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

In a nutshell, tools, such as the Myers-Briggs 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. When they become aware of their strengths through personality assessment, almost inevitably, their confidence is bolstered, and they feel inspired to contribute even more to the team.
  • Maximized Performance – People bring their A games when they are able to use their strengths and 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.
  •  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, 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.
  • Minimized Friction – Personality differences can be a source of tension within the group. When people have a common language and a framework for understanding these differences, 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 make decisions based on rational considerations. They can be seen as unfeeling by those with the Feeling preference who are very empathic and concerned about the impact on people. With awareness, both groups are more likely to see the strengths of the other side and realize that the best solutions will result when both approaches are taken into account.
  • A Framework for Matching Skills to the Requirements of the Task – Finally, personality assessment 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 more agile, developing their skills on the other side.

So there you have it, all the reasons why you might want consider implementing personality assessment in your organization or team. If you do you’ll be in good company with leading edge organizations the world over, who have long recognized the power of these tools for increased individual and team effectiveness.L

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