NOTE: Farm Bureau is in the fight against farm stress and the too-long-overlooked challenges to farmers’ mental health. We’re sharing resources with every available audience because you never know when you’ll have an opportunity to help someone through a tough spot.
By Jeremy C. Nagel
The recent spate of county Farm Bureau goal-setting sessions has seen liberal application of DiSC, a popular and widely accepted personality assessment tool. It’s not the only game in town, but DiSC has earned a spot as one of the more commonly used personality assessments in all kinds of workplaces and industries nationwide.
DiSC is an acronym (of course) for its four main personality indicators: Dominance, influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. (Do not ask me why the ‘i’ is lowercase. We all have our quirks.)
When us home office staffers did our own DiSC profiles several years ago, it told me I was a pure ‘C,’ meaning I “tend to place the emphasis on quality, accuracy, expertise, and competency.”
Fair enough. But again, there are gobs of other personality evaluations out there, in every shade from ridiculous to serious. (Buzzfeed’s What kind of sea creature are you? quiz told me I’m an octopus, and I’m 100% okay with that but it doesn’t provide much practical guidance for everyday life.)
In addition to DiSC, a few years ago some MFB staff did an assessment to identify and learn about our natural learning style: visual, auditory (verbal) or kinesthetic (learn by doing). Those aren’t personality types, but they definitely helped us better understand each other’s communication preferences: who to call on the phone instead of email, who drifts away in meetings, etc.
Another popular choice is Myers-Briggs, an assessment that files everyone into one of 16 personality types, each with mountains of interesting analyses and a handy, succinct nickname for lazy people like me who prefer to sum ourselves up in one word.
In my case that word is counselor — except when it’s advocate or teacher. The fact that that label varies from one website to the next indicates to me a certain shakiness, and as it turns out, Myers-Briggs — slick and authoritative as it looks — has plenty of critics.
Even I have a couple beefs with it:
But I’m not here to cast doubt on anyone’s theories or kick sand in the face of your zodiac sign.
You didn’t ask, but MY theory is any moderately sane person taking enough personality assessments will quickly realize we’re all pretty much the same in our hot-messiness — and that our differences are minor compared to our similarities.
So I say take as many as you can stomach. They’re all tasty food for thought: some of it balanced and nutritious, some of it junk food — yummy, delicious junk food.
Some will be silly and make you wish you could get that time back, but we all need silly. Others will be thought-provoking and eventually one will just kinda click. Some component of your identity will come into sharper focus and you’ll smirk and you’ll fold up those results and tuck them neatly into a pocket because something about it rang true and struck you as maybe worth holding on to for a while…
Jeremy C. Nagel is part of MFB’s Farm Stress & Mental Health Team. He’s an INFJ , an octopus, a monkey , and a Capricorn , which is a sea goat .