Emily Marsh

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How understanding different personality types improves team dynamics

May 11, 2018

As humans, we are social beings. It’s natural for us to care for and cooperate with one another. And most of our happiness is founded in the context of our relationships with others.

But put a group of people together in the workplace, and you can’t guarantee you’ll get them working together in the way you’d like. You may have a team full of the most talented people but still fail to see them performing as a cohesive unit.

Too often, organisations focus only on the functional aspect of a team. But creating high-performing teams isn’t just about having people with the right skills and the technical ability to fulfil the necessary functions.

It’s also about creating healthy team dynamics so that everyone can work together cohesively. And the team dynamics will depend on the individual differences and personalities of everyone in the team. 

The impact of personality

Our personality defines us and how we interact with the world. And it comes with us wherever we go. In a work environment, it affects how we approach tasks, make decisions and manage stress. It influences how we interact, communicate and collaborate with others.

Teams need a balance of personalities to be successful. A team full of highly analytical individuals with no one who thrives on action will never get things done. And a team of quick start people with no one interested in paying attention to the detail might not always choose the best course of action or might butt heads over what action to take. In an ideal scenario, a team would have a mix of both personality styles - someone to drive action and someone to keep the team on the right course.

That said, too much dissimilarity in a team can be problematic. Those who like to consider all the details before taking action and those who thrive on being quick start are always going to be at odds. They may be frustrated or puzzled by each others’ behaviour, and this can cause conflict. But in reality, if these types of individuals understand each other better, they can complement each other in a team environment.

So how can we ensure that people with such contrasting personalities work together effectively?

Building self-awareness

Self-aware teams are synonymous with a more functional and cohesive team atmosphere. Each individual in the team needs to understand their own personality and behavioural styles and how this might impact others. They then need to understand the personalities of those they work with.

Once all team members recognise the different personalities that exist in the group, it makes it easier to understand how people will behave. Conflict can be more easily avoided, as people will be better prepared for someone else’s approach to a task, or how they might react to a certain comment. It paves the way for better communication between team members, and this can be particularly useful for helping dysfunctional teams work through some of their differences.

Understanding the individual preferences of everyone in the team also makes delegating tasks easier, which improves both engagement and productivity. For example, if someone is more comfortable with public speaking they may be better placed to deliver a presentation compared to someone who prefers to avoid these scenarios.And if someone is more analytical by nature, it may be a better fit to task them with data analysis versus a member of the team who tends to focus on the big picture.

Personality profiling

For these reasons, many organisations choose to use personality profiling to help individuals become more aware of their own and others' natural preferences and behavioural styles.

People aren’t always aware of why they think, behave and interact in the way they do. Personality profiling helps build this self-awareness and creates an open dialogue for teams to talk about personality differences within the team.

Working with a team of people can be exciting. But it can also be challenging. Once individuals in a team have a greater understanding and awareness of their own and others’ personalities and behavioural styles - and how they differ - it can improve the team dynamics, so they can work together more cohesively.

These teams are more engaged, work harder, experience less stress and conflict, and feel more satisfied in their roles. And this is crucial for organisations wanting to maintain a competitive edge in today’s increasingly demanding marketplace.

Topics: Featured personality profiling team development

   

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