5 Tools for Greater Self-Knowledge

One of the most important things for all employees in the 21st century is to increase their level of self-knowledge, and this is especially true for anyone with either management or leadership ambitions. Below are 5 of the best overall tools to ratchet up your own level of self-knowledge about who you are and what makes you tick.


ESCI: Emotional and Social Competency Inventory. Emotional intelligence has been shown to be the missing link in explaining why some people perform so much better than others, and accounts for much more performance variance than either IQ or content knowledge. The instrument is made up of 18 competencies organized into four clusters: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management.

MBTI: Myers-Briggs type Indicator (specifically Form M, Self-Scorable, but any version will work). This one is a classic personality test, and many of you may have taken it. If you have, great! Go back to your results and re-familiarize yourself with them. Most people have heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI that has been used for decades to classify and explain different personality types. Millions of people have found it to be invaluable in helping them better understand themselves and others through it’s classification scheme consisting of 16 different 4-letter type combinations.

The PACE Palette. Released in 1991 by the PACE Organization, it offers an amazing level of insight through four different personality types identified by the colors red, yellow, blue and green. So it’s already a lot less complicated than the Myers-Briggs type indicator, but also very profound. Another thing I like about the PACE Palette is that it’s very focused on how the different types best communicate with each other.

LSI: The Kolb Learning Style Inventory. One of the things that can really be helpful in the workplace is understanding your preferred way of learning. According to Kolb, there are four modes of learning that make up the learning cycle, two of which relate to taking in experience, and two of which relate to dealing with experience. The two ways of taking in experience are by Concrete Experience that includes tendencies such as learning by or from specific experiences, relating to people and being sensitive to feelings, or Abstract Conceptualization that includes tendencies such as learning by thinking, logically analyzing ideas, planning systematically, acting on an intellectual understanding of a situation. The two ways of dealing with experience are Active Experimentation that includes tendencies such as learning by doing, showing ability to get things done, taking risks, and influencing people and events through action, or Reflective Observation that includes such tendencies as learning by reflecting, carefully observing before making judgments, viewing issues from different perspectives, and looking for the meaning of things. What the LSI instrument does is give you scores in each of these four dimensions to show your own tendencies relative to their ongoing sample of people taking the instrument.

SDI: Strength Deployment Inventory. This is the final self-assessment tool I want to tell you about. It’s an important one because the people in your life don’t come with instruction manuals, so this tool is about empowering you in your relationships to others. It helps you identify your personal strengths in relating to others both when things are going well and when you are faced with conflict. It suggests ways that one’s personal strengths might be used to better relate to others. Using the SDI shows which of the seven different Motivational Value Systems drive your behavior when things are going well. In light of your Motivational Value System, the tool then helps walk you through three distinct stages of conflict and how you can most successfully navigate them. It’s a complicated but really very powerful tool.

Be forewarned that taking each of the above assessments will cost you both time and money, but the value you get from them in terms of self-knowledge far outweighs the expenses involved.

March 9, 2015   Updated :March 12, 2015   self-knowledge, self-knowledge tools, talent management   

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