A few weeks ago, I took a class at Microsoft called Situational Leadership. We have a training team that offers different types of classes in house so you can take classes in subjects ranging from technical skills to time management. I had heard good things about Situational Leadership so I decided to take it.

In short, the class was awesome. It's too bad that right now it's just being offered to people managers. It would be so valuable for anyone who has to do any kind of work with anyone else. It's all about being aware of how people relate to work tasks from both a motivational and a competency standpoint. I'm not all touchy feely but this was good stuff. Anyway, during the class, the instructor mentioned Myers-Briggs. I've done assessment exercises that put you into one of four quadrants. I tend to end up in the director/doer space (it's called different things in different models). Anyway, understanding that Myers-Briggs adds some more depth, I made a note to seek it out and saw something in a magazine mentioning where to take an assessment online. And then I got busy.

My buddy Sunish sent out a mail today with a link to a quick version of the test. So I thought I would take it and decide for myself if the results sounded like me and if they did, perhaps invest the time in taking the longer version. The questions themselves made me want to thank the writer of the test for asking. Yes, I do need to try things for myself, yes I like to act immediately and of course I'd rather read a book than go to a party...that's just me. Anyway, I took the test and the results came back with INTJ...what they call a "Mastermind Rational". Don't let the mastermind part fool you. I'm pretty sure that it refers to people that like to make decisions behind the scenes. According the write up, it's pretty rare. I don't think I am surprised at all though because some of my social habits are very different than others; especially my preference for e-mail over phone (quicker, easier to control) and the fact that I don't like to physically draw attention to myself (I'd rather get attention for my work results) and that I place the most value in getting things done even if they are experimental (hey, at least you tried something new...good for you, risk taker). It's a wonder I ever got into recruiting in the first place. Recruiting is a breeding ground for extroverts but that just isn't me. And so here I ended up leading a team that finds candidates that our recruiting partners get pats on the back (from the hiring managers) for bringing on board. That's the beauty of the situation...I'm totally OK with that. Let's just get great people on board. We don't need the glory, let's get the job done. I found the right job for my personality type. Lots of go-go-go, less dog and pony show (than other jobs I have had in the past).

The most telling thing in the assessment, to me, was the part about contingency planning (hello...the disaster preparedness kit!). I've been trying to get over my "glass half empty" nature being a major character flaw. Any idea, I always seem to focus on what could go wrong. It doesn't matter whose idea it is. I always try to predict the roadblocks that will keep us from being successful. I have always seen that as a flaw because it can manifest itself as negativity, but really, it's contingency planning. I still think the ideas are great. In fact, it's because they are great that I want to figure out how to make them successful. I wrote recently about risk taking. Think about how exhausting it can be to take risks and do the contingency planning thing. And this is why my friends tell me I need to learn how to relax. I know this. I'm going to work on learning how to chill 20% and dealing with the fact that this is how I am 80%.

On the plus side, I am the queen of brainstorming (I'm more creative than analytical and I have a need to be heard...outside of the brainstorming scenario, it can be plain annoying/exhausting...how's that for a little self-awareness?). It's one of the things I love most about my job. We get to do that a lot in our roles. And it's fun turning those ideas into reality (especially the ones that actually end up working).

Anyway, if anyone else take the test, tell me if you the people reflected on your results page are mostly historical figures. I'm kind of fascinated by the idea of there being people who had/have some of the same personality inclinations turning it into success in their lives. Of course, I could have saved myself the trouble of taking the test and just referred back to what my grandmother told me about myself as a child: "you were the only 5 year old with an opinion on everything". Little did she know, I was predestined to blog.