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<xTITLE>Because Mediators Deserve a Personality Test Too</xTITLE>

Because Mediators Deserve a Personality Test Too

by Clare Fowler
October 2020 Clare Fowler

This is a personality test, just for those in the dispute resolution field. Because mediators deserve a personality test too. 

Nowadays you can have a test to determine what type of doctor you should be, what field of science you should study, what type of house you should live in. Heck, there is even a test to determine what type of a potato you are. 

And yet, in the mediation field, we have taken the opposite approach. We have been limiting our skills to the word mediation. 

The truth though, is that every field out there needs our skills. Organizations, hospitals, universities, courts, non-profits, government, and social services, all have a demand for communication skills. 

So, not wanting to feel left out, I looked at existing personality tests that suggested a career and filtered for the dispute resolution-related fields.

I focused on John Holland's work simply because his approach has been used for so long that there is decades of data. Psychologist John Holland developed six codes for categorizing personalities and then looked at who was happiest in their career, determining that people were more satisfied in life if their personality supported their career. For the last 50 years, the U.S. Department of Labor has been using his codes to examine if people's satisfaction in their careers can be determined by their personalities. For example, people who score higher in the art category will likely be happiest if they do something with the arts. 

Here it is! The dispute resolution, 0% certified, no money-back guarantee, personality career predictor test:

1) At the end of a long day, what do you primarily do to recharge?

  • Realistic: you feel grounded by connecting to something physical. Going for a run, kneading dough, reading a paper book, gardening.
  • Investigative: you enjoy finding out something new, the hunting and researching, figuring out a puzzle, watching a mystery.
  • Artistic: you are recharged by making something new. Painting, writing an article, making a cake, building a shed. 
  • Social: you feel satisfied at the end of the day knowing that someone's life is better because you were in it.
  • Enterprising: you feel recharged by helping others to understand something, persuading them, taking up a charge, inspiring them to be better.
  • Conventional: you relax by organizing things, sorting them, making a list for the next day, maybe a crossword puzzle.

 Write this down as code 1.  

2) To find Code 2, examine the list again, and think about what are you skilled at. Whether or not this is how you prefer spending your time, you know that you are talented in this area. 

  • Realistic: you feel grounded by connecting to something physical. Going for a run, kneading dough, reading a paper book, gardening.
  • Investigative: you enjoy finding out something new, the hunting and researching, figuring out a puzzle, watching a mystery.
  • Artistic: you are recharged by making something new. Painting, writing an article, making a cake, building a shed. 
  • Social: you feel satisfied at the end of the day knowing that someone's life is better because you were in it.
  • Enterprising: you feel recharged by helping others to understand something, persuading them, taking up a charge, inspiring them to be better.
  • Conventional: you relax by organizing things, sorting them, making a list for the next day, maybe a crossword puzzle.

 

3) The 3rd Code is your back-up plan. When things get hard you know that you can rely on this skill to pull you through, but it's really not what you enjoy. 

  • Realistic: you feel grounded by connecting to something physical. Going for a run, kneading dough, reading a paper book, gardening.
  • Investigative: you enjoy finding out something new, the hunting and researching, figuring out a puzzle, watching a mystery.
  • Artistic: you are recharged by making something new. Painting, writing an article, making a cake, building a shed. 
  • Social: you feel satisfied at the end of the day knowing that someone's life is better because you were in it.
  • Enterprising: you feel recharged by helping others to understand something, persuading them, taking up a charge, inspiring them to be better.
  • Conventional: you relax by organizing things, sorting them, making a list for the next day, maybe a crossword puzzle.

 

So you should now have 3 codes that look, for instance, like this: 

  1. Realistic
  2. Social
  3. Investigative

According to Holland, many people get a job based on Code 3. They know they are skilled in this area, but it is not something they enjoy. He found that people rarely feel satisfied or excel in their career because it is not their passion. Instead, he said focus on a career that uses your Code 1 skills.

Code 1 = Your Purpose. This is what nature, nurture, destiny, deity, or your DNA has prepared you for. Finding a job in this field will keep you fulfilled, and this is where you are more likely to excel. 

Code 2 = Your Strategy. This should be something that you learn to work into your career as an extra skill when things get hard. This will help you to push through in difficult times, but won't necessarily keep you energized. 

Code 3 = Your Tool. This is your back-up plan when you are not sure what else to do. When things are tough and people are desperate for help, you can jump in, but make sure you do not get a career in this field or you will be dreading Monday-Friday, 8-5. 

 

As a side note, these 3 skills can fit nicely into our toolbox as dispute resolution professionals. Whatever job we end up getting, we can be the most effective when we begin by using our skill from Code 1, supplement with a Code 2 skill when necessary, and bring out Code 3 when your clients are at a dead impasse. 

 

But What Job Should I Get?

The simplified, dispute resolution filtered version of your Holland Code is listed below. More detailed results are available at this Occupational Network

According to John Holland, your most fulfilling job based on your Code 1 is below:

Your codes 2 and 3 should be brought in as side-jobs, volunteering, or ways that you help your family or the community.

Realistic – Doer, practical, physical, hands-on, tool-oriented:

Job: Consultant, Arbitrator, Judge, Judicial Expert
Skills: Determined, Frank
Most effective at these conflicts: Process conflicts, factual

Investigative – Thinker, analytical, intellectual, scientific, explorative:

Job: Ombuds, Investigator, Union Rep, systems analyst, cross-cultural
Skills: Intellectual, Scholarly
Most effective at these conflicts: Systemic, External

Artistic – Creator, creative, original, independent, chaotic:

Job: Friend of the Business, Mediator, Create handbooks, conduct seminars, Inspirational Speaker
Skills: Original, Independent, Expressive
Most effective at these conflicts: Interpersonal and Opinion/Subject

Social – Helper, cooperative, supporting, helping, healing/nurturing:

Job: Therapist, Coach, Employee Relations, Social Worker, Teaching sessions, Counselor
Skills: Helpful, Informative, Intuitive, Excellent at Interacting with people in multiple situations
Most effective at these conflicts: Relational and interpersonal, family, elder

Enterprising – Persuader, competitive environments, leadership, persuading:

Job: Systems Design, Start a business, Trainer, Public Policy, Lobbyist, Speech, Lawyer
Skills: Adventurous, Sociable, Persuasive, Energetic, Ambitious
Most effective at these conflicts: Bullying/Power

Conventional - detail-oriented, organizing, clerical:

Job: Grievances, HR, Expert, Conflict Examiner, Firm Manager
Skills: Conscientious, Structured, Detail-Oriented
Most effective at these conflicts: Task/Process disputes

What does this mean? You can use these ideas to incorporate your amazing skills into your current job. Or for those of you who want to spread the mediation dream into every field, here are some ideas that might tie-into your natural personality.

Whatever way you choose to spread peace, thank you for what you do. And hopefully this was more fun than determining what type of a potato you are (yam, by the way).

 

Biography


Clare Fowler is Executive Vice-President and Managing Editor at Mediate.com.  Clare received her Master's of Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership, focused on reducing workplace conflicts, from Pepperdine University School of Education. Clare also coordinated the career development program for The Straus Institute dispute resolution students. In addition to her editorial duties at Mediate.com, Clare coordinates online case management for ADR programs, agencies and courts.



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