When you are under a lot of stress, it is very often your core psychological traits that come to the forefront. Some people can react by becoming withdrawn, distracted, cynical, abrasive, destructive or even aggressive - how do you react and what's your strategy to cope?
We are all having to cope with an exceptional change to our working world and not everyone is being affected in the same way. Online retail, technology and healthcare have all seen a massive increase in demand for their services arising from Covid-19, whereas traditional shopping, hospitality and leisure have all been severely restricted. Working from home instead of the office has quickly become the new norm for many.
When your world goes through a period of rapid change it becomes even more important to pause and reflect. Remember your talents and gifts; the type of environment that makes you thrive and what does not; how to recognise your triggers for excessive stress and sticking to your plans to manage.
The importance of understanding you
Psychological tests are a great tool to learn more about yourself in a structured way and if you are not sure where to begin, I would encourage you to delve in and seek out a professional coach and qualified practitioner to help you make the most of the tools available.
The right approach can make a real difference in your career and personal life and as we get older, different preferences can emerge and be used more often or easily – we learn; therefore, it is always worth revisiting and challenging.
I have been lucky enough to have had various psychological tests over the years and one of the most memorable was with the Myers Briggs test which was taken as part of a leadership development programme many years ago.
It made a lasting memory, because the firms that I had been working for were operating in a rigid regulatory framework where conformity and alignment of both personal and business goals were an essential part of the framework to career success.
It was less about the individual and more about the team. Moulding people into a set of cultural values and working practises that were uniform in feel and outlook throughout the business no matter the location or service line. A common feature of many large accountancy and tax practices at the time.
Having the opportunity to lift the lid and critically examine my own personal bias and psychological profile in a structured way was novel and refreshing. We examined what made me tick and what I was like under pressure, alongside what might be good areas for growth and attention in the future. It was the beginning of my journey into personal bias and the need for mindfulness.
Interaction with others and the world around us
We all have personal bias, different psychological mixes and behavioural characteristics. These normal everyday differences between us are what makes us human and bring life to teams, organisations and the societies we inhabit.
We respond differently to pressure and understanding yourself and those around you is how we can avoid conflict and build consensus for change. A team that knows itself, and the objectives and bias of the individuals within it, is stronger.
In the context of Myers Briggs, it is worth remembering when doing these types of test there is no right or wrong psychological type, and there are no better or worse combinations of types in work or relationships. Each type and each individual brings special gifts, and when you understand your gifts you are better positioned to create the right environment for them to flourish.
Human personality, however, is much more complex than a test and there are a lot more (and probably better developed tests) than the one I took over a decade ago. The whole purpose of learning about your psychological profile is to help you understand yourself better and to enhance your relationship with others.
If you are interested in more details check out The British Psychological Society which has up to date guidance and advice on tests and practitioners.