Personalities in teams

A short introduction to the next series of my blog posts is required here… I am currently carrying out a research project as part of my dissertation and I intend to use this blog to document, critique and evolve my research project. Why? Mainly to give me a method of ‘note taking’ a bit more interesting than endless Word files, but also to see if it causes any food for thought among my social networks!

The choice of this post title is intentional… Many academic research projects have looked at teams, managing teams, team structure, team culture, stakeholder in teams, the importance of people within teams…… However, few studies (to my current knowledge in the early stage of research) evaluate the importance of personalities in teams.

A quick pit stop here – personalities will be an evolving concept over this research. My journey so far has led me to Carl Jung’s definition in his work Psychological Types. However, that is not the point of this post – I will build on his work in later posts but for now I just want to focus on introducing the following concept:

How important is a teams’ understanding of each others ‘personality’ in driving success?l
This concept remains broad… What do we mean by ‘understanding of’ and what measurement are we analysing ‘success’ against?… However the underlying aim is clear, do organisational teams take the time to truly understand the individuals working in their teams?

Yes, we have team meetings that decide who is best to carry out certain tasks but that is often based on competencies, project management to align skilled workers with the requirements at hand; but what about understanding that a certain individual is heavily introvert and can only work efficiently if they see a personal, inner benefit for them?

Or what about how different people process information? Does the individual rely heavily on the basic information provided or do they take it in but then seek to add meaning from their world knowledge? Do managers consider this when aligning their team to tasks? An individual may have the closest competencies but if they rely on basic information to proceed, and this information isn’t physically available at the stage of the project – they will struggle to perform…

Building on this – when the information is there, does the individual look at the logic and obvious sequence of events? Or do they prefer to evaluate the people and circumstances involved and derive further actions? Managers should consider this when deciding which individual is better at taking on short term, logical tasks against who is better to take on larger, newly innovative tasks.

Finally, does the individual prefer to get things decided and move on, or stay open to new information and options for the future? Again depending on the tasks a manager will either require immediate action to just get something done, or will seek a project to build and grow.

Some of you may have picked up on the 4 paragraphs above – each highlighting a key factor of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)! For those who didn’t follow MBTI is a ‘personality profiling’ tool that evaluates the individual and maps their personality against key metrics.

Now, my research focus should be (slightly) clearer… Carl Jung developed a ‘typology’ theory in his
psychological research that today has led to a ‘personality profile’, MBTI. My research will seek to evaluate this model and study its importance and use in organisations.

Essentially – I will seek to quantify the qualitative theory in the workplace and see how it improves a team development.

This is where I will finish for today, tying nicely the MBTI concepts with the definition of ‘personality’ mentioned earlier by Carl Jung; as it is Carl Jung’s work that inspired the foundation of MBTI (see what I did there?!)

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