Emily Marsh September 12 2018

4 things you should know about managing high Will personalities

By understanding the personalities of the individuals they lead, managers can support and coach them to be the best they can be. Here are four things managers should know about individuals who score high on the Will factor of the Facet5 personality assessment.

Nick has a managerial role in a large company. He is determined, independent, and can make tough decisions when needed. 

Nick’s Facet5 personality profile indicates his natural preference for all these things, as is signalled by his high score on the Will factor.

Will is one of the five factors measured by Facet5. The sub-factors of Will are determination (the drive to commit to own ideas and goals), confrontation (the drive to confront issues as they arise) and independence (the drive to act independently).

Ultimately, Will indicates decision-making. At one extreme, individuals will be very direct, determined and decisive about their own ideas - like Nick. The opposite extreme will mean people defer to each other to gather opinions and gain consensus.

But what does this mean for the attitudes and behaviours of high Will individuals in the workplace? What do managers need to know about these individuals to support them to be more effective in their roles?

They are goal-driven

People who score high on the Will factor are likely to have been sure of their career direction for a long time. They know what they want out of life, make decisions easily, and stick to them. This means they will have a good idea of what they want to achieve in their role and will have strong opinions about how to get there.

When it comes to their personal and professional development, managers need to let them have their say on what they want and find ways to best support them in achieving their goals. If people like Nick aren’t given the opportunity to shape their own future, they can become frustrated.

They make good leaders

High Will individuals are determined and focused in their decisions. They are good at goal-setting and shaping the direction of teams. And these are all traits often associated with successful leaders

However, their decisiveness can mean high Will individuals come across as domineering, stubborn and rigid in their views. Especially if they also score low on Affection, and are therefore lacking in sympathy and understanding of others’ needs. There may be times when they need to bend and adapt to alternate ideas, and it’s the managers’ role to help shine a light on how others may perceive them so they can adjust their behaviour when necessary to engender greater trust and respect from their team.

They may be defensive of criticism

People who score high on the Will factor have an excellent ability to develop, propose and defend a point of view. However, they may become defensive and argue their case strongly if challenged, digging their heels in as a defence.

For Nick, this is great news considering his job as a lawyer. However, when receiving negative feedback, he may struggle to see others' viewpoint and challenge, defend and argue against it. It's essential for managers to understand that someone with high Will might react this way, and to help them to understand and accept feedback.

They are independent-minded

High Will individuals prefer to sort out problems by themselves rather than consult with others. They are happy to explain their wishes and to persuade them, but in the end they are prepared to go it alone. While this shows confidence, it doesn't paint them as much of a team player. And there is a risk that they may alienate themselves if they choose to go full steam ahead on an idea that doesn’t have the support or backing of others in the company.

Managers need to understand that high Will people are comfortable working alone and won’t need much hand-holding. But that they may need coaching in how to share their ideas and work more cohesively in a team. After all, business success comes down to how well your people work together effectively as a team, not the sole efforts of one person going it alone.

An individual's personality comes with them wherever they go. And in the workplace, it affects how they approach their work, how they learn, and how they interact with others. By understanding the personalities of the individuals they lead, managers can support and coach them to be the best they can be.

Beyond the Personality Test

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