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Do’s and Don’ts of Assessments

Yes! I love assessments and use them regularly in coaching and facilitating training. They can be powerful tools to create awareness, offer tangible next steps to accelerate leadership and inspire people to work better together.

However, they are just tools! Tools with the potential to create conversation that will build relationships needed to grow and learn together. Let’s step back and look at a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to using assessments.

DO’s: How can you get the most from any assessment you choose to take?

  1. Connect to the language that describes you. Review the report and underline what connects to you. Not every word will reflect who you are, because we are complex beings. Your goal is not to put yourself in a box, but to craft language you can use to embrace your God-given brilliance and set expectations with others about who you are and what you do best.
  2. Notice your brilliance in your day-to-day life. Look at how you live out what you see in the assessment. What are the examples in your life at work? At home? In relationships? Dig into your own stories and notice what the assessment is reflecting about who you are and who you want to become. Chat with a friend. Ask them what they notice. Stretch beyond your own thinking to notice the talents that are obvious to everyone else but you!
  3. Take action. Identify one to three things you will DO as a result of what you see. It might be using the language of the assessment to help you rewrite a resume or cover letter. It might be setting up a conversation with a leader or your team to talk about what you learned and what you want to try differently as a result of your learning. Invite them into your experiment! If you don’t act on awareness it minimizes the impact of any assessment.

DON’Ts: How do you handle the assessment so it doesn’t become a weapon instead of tool?

  1. Don’t stereotype. Assessments can easily put people into a category that people use to define roles, assign tasks, or communicate. That’s a user error that can easily be corrected! How? By conversation. Assessments can be a short-cut – but they are never a substitute for conversation. ASK!! Don’t assume you know someone. We are more than our assessment results.
  2. Don’t excuse. We want to love on our personality type, strengths, number, or however the results are described. That is good until it becomes an excuse behavior or opt out of hard things. We all MUST develop the skills to succeed at what is before us. So, if it is hard … take on the learning challenge, partner with someone who can help you or just admit that it is hard, dig in and do your best.
  3. Don’t weaponize. Assessments at their worst become weapons to keep people in their place. Statements like, “A _____ can’t be a leader.” Or, “_____’s just can’t do conflict.” Or, “I would never hire a _______.” Assessments can help us understand fit or strengths or personality – but it’s not telling us what we do well. Assessments CAN help us understand how we approach situations like leadership, conflict, or work. However, they should enhance what we do NOT disqualify us from what we do.

If you have an assessment report sitting in your drawer and would like to go through it one more time and find out how to make it relevant for what you are doing today, contact me. Grab a quick power call to chat about how I can help.

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Annie Perdue Olson

Annie is founder of Leading Better Together, guiding leaders through the relationship and people challenges that sidetrack ministry. With 20+ years of experience in nonprofit management and pastoral ministry she equips people and teams to work better together. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources and Change Leadership from St. Thomas University and received her coaching certification from the Center of Coaching Excellence.

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