Understanding different the range of personalities in your team is extremely beneficial. Everyone is different, that’s a given. You probably have a wide variety of connections and friends who are all vastly different. When looking at these differences in the context of managing a team in a business, then teamwork really does make the dream work. Every team is made up of a collective of individuals, all with different personalities working towards a common goal.
What are personalities?
How do we easily sum up what a personality is? This definition from verywellmind.com states:
“Personality describes the unique patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that distinguish a person from others. A product of both biology and environment.”
The word ‘Personality’ comes from the Latin word ‘Persona’ which refers to a mask worn by theatre actors to disguise themselves as a certain person or character.
Personalities are complex, there are enough environmental and biological factors to ensure that everyone will have a unique personality. Although there are many different theories on how we can categorise personalities, there are usually a few groups we can place certain ones into.
You have your own personality that is unique to you. You probably appreciate a certain type of personality the most, and others less. This preference alone can be an indicator as to what sort of personality you might have. People tend to favour others for traits they deem valuable. Not only this, different personalities can complement each other in ways you might not be aware of. This is why they say opposites attract.
Understanding different personalities: An example of harmony or conflict
An example of this would be that if you were to take a ‘thinking’ person and put them together with a ‘feeling’ person, it would be fair to say you would end up with either harmony or conflict.
Thinking people make very logical, ‘obvious’ choices and are very good at taking in information from the world, its systems – finding the best answer quickly. They value detail and analysis.
Kaitlin works inside the data analysis department, she enjoys the satisfaction of solving logical problems and making decisions based on using her logic. Her strength is being extremely effective at her job and enjoys fixating on her work throughout the day.
However, feeling people prioritise their emotions and attitude towards the outside world, seeing these as more important to them as say logic. This doesn’t mean they disregard logic, they simply find better results understanding emotions and relationships.
Greg works in sales. He has a wide breadth of knowledge about our products and services. He is the first to greet customers and loves making sales, the more the better! His strengths are his fast-paced work style and ability to generate and maintain customers relationships.
Neither one is more beneficial than the other; thinking and feeling are just words to describe different kinds of intelligence.
In some instances; these two personalities would collide and disagree on a very deep level. Communicating the way you think and the reasons for doing so is not only complicated, but very personal. Finding ways to trigger different perspectives to meet and combine in harmony can be difficult.
Strive for harmony
However, if both people share a common goal and are willing to work together in an economical way, they can not only produce fantastic results, but also learn from each other and appreciate one another. The logical mind can crunch numbers and innovate systems to move forward the idea, whilst the feeling person can understand how to market and network this product using emotions; filling a different role in the process.
That was one very general example of differing personalities, and it’s important to know that despite this making sense in theory, the only effective way to build an efficient team is to maintain a diverse mix of people. Results may change depending on the environment, what the team’s goals are and other variables.
Understanding diverse personalities
Personalities have positive and negative elements to them; this is unavoidable. The skill involved in managing these personalities is to understanding them as individuals and appreciating their differences. You will meet a lot of people who value things that you will disregard. It is important to show patience when faced with a person who sees the world differently to you. This will be an opportunity to view things from a different perspective, thus we learn to appreciate diversity.
Appreciating diversity not only educates us and widens our perspectives, but also helps other people feel more included. From a practical perspective, diversity is important for problem solving and innovation, having multiple perspectives all zero in one goal is one of the most effective ways to move forward in almost any situation.
Understanding personality types may seem like a less important matter to delve into, especially if you are running a business and have lots of other, more pressing things to attend to. Try to remember to always make time to understand the people you work with; this will be an important first step into helping your team grow. We have two more blogs on this topic. The next blog continues straight on from this one, find out how a manager can utilise different people in a business by understanding different strengths and weaknesses here.