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Survey says: Columnist is right for her job

The results of online personality test provides columnist, others in the workplace with insights into their needs and predicted stress reactions when those needs go unmet.
by Paula Burkes Modified: April 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm •  Published: April 15, 2014

News flash: I’m working in a profession that complements my natural strengths, which is good news since I’ve been at this 33 years.

Based on the results of an online behavioral, or personality, test I recently took, literacy and social service are more than wants, but needs, for me.

According to The Birkman Method, I’m predominantly blue, followed by equal parts green and yellow, and a dab of red. That is to say, I’m more people-oriented than task-oriented, and feel most comfortable working in a blue environment that emphasizes planning, innovating and creating. I have a green, or planning, style, and am competitive, assertive, flexible and enthusiastic about new things, while my interests are more yellow, or task-oriented. I like to schedule things, deal with systems, and do detailed work with measured performance and results.

I’m open and frank, but can balance that with insight into others’ feelings. I have a natural friendliness toward others, but need time alone or with one or two others.

I feel most comfortable when people around me show me appreciation, are interested in feelings as well as logic, and give me time to make complex decisions. But when people don’t deal with me according to my needs, I can withdraw, become pessimistic or overly sensitive to criticism. I like to work from a plan, but I like it to be my plan or I may become frustrated.

My other shortcomings include underestimating the importance of group dynamics and the tendency to externalize difficulty, or overlooking my role in things. I’m deferential, though strong-minded, with authority figures. But people who have difficulty handling authority can make me impatient and uncomfortable.

When explaining my results, Donna Miller, an executive coach and principal of Executive Resource Center in Edmond, was quick to point out that there are no right or wrong answers. Rather, the test, she said, provides a foundation to team building. For supervisors and managers, the information is valuable when dealing with individual problems and conflict resolution, Miller said.

The executives and teams with whom she works use the Birkman to understand that being productive depends on having certain basic needs met, she said. “When I explain it, people will laugh and say ‘Now, I get it,’” she said.

Developed in the 1940s, the Birkman Method assessment consists of 10 scales describing interests, or occupational preferences. Test takers are instructed to assume they have the skills for all jobs and rate their interest among groups of four, such as a game warden, accountant, teacher or broadcaster. In addition, there are 11 scales describing usual or effective behaviors and 11 scales describing needs, or interpersonal and environmental expectations, while a corresponding set of values describes stress behaviors.

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by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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