Emily Marsh

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Personality and team dynamics: the power of data

August 15, 2018

You’ve gathered the brightest people, all of whom are experts in their field and committed to your organisation. But it’s been weeks, months even, and you’re not seeing them deliver in the way you expected.

So what’s the problem?

The team dynamics.

The combination of personalities within a team directly impacts the team dynamics. The natural tendencies of each individual influences how the team works together, how they deal with stress and conflict, and how they make decisions.

Now, imagine you could put a team together and predict how they are likely to work together, deal with conflict, and make decisions. And that you could use these learnings to maximise the performance of the team?

Well, with the right data and insights, you can.

Personality profiling can provide organisations with these insights. Once all members of a team have been profiled, it becomes possible to pool their data and consider the behavioural patterns that emerge.

If we take a look at each of the Facet5 factors of personality, they can tell us more about group processes.

Will

Will indicates decision making. At one extreme, individuals will be very direct, determined and decisive about their own ideas. At the opposite extreme, they will defer to each other to gather opinions and gain consensus. You could argue that a team full of high will individuals and a team full of low will individuals would never get anything done. If everyone has strong, opposing views, a butting of heads might make it impossible to ever reach a decision. Likewise, a team where no one is prepared to bite the bullet and make a final decision will also remain stuck at the starting gate.

Energy

Energy may represent the sociability of the team. A skew in the direction of high energy individuals will mean that a group genuinely likes to spend time working together. But what does this mean for the few members of the team who are less outgoing, who prefer to work alone? And a skew in the opposite direction means the few high energy individuals in the team risk having to suppress their true selves when working alongside others who are quieter and more reserved.

Affection

Affection suggests how immediately trusting people may be of each other and how open they are to others’ input and ideas. A group that score low on affection may struggle to support each other when necessary and miss opportunities to hear good ideas by focusing only on what is pragmatic. A group that score high on affection may be very caring and considerate of each other, but this can have it’s downsides too. Will they be able to give constructive feedback or make tough people decisions when they need to?

Control

High control means discipline, rigour and responsibility. In large teams, this could mean that rules and processes are followed to the letter, which is useful in some contexts, but less so in others. This presents a challenge for those in the group with a more flexible, open-ended approach to working. Equally, in a group heavily skewed towards low control, those with high control may find it difficult to work alongside those with a more free-thinking approach.

Emotionality

The overall levels of emotionality in the group will indicate how much vibrancy and alertness there might be. It will also indicate how much tension and apprehension the group experiences as a whole, and what impact this is likely to have. Groups of low emotionality individuals may be too aloof and unmoved to recognise any stress or anxiety in others, and therefore unable to recognise when teammates may need more support and encouragement. On the other hand, low emotionality individuals who always appear blasé about tasks may grate on high emotionality people, who at the other end of the spectrum, find it hard to hold their enthusiasm in check.

Bringing it all together

One of the great benefits of the Facet5 personality profiling assessment is that a number of reports can be created off the back of one questionnaire. TeamScape is one of them, and it looks at the team profile of all the above factors. Bringing together the personality assessments of everyone in the team allows us to predict how they will work together. By shining a light on this, we can identify how to help them work better together.

Ultimately, the stronger the team dynamics, the more engaged and productive the team is, and the more equipped they are to deliver against business objectives. This is where data and insights about the personalities that make up the team can prove invaluable.

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