Learnership Management System

Personality theories and models – introduction

Behavioural and personality models are widely used in organisations, especially in psychometrics and psychometric testing (personality assessments and tests). Behavioural and personality models have also been used by philosophers, leaders and managers for hundreds and in some cases thousands of years as an aid to understanding, explaining, and managing communications and relationships.

Used appropriately, psychometrics and personality tests can be hugely beneficial in improving knowledge of self and other people – motivations, strengths, weaknesses, preferred thinking and working styles, and also strengths and preferred styles for communications, learning, management, being managed, and team-working.

Understanding personality – of your self and others – is central to motivation. Different people have different strengths and needs. You do too.

The more you understand about personality, the better able you are to judge what motivates people – and yourself.

The more you understand about your own personality and that of other people, the better able you are to realise how others perceive you, and how they react to your own personality and style.

Knowing how to adapt the way you work with others, how you communicate, provide information and learning, how you identify and agree tasks, are the main factors enabling successfully managing and motivating others – and yourself.

Importantly you do not necessarily need to use a psychometrics instrument in order to understand the theory and the basic model which underpins it. Obviously using good psychometrics instruments can be extremely useful and beneficial, (and enjoyable too if properly positioned and administered), but the long-standing benefit from working with these models is actually in understanding the logic and theory which underpin the behavioural models or personality testing systems concerned. Each theory helps you to understand more about yourself and others.

In terms of ‘motivating others’ you cannot sustainably ‘impose’ motivation on another person. You can inspire them perhaps, which lasts as long as you can sustain the inspiration, but sustainable motivation must come from within the person. A good manager and leader will enable and provide the situation, environment and opportunities necessary for people to be motivated – in pursuit of goals and development and achievements that are truly meaningful to the individual. Which implies that you need to discover, and at times help the other person to discover, what truly motivates them – especially their strengths, passions, and personal aims – for some the pursuit of personal destiny – to achieve their own unique potential. Being able to explain personality, and to guide people towards resources that will help them understand more about themselves, is all part of the process. Help others to help you understand what they need – for work and for whole life development, and you will have an important key to motivating, helping and working with people.

Each of the different theories and models of personality and human motivation is a different perspective on the hugely complex area of personality, motivation and behaviour. It follows that for any complex subject, the more perspectives you have, then the better your overall understanding will be. Each summary featured below is just that – a summary: a starting point from which you can pursue the detail and workings of any of these models that you find particularly interesting and relevant. Explore the many other models and theories not featured on this site too – the examples below are a just small sample of the wide range of models and systems that have been developed.

Some personality testing resources, including assessment instruments, are available free on the internet or at relatively low cost from appropriate providers, and they are wonderful tools for self-awareness, personal development, working with people and for helping to develop better working relationships. Some instruments however are rather more expensive, given that the developers and psychometrics organisations need to recover their development costs. For this reason, scientifically validated personality testing instruments are rarely free. The free tests which are scientifically validated tend to be ‘lite’ introductory instruments which give a broad indication rather than a detailed analysis.