Understanding yourself and others

5 men and women smiling and laughing

Photo: Kari Lewis, MSU Extension

Approaching one another from a perspective of understanding instead of judgment may be one of the greatest challenges and most beneficial gifts. Doing so shifts the focus from one vs. another to team vs. an issue. Strong relationships are invaluable and start with curiosity and willingness to look inward and then outward to gain a better understanding of the beliefs, values, and life experiences that have shaped perspectives and behavior. One approach to understanding yourself and others to build working relationships is to explore a variety of research-based personality and strengths tests.

Real Colors is a temperament theory tool that categorizes human behavior and motivation into four personality types. The Enneagram is an emotionally focused assessment of nine personality types within three centers (heart, head, and body types). The Myers-Briggs Type
Indicator (MBTI) is a psychometric tool that classifies personality preferences into 16 different types by analyzing energy, information, decisions, and organization of time and environment. The Six Types of Working Genius assessment groups and ranks personal strengths and provides a format for effectively analyzing results within work teams.

Beginning with the end in mind, express your intent for personal growth, and invite others to join the journey. Utilize multiple assessment tools for deeper self-awareness. Consider meeting as a team to share and reflect on each other’s results. Create an environment of safety within a group by remaining non-judgmental, asking thoughtful questions, and listening well. Work to clarify, find common ground, and support one another through the learning process.



Teri Antilley, PhD, is an Assistant Professor and the MSU
Extension 4-H Agriculture and Natural Resources Specialist.