I worked with a leadership team this week to help them understand their team personality. I’ve seen many teams do this as a fun team building exercise. It can be fun but make no mistake, understanding your team’s personality is a key to your success as a group. Let me illustrate this with a question. How does your team deal with conflict? Most leaders tell me it’s fine, we don’t have any conflict. That is a problem. How can any group of people not have any conflict? The conflict is there, it festers in the shadows.
Team Personality Impact
Conflict is one thing and there are many other activities where your team personality shapes your team’s behavior. Interestingly, a couple of teams I’ve coached tended to ignore recognition. Their team personality was one that didn’t need public recognition. The satisfaction of doing a good job was enough for them. In fact, this was a source of pride. The trouble is the rest of their company or organization might be very different. If they value recognition, this team’s absence of providing any would be a demotivator. That’s a problem given the importance of high employee satisfaction and engagement.
How to Understand Your Team Personality?
You may not be convinced of the value of knowing your team personality, but I hope I’ve perked your interest. So how do you understand your team personality? Firstly, don’t take this actively lightly. Invest in a high quality, scientifically validated personality assessment. I use the Hogan Personality assessment. Hogan identifies your team norms, behaviors under stress and cultural values.
Secondly, work with someone who has experience working with teams. A collection of personalities is different than working with those of an individual. Ideally, you want someone who can help the team challenge their group think by seeing their blind spots. Once a team starts to recognize what they don’t see, it opens up a whole new world of insights and possibilities.
One last thing. Just because you don’t know your team’s personality, it doesn’t mean you don’t have one. I can assure you it is alive and well. How is it helping or hindering you?