Are low trait scores “bad”?


The Octogram test is identifying the types of work you like to do. It’s easier to learn things you are interested in. It is easier to be motivated when you are doing things you like to do. You are more engaged and happier when you are doing things you like to do. But the test isn’t measuring whether or not you are good at something.

It is entirely possible to be an expert at something that you think is boring or stressful.

So a low trait score in the Octogram is a red flag only in the sense that you would rather not do work that concentrates on that trait, it’s not a judgement on your ability, just your preference.

There are other instruments that are better suited for measuring ABILITY; tests for relevant intelligence, tests for skills, certifications, educational background, etc. I get this question about once a month on the support email address, and it’s usually in the form of a panicked person saying, “I can’t show this to my boss! It says I’m terrible at my job!”

“Well, no, it doesn’t say that,” I patiently explain, “it says you don’t like your job or some aspects of it, it doesn’t say anything at all about how good you are at it.” And sometimes, those mismatches aren’t even the most important aspect of your job. You need to ask yourself, and your manager, if the value you add in areas you are interested in and passionate about would be increased if you could drop or minimize your work in areas that suck all of your energy away.

On both high scores and low scores in the Octogram, what you need to do is try to get your job into alignment with your work style. Doing this means more energy and engagement for you and more productivity for your employer, that’s a win-win scenario in anybody’s book.

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