Top 5 Ways Personality Assessments Help Solve The Teamwork Puzzle

Written by on February 3, 2014

When organizations create teams, they typically select members based on skills and experience. There is another dimension, though, that significantly affects performance, productivity, and teamwork: personality.

How can an understanding of different personalities help leaders build more effective teams?

Tools, such as the Myers-Briggs and DiSC, benefit the team by providing:

  • A Boost of Confidence

    When people do something well, whether it is generating ideas or project planning, they tend to take it for granted, assuming everyone has this skill. They are not always aware of the strengths they bring in team situations. When they understand that not everyone has these same strengths, almost inevitably, their confidence is bolstered, and they feel inspired to contribute even more to the team.

  • Understanding & Appreciation of Differences

    Through personality assessments individuals gain clarity on what makes them unique. They also gain clarity on why their colleagues act and think the way they do. This understanding leads to appreciation of the different strengths that  team mates bring, for example, those who are logical and analytical, those who put people first, those who are detail-oriented, and those who are big picture thinkers.

    Every style has its characteristic strengths and limitations.   When teams understand this, and learn more about one another, they become less judgmental and more likely to see the positive contributions each member can make.  They realize that one size doesn’t fit all and that the best outcomes will be achieved when they pool their strengths collaboratively to meet the needs of the situation

  • Maximized Performance

    People bring their A games when they are able to use their strengths, when they operate with their strongest style. If leaders can create a context in which their team members can do this to the greatest degree possible, performance improves.

  • Minimized Friction

    Tension exists within every group of people. Personality differences are one source of these tensions.  When people have a framework for understanding human personalities and behaviour, they are less likely to take it personally when someone acts in a way that is different from their own.

    For example, there is a natural tension between people with the Thinking and Feeling preferences on the MBTI.  Thinkers are very logical and detached and make decisions primarily based on rational considerations.  They can be considered hard hearted and unfeeling by people with the Feeling preference who are people oriented and empathic and concerned about the human factor.  With the awareness that comes from personality assessment, these individuals are more able to see the strengths of the other side and realize that the best solutions will result when both approaches are taken equally into account.

  • A Framework For Matching Skills to the Requirements of the Team’s Task

    Personality assessment provides leaders and teams with a common language, a way to look beneath the surface and see how their colleagues approach the world.  It also provides a framework for evaluating whether the skills of the team are a match to the requirements of the work.  For example, if all of the members of the team are big picture thinkers, this can pose a problem as the project moves from the initial strategic phase to detailed planning and project management.  This awareness can provide the impetus to recruit new members with the required strengths to the team, or to motivate existing members to become increasingly agile, developing their skills on the other side.

Understanding one’s own personality can enhance performance on an individual basis. When we apply that to the team, the benefits are exponential. Each person’s strengths are magnified and opportunities for utilizing them expanded. Team coaching offers tools and methodologies such as these to help leaders understand the different personality styles of members which facilitates their transition from a “group” to a high performing team.