolbox for leading, but it is one of the simplest and most effective ways to increase collaboration, improve relationships, engage with stakeholders better, and reduce Major Incident Mean Time to Resolution (MI MTTR).
There are many psychometric tools and methodologies. Within the Best Practice in IT Major Incident Management we teach the DiSC® model. Learn about DiSC®, what it is, how it works and the different styles here
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