In the hiring process, more and more organisations take into account types of people that should be included in their team. Although education and professional experience are still priorities, soft skills, such as social predispositions and character traits, are gaining in importance. Even the best-qualified candidates can be ineffective if they do not match the company’s image. A variety of complementary personalities and a mosaic of competences can be the key to a team’s success.
While many activities can be learned, and experience can be gained, character traits are an individual matter. Depending on a position, size of an organisation or an industry in which the company operates, completely different characteristics of an employee may be desired. In some situations, social skills prove to be more effective than professional knowledge (P. Łowczyńska, HR Director, GoldenLine.pl).
Types of employees and productivity
Psychologists conduct a lot of research for HR companies on the intersection of employee characteristics with productivity in the workplace. They also investigate what types of personality positively influence a company’s image – whether that means hiring, managing, or motivating talent.
Is there a personality type that best fits your business and has the most significant impact on its culture and success? It turns out there isn’t just one. To create a coherent team, it is worth to hire people with different characteristics, managing them properly and helping to communicate with each other. Each type has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. To be able to adapt specific personality types and their character traits to the company’s needs, it is worth to recognise them and know how they affect the functioning of the organisation.
The importance of personality type
Personality is important because it affects every aspect of life and how a person communicates, reacts to changes and cooperates. Searching for the term “personality in the workplace” on the web brings a maze of articles and books where one might struggle to find anything useful.
That’s why it is worth focusing on professional texts, observations and research results. There are specialised tools for discovering and understanding yourself and others in the form of psychological tests to determine a personality type.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Such a tool is, for example, a self-assessment questionnaire, called Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It is based on the observations of Carl G. Jung, who concluded that differences in people’s behaviour stem from an innate tendency to use the mind in different ways. He based this concept on the belief that people show specific preferences when directing their energy and so-called recharging the battery, gathering information and making decisions. In this way, Jung identified eight personality types.
4 dimensions of personality according to Myers & Briggs
Whereas I. Briggs Myers and K. Cook Briggs developed Jung’s idea of the hierarchy of individual preferences for personality type, adding a dimension that describes the attitude towards the outside world. It is of great importance in the workplace. Ladies Briggs presented differences in human behaviour through four dimensions and related questions:
- The E – I dimension: extraversion and introversion. Do you direct your energy and attention outward, or do you prefer to focus on your inner world of ideas and experiences?
- The S – N dimension: sensing and intuition. Do you prefer to collect real and tangible information about what is really there, or do you like to focus on the overall picture and the connections between facts?
- T – F dimension: thinking and feeling. Do you use logic and fairness to make your decisions, or do you prefer a more subjective process that takes into account the harmony and value system of those involved?
- J – P dimension: judging and perceiving. Do you deal with your life in a planned manner, preferring “judgment” – that is, making a decision – or do you choose a flexible lifestyle with a constant openness to new information?
By crossing preferences within the above four pairs (that’s what Ladies Briggs did), sixteen human types can be distinguished, for example, ISTJ, ENTJ, etc.
The importance of roles in the team
Belbin’s Team Role Theory
Another researcher who has traced the role of personality in the workplace is Meredith Belbin, who specialises in team management. Most of his research was devoted to the issue of effectiveness and reasons for achieving goals set for teams. He developed the Team Role Theory based on self-esteem and the 360–degree feedback on a person’s Team Roles. He proved that not only education and skills are essential at work – but also the type of personality.
Preferred team roles and communication style have a key impact on the effectiveness of project teams and their success.
9 roles of employees in a team according to Belbin
Belbin selected nine roles of employees, understood as a tendency to adopt specific patterns of behaviour, way of thinking, acting and entering into a particular type of relationship. He divided these roles into 3 groups, assigning three to each of them:
The diagnosis of functions can be used when building a new team, inducting a new person in the group, increasing the effectiveness of activities and managing a career according to individual characteristics.
1. The Plant
Their role is mainly to generate ideas and solve problems. This is the most visionary person on the team. It is sometimes indispensable when initiating projects or when there is no progress. They are often the founder of a company or a developer of new products.
Although they have an open mind, they are generally introverts, which means that they work best in solitude and silence – too much contact with others takes away their energy. They are innovative, imaginative, one-of-a-kind and serious.
It’s worth giving them time and space for creativity without introducing many restrictions, before giving them a chance to present the idea entirely.
2. Monitor Evaluator
They are excellent at analysing problems and developing concepts. And also good at weighing up pros and cons. They are sometimes perceived as a withdrawn, crude and serious outsider, although they can prove to be good at leading a team when other people fail.
Practical, composed, they carefully observe the group, assess their work excellently and can point out shortcomings, although they can also be critical. However, they lack the driving force and sometimes the enthusiasm to inspire others. It is worth starting them up and giving them essential tasks, and the results will certainly appear.
3. The Specialist
They are an indispensable member of the team – they provide information and skills that not everyone is given. Their role becomes precious when particular expertise is needed. They are intelligent people and one hundred percent professional. They are analytical, reflective and impartial.
Work is significant to them, although they inclinate to focus excessively on their own. They tend to overestimate their own opinion. If you compare them with a wizard, they have less imagination; they are distant and cool in contact, they critically analyse the ideas of others. It is vital to appreciate them and prevent them from isolating themselves from the team.
4. The Coordinator
They are a natural leader in the team. Coordinators feel good as a person responsible for the group of people with different competencies, who assigns them tasks. They communicate better with people in similar and equal positions. However, they can talk to each member of a team, listen to different arguments and usually believe in a peaceful solution to the problem.
They can effectively use the resources of the team as well as the individual potential of a group member. They intuitively pursue their goal, are enthusiastic, trusting and composed. However, they can be bossy; sometimes, they manipulate people and assign themselves excessive powers.
5. The Teamworker
They are the most sensitive person in the group – calm and conflict-free, so they can be a perfect collaborator. They are not able to make difficult decisions for the team, mostly alone, but they are willing to prevent interpersonal problems. Dislike conflicts and a lousy atmosphere – they have a soothing and conciliatory effect.
The team listens to them because they are loyal and have high morale. They are also communicative and enthusiastic. Working in a group does not cause problems for them, although they can be too trusting and submissive.
It is worth using their natural talent to support people in favour of the team, although it is not sure that they will agree to everything.
6. The Resource Investigator
They are most often an extrovert, drawing energy from contact with others. There is no problem with making contacts – what matters to them is interaction. They are optimistic and inventive. And although they are often characterised by fiery enthusiasm and lack of realism, they have innovative ideas.
It is worth letting them show their spirit in discussions, which may result in the discovery of entirely new possibilities. It is not worth asking him about the details of the project or expect him to conduct an in-depth analysis or research.
7. The Shaper
Excellent in stimulating the team to action, because they are dynamic, ambitious and not afraid of challenges. They are a person full of energy with clearly defined goals. Work well under time pressure, although sometimes they speak faster than they think.
However, they are often the most effective employee who guarantees progress – they are practical, stress-free and efficiently introduce ideas and changes without reflecting on unpopular decisions or interpersonal issues.
They can be impatient and bossy. It is better not to target them personally during the conflict, but to use objectives and a goal-based approach.
8. The Implementer
Very useful in a team due to diligence, reliability and adaptability. They are successful because they are organised, effective and work systematically.
If they come up with an idea, they implement it quickly, although they prefer to perform the tasks they like, neglecting the uncomfortable ones. They approach changes and novelties with uncertainty and reluctance.
It’s better to leave them out of a discussion forum for new or unclear ideas. It is worth making them responsible for organising the task, although not very broad and abstract.
9. The Completer Finisher
They are invaluable in tasks that require high concentration and a high level of accuracy. They are characterised by the ability to implement – are focused on a specific effect and aware of the goal. Very valuable in the final part of the project when you need to check the work carefully, find errors and correct them. Self-controlled and disciplined, although they often show excessive perfectionism.
To help them manage their work overtime, you can explain their priorities without compromising their need to improve processes. It is worth remembering that they like to have enough space to complete the task accurately.
With different personality types in your company, be flexible as each employee requires a different leadership strategy. A good leader is aware of this and does not rely on one universal method of team management. Adapting the management style to individual employees may result in more outstanding commitment and efficiency. That is you – as the leader – who must figure them out.