Lead With Insight

By Barry Pruitt

As a Rhythm coach and onsite facilitator, I am always interested in the different egos and personalities in entrepreneurial companies. My coaching colleagues and I see the differences in CEOs and leadership style, differences that can often be rooted in personality.

Why, for example, does one CEO tolerate an underperforming team member for years on end while another, in nearly the same circumstances, makes personnel changes with the speed that most of us change clothes? Part of the answer lies in personality. 

As a certified presenter for an industry leading personality profile, I thought it would be helpful to share insights from the author and creator of the Insight Inventory, Patrick Handley, Ph.D. Dr Patrick Handley, Ph.D.   Insight Institute

The Insight Inventory is an easy-to-use, self-scoring personality profile test that helps people gain in-depth knowledge about their personality strengths, understand others better, and improve communication skills. I’ve found it a helpful solution for new teams and those with communication challenges. Below are his thoughts from an e-mail interview:

Dr. Handley, where did the concept for the Insight Inventory come from?  

Well, I started out as a math teacher, and then turned into a psychologist.  

I began to teach courses in leadership and team development.  I was using other assessments, but found that groups of adults felt boxed in when they were told that they had been coded as a particular "personality type."  These labels often blocked communication versus enhance it. These traditional personality tests were getting in the way of helping teams cut to the chase and get started on improving communication and efficiency. 

That is why I began to create the Insight Inventory.  It looks at how people behave within a particular environment, since all we really know about someone is how we observe them.  That is, we see others’ behaviors, but not their intentions.  And this goes both ways.  So we can get judged so easily!  I decided that we need to assess people’s versions of themselves within an environment.  That is why the Insight Inventory asks how you are, in two major environments: work and home. 

How are the results of the Insight Inventory utilized differently than other tools?

That's a good question. As I stated, we look at how people change from one setting to another.  What makes the Insight Inventory different is that we use this as a conversation opener for how they may change around others, or on a team, or within a task force. 

We want to get beyond thinking that we know who people are, simply by looking at a code, color or title.  Ultimately, we want to look at each other’s strengths and how we can work together.

Tell me how you identify primary behavioral traits.

We isolated the traits that make sense for assessing people in work teams. For example, how do you assert yourself?  If we know that about someone, we can escape judgment.  As you know, as soon as we fall into judgment, we are not focusing on each other’s strengths. 

In the short term, we can overlook each other’s differences to get something done.  However, the teams that work together on complex tasks over a long time – where the relationships and communication are critical – they need to build on each other’s strengths in order to bring out the best in each other.  

Thank you, Dr. Handley. Find more detail on Insight Inventory free.

Consider the personality of those you chose to build your teams and your business. According to Amanda Neville, contributor to Forbes and author of "The Ultimate Litmus Test: Personality" (Forbes, March 29, 2013), personality can be considered not only to understand others and work through conflict more productively, but might also be considered to do the following:

•Inform hiring practices

•Vet potential business partners

•Match personality to particular tasks or initiatives


So I wonder, have you had experience using personality tests in your company? What tool did you use? How did it work? 

I look forward to your comments, Barry.


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