How many times have you heard someone in your team say ” they are so outspoken” or “you never follow through on your plans”, or maybe even ” you never communicate, and your so quiet” to another member of your team?
It may be a warranted feedback, a pointed critique, or even just an off comment about a team member, and some are definitely deserved, as some team members can be difficult to work with or manage.
However, quite often it probably says more about that person’s misunderstanding of the team member that they are actually talking about.
We all have different personalities, differing styles of communication, and different outlooks on where we actually sit in the team, in life and in ourselves.
When a person is growing up and experiencing life, enjoying success, learning from life’s many failures, being influenced by the people around us, our family, schoolmates, teammates in a sporting team, and our workplace peers, we develop an individuality that molds our personalities into what it is today. Our genetics are another huge influence in the web of things that formulate our personalities, and this individuality is most often something that most people don’t have a great understanding of.
This is generally the main cause of conflict in teams.
Our ego often makes it easier to blame someone else for a situation, rather than looking at the bigger picture and hopefully identifying other causes.
Having a greater appreciation for your teammates’ personality style can improve the performance of teams dramatically.
How we make decisions, what influences us as individuals, our moral compass, and how we prefer to interact with others, are all factors that can be better understood, managed and sometimes even influenced with greater knowledge and appreciation of those members of our team.
The ability to identify all of our team members personality styles and how they like to work is possibly the fastest way to becoming a high performing team. We tend to do the things we like to do better, faster and with more passion, than those tasks we least like doing. This is generally where we place most of our focus, as we tend to do these things really well.
However, it’s those less preferred tasks and jobs that sometimes take a lower priority that, if better managed, can make all the difference to a teams performance.
Take the big personality in the team, the person with a high preference for extroversion. They are great at interacting with people, enjoy the social atmosphere of a team, are generally outspoken, and to some other team members, can appear to be erratic and disorganized.
However, the big personalities can be amazing at identifying opportunities, selling an idea or a product, and can be quite quick to move from one idea or conversation to another. They can do spreadsheets, deal with formulas, and record totals, however generally this is something that they least prefer to do in their day. It’s part of their job, however, it can be a real task for this person to get reports, spreadsheets etc in on time. It’s not their fault in general, as they are focusing on doing what the do well, that sometimes other things in their job suffer.
The same goes for the quiet personalities, those with a preference for introversion. You know the ones, they just prefer to do their job with no fuss, are quite detailed, will generally think about something in depth prior to sharing their findings, and are quite neat, tidy and ordered.
Every team needs team members with a preference for Introversion, as these are the team members that are thorough in thought, planning, and contingencies, they generally ensure the details are not overlooked.
Having a better understanding of our team members personalities can make a huge difference to our teams’ performance. If you really want to see your teammates personalities on the show, have them participate in a team building activity. It will soon be obvious who the big personalities are and who the quiet ones are!
We tend to trust more those that we understand better, our accountability is increased when we strengthen our relationships, and teams have more buy-in and a focus on achieving results when an open and honest line of communication is achieved amongst team members.
Improving team performance could be as simple as identifying and understanding the personalities in your team!