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Criticism of personality profiling tools

By PJ STEVENS Published 29th Oct 2013
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One of the most regularly expressed criticisms of personality and behavioural profiling that I hear is founded in the belief that the idea seeks to simplify human nature by categorising behaviour. We are, after all, unique.

It would be a very poor facilitator who claimed that he could simplify human nature and interactions. We are all driven by complex motivations which may start with our natures and preferences but are also affected by moods, emotions, thoughts and memories. We cannot also ignore situations; a person may behave differently on a sinking ship than they might in a library.

However, most of the time we do have relatively predictable personalities and preferences. How many times have you said or heard; ‘That’s not like you!’ That this is so often said to children shows how soon our personalities develop.

Think of your friends; the people you know really well. Do you know what they are ‘like’? If they act unpredictably it can be so upsetting that it might even be called distressing. Perceived unpredictability is generally perceived as a negative trait in all but the most creative professions.

So, I accept the uniqueness of all of us. However, I also believe that most of us are fairly (not completely) predictable. If we were able to predict the behaviours of our work colleagues as well as we can our closest friends, would that not be an advantage when it comes to getting things done as a team?

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