The Best Personality Tests to Elevate Your Work Team's Performance

Discover the transformative power of personality tests in elevating team dynamics and individual development within the workplace.
Ben Kill, Chartered MCIPD

  • Personality tests in the workplace offer insights into individual motivations and working styles, aiding in team development and personal growth.

  •  By incorporating tools like the Enneagram and MBTI into L&D initiatives, organizations can enhance understanding and collaboration among team members.

  • These assessments serve as a valuable component of a holistic L&D strategy, contributing to a dynamic, empathetic, and productive workplace environment.

Learning and development (L&D) are not only crucial to skill enhancement but also to preparing teams for the demands of the future. However, L&D initiatives often risk being perceived as tedious or overly serious by employees. To infuse these programs with a renewed sense of enjoyment and engagement, many organizations turn to an unconventional yet effective tool: personality tests.

While not a silver bullet by any means, these tests can serve as a dynamic team-building exercise, fostering insightful conversations and a deeper understanding among team members about their behaviors, preferences, and working styles. In this article, we’ll dive into the realm of workplace personality assessments, exploring benefits, common types, and thoughtful implementation strategies for L&D leaders and HR professionals.

What is a Personality Test?

Personality tests systematically gather data about an individual's driving motivations, preferences, emotional responses, and interactions with different environments and situations. These tools, ranging from self-report inventories to observer ratings, help sketch a person's personality profile, which can predict important factors like job performance or satisfaction levels.

Most effective personality assessments cover a spectrum of traits, avoiding overemphasis on a single dimension. Specifically, the “Big Five” traits—Extroversion, Emotional Stability, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness to Experience—form a comprehensive model often used to forecast job performance. That said, the relevance of these traits can vary significantly across different roles.

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What is the Goal of Workplace Personality Tests?

Workplace personality assessments generally aim to highlight the various dimensions of an employee's personality, offering valuable insights into their work style and motivations. While sometimes utilized in recruitment to identify candidates who match the company culture, the focus here is on enhancing team dynamics and personal development within existing teams.

Among other things, these tests can:

  • Enrich Company Culture and Collaboration - Sharing personality test experiences promotes understanding and empathy among colleagues, leading to more cohesive and effective teamwork.

  • Encourage Self-improvement - Insights from these tests often prompt employees to reflect on their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth, which aligns with a culture of continuous professional development.

  • Boost Employee Engagement - Understanding the diverse personalities within a team can help leaders tailor their management approaches and L&D programs to better suit their team's needs, enhancing overall engagement and productivity.

Taking all of this into account, it’s also important to recognize the limitations of workplace personality tests. Indeed, we need to remember that they’re intended to provide a snapshot rather than a full picture of an individual's personality and may carry biases or fail to capture the uniqueness of every employee. Consequently, while they can offer interesting insights and foster team bonding, they should not be solely relied upon for critical decisions like hiring.

How Do Personality Tests Aid in Learning and Development

At the core of every individual lies a unique personality, shaping how they see the world, interact within teams, and approach challenges and opportunities. For L&D leaders, unlocking these insights is more than an exercise – it's a strategic imperative required to foster deeper engagement and propel team success forward. While no single personality test holds all the answers, incorporating these assessments into L&D strategies can provide invaluable benefits. Put simply: they offer a playful yet profound way to encourage self-awareness and mutual understanding, both of which are key drivers of personal growth and team cohesion.

Personality tests can also help determine fundamental traits like introversion versus extroversion, detail orientation, conflict resolution styles, and motivations. This knowledge enables L&D programs to tailor onboarding and ongoing development efforts more effectively, pushing individuals gently out of their comfort zones and towards their full potential. In doing so, these tests enhance individual performance and foster a more dynamic, cooperative, and productive workplace culture.

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The Best Workplace Personality Tests


The Enneagram test offers a nuanced exploration of personality, dividing individuals into one of nine distinct types. Each type is defined by specific core motivations, fears, and interpersonal dynamics. The Enneagram test stands out for its depth, as it can often provide both individuals and teams insights into their underlying drivers and potential areas for growth. However, its approach of categorizing complex human behaviors into nine types has limitations, potentially oversimplifying the multifaceted nature of personality. Despite these challenges, the Enneagram remains a popular tool for personal development and team building, encouraging a journey toward self-understanding and improved interpersonal relationships.

The Big Five Personality Traits

The Five-Factor Model, or The Big Five, encompasses five broad dimensions of personality: extraversion, agreeableness, openness to experience, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. This model is one of the most extensively researched and universally recognized frameworks for understanding personality. It also offers a broad overview of personality traits that can inform a wide range of personal and professional development initiatives. However, its generality may not delve into the nuances of an individual's character or the interplay of different traits in specific contexts. This makes it more of a starting point than an exhaustive analysis.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most widely recognized personality assessments in the world. It categorizes individuals into 16 distinct personality types based on four dichotomies: Extraversion vs. Introversion, Sensing vs. Intuition, Thinking vs. Feeling, and Judging vs. Perceiving. The MBTI offers intriguing insights into personal preferences and decision-making styles, making it a valuable tool for understanding team dynamics and individual growth paths. However, its reliability has been questioned due to many individuals receiving different results upon retesting. This has led to criticisms regarding its scientific validity and application accuracy.


The DiSC Profile focuses on four primary behavior types: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. Unlike traditional personality tests that delve into deep-seated traits, DiSC concentrates on observable behaviors and how they impact workplace interactions. However, its simplicity is both its strength and its weakness. For instance, while DiSC provides clear, actionable insights into communication and collaboration styles, it may not capture the full complexity of an individual's personality or offer the depth of insight provided by more comprehensive assessments.

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter

Developed by psychologist David Keirsey, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter categorizes individuals into four primary temperaments: Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, and Rationalist. Keirsey's framework emphasizes understanding how one's temperament influences their interactions and perceptions of the world. Specifically, the tool highlights the importance of temperamental qualities such as adaptability and empathy, which are crucial in navigating the complexities of modern work environments. However, the KTS's focused approach means it should not be the sole basis for drawing conclusions about an individual's capabilities or potential. Its simplicity offers clear, accessible insights, but it may not capture the full complexity of an individual’s personality.

Clifton Strengths Assessment

Originally known as Strengths Finder, the Clifton Strengths Assessment created by Don Clifton and Gallup identifies an individual's dominant talents across 34 themes based on their responses to 177 questions. This assessment is designed to help individuals recognize and build upon their natural patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. It is particularly valuable for L&D purposes because it aids in creating personalized development plans that leverage each person’s strengths. However, its focus on talents and strengths means it might overlook areas where development is needed.

Hogan Personality Inventory

The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) is grounded in the Big Five personality model mentioned earlier. By this, we mean that it emphasizes traits directly related to workplace behavior and attitudes. Developed by Robert Hogan, the HPI assesses personality across dimensions such as Adjustment, Ambition, and Sociability, offering a comprehensive view of how individuals relate to others at their best. While it provides valuable insights for professional development and team dynamics, its primary focus on work-related traits means it might not capture all aspects of an individual's personality. To counteract this, it's often used in conjunction with other assessments to provide a more rounded view of an employee's personality.


As organizations navigate the complexities of team development in an ever-evolving work environment, the thoughtful application of personality assessments stands as a testament to the value of diversity in thought, behavior, and approach. In doing so, L&D leaders can not only elevate team performance but also contribute to building a resilient, adaptive, and forward-looking organizational culture.

In the end, it’s important to remember that learning and development is not just about achieving business objectives—it's about unlocking the rich potential within each team member, paving the way for fulfillment and success in the multifaceted world of work.
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Personality Test F.A.Q.

What is a personality test, and how is it used in the workplace?

Personality tests are tools designed to assess an individual's characteristics, preferences, and working style by analyzing their responses to a set of questions. In the workplace, these tests are used for various purposes, including improving team dynamics, aiding in personal development, and sometimes, during the hiring process, assessing a candidate's fit within the company culture.

Can personality tests predict job performance?

While personality tests can provide insights into an individual’s tendencies and how they might interact within a team, they are not definitive predictors of job performance. They are best used as one component of a broader assessment strategy that includes evaluating skills, experience, and other relevant factors.

What are some common personality tests used in L&D initiatives?

Popular tests include the Enneagram, which identifies nine personality types; the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), based on the Big Five personality model; the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), offering 16 personality types based on four dichotomies; the DiSC Profile, focusing on Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness; the Keirsey Temperament Sorter; the CliftonStrengths Assessment; and the Big Five Personality Traits model.

What benefits do personality tests offer for team building and development?

Personality tests can enhance team building and development by fostering a deeper understanding among team members of their own and their colleagues' behaviors, preferences, and working styles. This leads to improved communication, empathy, and collaboration, contributing to a more cohesive and effective team.

Are there any limitations to using personality tests in the workplace?

Yes, personality tests have their limitations. They should not be used as the sole basis for making critical decisions, such as hiring, because they can carry biases and may not capture the full complexity of an individual’s personality. It's important to use these tests as part of a comprehensive assessment strategy.

How should L&D leaders integrate personality tests into their programs?

L&D leaders should carefully select personality tests that align with their organizational goals and team dynamics. Tests should be used to complement existing development programs, with a focus on fostering self-awareness, empathy, and mutual respect among team members. Additionally, results should be interpreted with caution, considering the tests' inherent limitations.

What considerations should be taken into account when selecting a personality test for L&D purposes?

 When selecting a personality test, consider the test's reliability, validity, and relevance to the specific needs and goals of your team and organization. It's also important to ensure that the test is administered and interpreted by qualified professionals and that participants understand the purpose and limitations of the assessment.

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