Personality types play a significant role in influencing team cohesion, performance, and job satisfaction. Learn about the importance of personality assessment tests, cultivating a positive and balanced work environment, and achieving unprecedented team synergy.
The significance of recognizing personality patterns in achieving organizational success cannot be overstated. While conventional wisdom typically points to team-building exercises as a means for productive collaboration, few consider personality patterns and types.
In this article, we will explore how personality patterns influence team dynamics and how you can leverage the strengths of different personality types and address the weaknesses, contributing to a more cohesive and productive team.
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The Science Behind Personality Patterns
Psychologists and even philosophers have been trying to categorize people based on their personality traits for centuries. One of the earliest theories on personality types was created in ancient Greece and stated that personality is determined by four “humors,” or bodily fluids. Well, you have probably already guessed that these personality types are —sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic.
As our knowledge of psychology and human behavior has grown, the early theories based on humor have been surpassed by more nuanced approaches backed up with scientific evidence.
More than 80% of Fortune 500 companies use some form of a personality assessment test, according to Psychology Today. This is unsurprising, as personality diversity in teams can minimize conflicts, improve productivity, and encourage innovativeness. Remember, only valid and reliable personality assessment tests can accurately identify personality patterns and types.
Association Between Personality Patterns and Team Performance
By considering a team’s diverse range of personalities, we can gain valuable insights that will enable us to anticipate how they might work together in different scenarios. Thankfully, the research on how personality patterns affect team performance is vast.
Let’s take the Big Five model as an example.
The Big Five theory states that individuals’ personalities are complex combinations of five core traits — Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Each trait is seen as a spectrum, with individuals falling somewhere along this spectrum from one extreme to the other.
So, what do studies say about these five personality traits and teams?
According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, teams with higher levels of agreeableness and conscientiousness are likely to have greater success than those lacking these traits because of higher task cohesion.
At the same time, extremely high scores on the aforementioned personality traits can undermine effective team collaboration, as the study published in the International Journal of Psychology shows.
Team members with high openness to experience are more likely to approach problem-solving creatively and develop innovative ideas, according to the Journal of Innovation & Knowledge.
These are just a few examples of how different personality patterns contribute to team performance.
Still, it doesn’t mean you’ll always have to put people with similar personalities on one team. Different tasks, organizational contexts, and business goals may require people with specific personality traits.
The Importance of Balancing Personality Patterns in Teams
A balanced team mix of personalities ensures successful collaboration and optimal performance. By bringing together individuals with diverse personality patterns, teams can foster an environment that facilitates greater creativity, productivity, and effectiveness as each member brings unique skills to the table. Some might be extroverted and outgoing, while others are introverted and reflective. Some might be analytical and detail-oriented, while others are big-picture thinkers.
Balancing these personality patterns can help teams reach their full potential.
Let’s assume you have a team of all members with leader-type personalities. This will sooner or later contribute to conflict and, subsequently, result in poor team cohesion and job satisfaction, as was found by Lykorezntzou and colleagues. So, ensuring that different personality types complement each other is essential for achieving positive team dynamics and creating a positive work environment.
Real-World Case Study
Let’s look at one interesting real-world example underlying the importance of balancing personality patterns in teams.
A case study published in the Journal of Management Development describes how two information systems (IS) development teams in Southeastern USA exhibited remarkable productivity contrasts in a medium-sized software company. While working on comparable projects, Team 1 took two years to create a system moderately rated by users. Team 2 completed a similar task in half the time and got better user ratings.
Team 2’s superior productivity and quality resulted from a balanced mix of personality types.
This case study shows that differences in personality patterns can influence team performance in significant and impactful ways. Diversity and balance in personality patterns within a team are essential to foster innovation, collaboration, and efficiency.
Using Personality Patterns in Team Building Exercises
Incorporating the understanding of personality patterns into team-building exercises can lead to more meaningful experiences and help team members understand each other strengths and weaknesses. Mixing up personalities during team-building activities can be advantageous for stimulating varied perspectives.
In contrast, grouping individuals with similar personality types could foster a greater understanding. Moreover, it is essential to create exercises that accommodate different types of personalities to guarantee everyone’s engagement and involvement.
An article in the Journal of Management Education suggests the following effective team-building exercise.
Team members reveal their personality types and the results of their assessments, allowing them to compare themselves and recognize one another’s perspectives more effectively. They can better understand how each person operates by exploring similarities and differences. Plus, they discuss conflicts that may arise due to differences in their personalities and how to address and prevent them.
This exercise can be beneficial for fostering collaboration, improving understanding of how to communicate with different personality types, and reducing the risks of potential conflicts.
Understanding personality patterns is essential for setting up an effective team and attaining organizational success. With the help of personality assessment tests like MBTI, Big Five, or DiSC, teams can recognize each person’s unique features more accurately, foresee how they will work in combination with others, and develop a plan according to that.
Regarding upcoming trends in creating teams based on personalities, we should expect cutting-edge assessment tools relying on data analysis and ever-improving human psychology knowledge, allowing us to predict and modify diverse group dynamics better than before.
As the business world continues to become ever more complex and dynamic, it is critical to recognize the potential of utilizing personality patterns in team building. This strategic asset can be a significant advantage for organizations facing future challenges.