How to really understand and talk about the differences in the Self-Concept


In another blog post, you can read about how you can use the self-concept pattern in the PI Behavioral Assessment to make sure your employees feel that they can be themselves at work and increase their well-being, motivation, and long-term commitment. This as the Self-Concept measures how individuals perceive the need to adapt to their current environment. To ensure that our employees have the opportunity to truly be themselves, we need to discuss how they currently try to adapt and why they feel the need to do so.

From the last blog post, we learned that there are three steps for having that conversation with your employees:

1.    Discuss: How does the Self differ from the Self-Concept, and what does it mean?

2.    Ask: Why does the individual feel the need to adapt their behavior?

3.    Discuss: What would happen if the employee acted more in line with their natural drives, needs, and behaviors?

One important thing to remember is that the self-concept is a snapshot of the current situation, and you should never analyse a self-concept pattern that is older than 6 months. Even if it's newer than that, be cautious when working with it, as what the person is feeling is expected of them can change quickly. 

With that said, in this blog post we want to give you some more practical tips for how to really understand and talk about the differences in the Self-Concept pattern.

Use the table below to analyse the differences, and prepare what to say during the conversation:


If LOWER in Self-Concept

“You perceive a need to be...” “You are trying to be...” “You feel a need to be...”

If HIGHER in Self-Concept

“You perceive a need to be...” “You are trying to be...” “You feel a need to be...”

Factor A Dominance

    • Less independent and individualistic
    • More agreeable and cooperative
    • Less dominant and assertive
    • More cautious
    • Less venturesome
    • More of a team player
    • More independent
    • More of a self-starter
    • More risk-tolerant
    • More assertive
    • More conceptual in thinking
    • Less focused on the needs of others
    • Less cautious

Factor B Extraversion

    • More concerned with technical aspects of the job
    • More factual in expression
    • More reserved and introspective
    • More thoughtful and analytical
    • Less talkative
    • Less outgoing
    • More outgoing
    • More persuasive
    • More inclusive with others
    • More stimulating
    • More open in communication
    • Less reserved
    • Less introspective

Factor C Patience

    • More intense, driving
    • More urgent
    • More fast-paced for self and others
    • More involved with variety
    • More adaptive to change
    • Faster when producing results
    • More demanding on self and others
    • Faster than preferred or comfortable
    • More patient
    • More accepting of repetitive work
    • More methodical
    • More tolerant of others taking the initiative
    • More patient with the pace of group activities
    • Less intense
    • More steady and relaxed

Factor D Formality

    • More flexible
    • Less formal in dealing with work and other people
    • More venturesome
    • More risk-tolerant
    • Less reliant on rules and structure
    • More comfortable with fewer guidelines
    • More thorough
    • More detailed and stronger in follow-up
    • More accepting of rules and structure
    • More cautious in decision-making
    • Less tolerant of mistakes
    • More attentive to accuracy and detail


The self-concept is a great tool, and when used correctly, can increase your employee retention, and ensure that your employees can be themself at work.

Reach out to us at if you have any questions or want to discuss this further!