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?!)
An essential part of any job description nowadays is that daunting part of the form, “work experience”. It seems bizarre for every employer to ask for previous experience as how do you get that initial experience without having had previous experience…
The answer is simple, get involved with anything! “work experience” isn’t about whether or not you’ve had a traditional “job” and where it was, it’s about what you’ve done with your time that allows you to demonstrate certain skills that will prove beneficial in the position you’re applying for. As a university student, I have had access to countless societies, sporting groups and even job opportunities; hence, I recommend to any student out there to join a society even if you don’t think it’s for you because a) you will gain skills and develop your existing skills and b) you may even end up liking it!
So surround yourself with new experiences, volunteer at events or within the local community… Don’t be afraid to talk to people and ask for responsibilities, take on tasks and make them your own for the benefit of all… That way you can build and build upon your personal development.
However, and it’s a big however… While it’s all good and well taking things on and getting involved with everything happening around you, it’s important to remember what you’re aiming for and to focus on the essential things you need to achieve them. I’m going to take my own, personal example to demonstrate this… As a first year student aware of the whole “first year grades don’t count for your degree” (footnote: that is total rubbish as employers DO care about that) I got myself involved left, right and centre with student societies, courses responsibilities, my students’ union and media. I personally thrive when running around doing a million things with lots of responsibility and getting things done without taking no as an answer, therefore it made sense for me to take on all these stressful jobs and positions. However, come exam time and coursework submission, I was stranded… Having attended lectures, I never really sat and listened to, or more importantly questioned, what I was being told; so when it came to coursework and exams I flopped, I now find myself on a first year predicted grade of 2:2 which is not what I wanted from my degree and is therefore preventing me from gaining the positions I worked so hard on gaining the “work experience” for.
This year has seen me made some difficult choices, I’ve stepped down from a position I felt right for me and was looking forward to making my own and delivering my best. When appointed as Assistant Editor for the student newspaper at university my mind flowed with ideas and ambitions of how I’d take the paper forward both in print and online. I was paired up with the most dynamic and strong hearted partner and we were a guaranteed success. Unfortunately though I couldn’t deliver the time and dedication the position required and I ended up letting down the people who depended on me.
I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that I’m gutted I had to give up this amazing, important opportunity that would absolutely shine on my CV under “work experience” but since I gave up the responsibility I am now on track for a first class degree and I’ve built on my skills through smaller positions such as working for the students’ union in other ways and remaining part of societies.
Some times it’s important to say “no” to taking on too much and focusing on what’s important. I worked hard to get in to a top university to gain a top class degree and I’m not going to throw that away for anything. Giving yourself time for you is also important, I thought doing a million things for different people would bring the best out in me but I’ve now found that stopping and looking and what’s important is key to obtaining what you truly desire. Do I regret leaving that position? Definitely. Am I glad I’m back on track for a first class degree? Oh yes!
Right… I guess it’s time to actually write an article relevant to something other than me setting up a website… So what should be my first topic of interest? World Cup analysis? Social criticism? A story about my childhood? Reality TV?
Alas, no. My first real article on my brand new, shiny blog is going to be about… My university build up… “BORING!” I hear you shout but should you chose to read more, you may learn something you didn’t know, or you might not who cares!…
University was always a big thing for me, having been in the same school from year 7 up until I finished my International Baccalaureate (yes I spelt that without auto-correct!) I had began to feel claustrophobic (ok I used spell check on that one!) As much as I love home, my family and friends I am the type of person who needs an adventure and new challenges, I felt that I’d done all I could living in France (yes I live there by the way) and that it was time for a new adventure.
So why Lancaster? It’s not exactly known as the “new adventure capital of the UK”. To be honest, I don’t know… My predicted grades weren’t that promising, and my university advisor recommended choosing “safe” options that didn’t require a high score on my IB. I however, knew myself and knew I was capable; I knew I didn’t want to spend 3/4 years at a university that wouldn’t provide me with the best degree possible. Hence I visited a few and Lancaster attracted me the most. Simple really.
Coming to university wasn’t so much about getting a degree and having fun for me, it was about rediscovering myself and exploring who I really am and what I want to achieve in life. (I know this is getting soppy, I’ll throw in some articles about drunk nights out/shenanigans later!) My degree choice was always evident to me, I’m a business character at heart and can’t deny that. When it came to choosing my college, I opened the brochure, read “Lonsdale – Party College” and had made my decision, after all university is about having a blast!
So there I was, university = chosen ; course = chosen; college = chosen… and it hit me… what next? I’d spent so long planning and deciding what I wanted from my university experience that I’d come to the point where it was all prepared and all that was left was to go and experience it! SHIT! So the day came to leave home in France and embark on what seemed the longest drive ever. With a pit stop at my Gran’s outside Birmigham, I reached my destination of Lancaster a day before official move-in. Mum and I explored Lancaster for the day and did the necessities like opening a bank account and *trying* to open a phone line (don’t get me started on that!). With this complete all that was left was to grab a good meal and get a night’s rest. After a nervous cooked breakfast at the hotel, the following morning was the perfect start to my uni experience, welcomed with “honk for Lonsdale” and my mum driving the wrong way around the car park leading by screams and shouts from standers-by, I had arrived.
My first step was to get out the car and already someone had walked over, to this day I still don’t remember who you are but thank you for taking me up to the porter’s lodge and getting me my room key! From there I had a key that didn’t work so met my first flat mate (later known as Jack.) Who was nice enough to open the front door for me whenever I brought my stuff up!
The rest, as they say, is history. I’d like to have gone into more detail but revision obliges and I’m not even sure anyone will read this… SO thanks for reading this far and watch this space for more! 😀