Most of us will, at some point in our working lives, have experienced a personality clash in a team. It’s an inevitable part of life when you bring together groups of people from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences.
It might be as simple as one team member being more introverted while others appear extroverted. Another might be structured and methodical and be constantly irritated by the more spontaneous and less structured members of the team. Conflicts often arise when we don’t take time to understand the personalities around us and their behavioural preferences.
We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Truly great managers and leaders identify and optimise the unique strengths of individual members. Decoding personalities and understanding how to maximise the opportunities that lie behind how each individual is wired is critical to building high-performing teams.
“If only we all knew! By understanding the personalities, we are able to give words of encouragement to others that are sincere and authentic. We can get to know others, love them in the way they need to be loved, and help bring out their very best, at home, or at work.” ― Rose Sweet, Personality Plus at Work: How to Work Successfully with Anyone
Keeping the momentum going and achieving results where individuals are moving from talking to getting work done, is deeply conditional on the leadership being given. Decoding personalities is of utmost importance to building high performing teams that are, most importantly, engaged and all on the same page.
We caught up with Hong Kong-based Templar consultant David Morgan to break down the complexities of working with personalities in teams and to understand how we can ensure our teams are working better together.
David’s investment banking career spans 22 years specialising in institutional equity research sales, equity research product management and institutional account management. He has worked at a number of leading international and Asian banks, including Baring Securities, Merrill Lynch and Nomura International.
HOW DO PERSONALITIES AFFECT TEAM DYNAMICS?
Introverts, extroverts, task- and people-orientated characters all bring different qualities to a team. A properly balanced team leverages the strengths and skill sets of all. Having said that, a team with too many extroverts can suffer from too many overpowering views, drowning out the more introverted, whilst a team with too many introverts can lack dynamism, energy and drive, sometimes leading to lack of action.
Personality differences can have a huge impact on team dynamics, especially in the way that we communicate and manage conflict. Effective communicators recognise how different personalities like to deliver and receive information differently, and they adapt their styles accordingly.
Some will want your conclusions first, while others will want to explore your logic to then understand how you’ve arrived at your conclusions. Failing to recognise these fundamental differences in each of our wiring may result in you failing to resonate across the broad with audiences that you face every day.
WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR A TEAM TO WORK WELL TOGETHER?
Trust is the fundamental building block of any team. Trust takes time to establish but can be destroyed in an instant.
As Stephen Covey puts it in his book The Speed of Trust: “When you trust people, you have confidence in them – in their integrity and their abilities. When you distrust people, you are suspicious of them – of their integrity, their agenda, their capabilities, or their track record. It’s that simple.”
Great teams establish common goals and work together to achieve them, understanding each other’s skill and leveraging them to achieve the desired results. Without common goals there will be a lack of cohesion, the team may drift and performance is likely to suffer.
Communication should be open and flow between all team members equally. To achieve this, it’s important that team members understand and accept their own unique communication styles as well as those of their colleagues and adapt their delivery to ensure they resonate widely.
Simple steps for leaders to develop trust: Your team members look to you, so lead by example. Communicate openly while accepting differences and adapting your style to the personalities in your team.
Manage conflict by considering the personalities involved, rather than focusing on the respective positions that they are taking.
HOW DO YOU COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY IN A GROUP?
Effective communication is more than just exchanging information, it’s engaging your team members, delivering your message with impact and causing the movement you’re seeking.
Open communication is the key to ensuring that your message is understood. It is also essential that team members accept and tolerate different communication styles, this creates trust and sets the stage for the team to achieve their goals.