As our workforce grows more diverse, it’s increasingly important for leaders to understand how to manage multi-personality teams.
Working in teams with personality diversity brings a lot of benefits – including increased collaboration, better ideas, and broader skill sets – but it can also pose challenges when trying to lead people with different opinions, motivations, and needs.
Here are our tips for managing various personalities so that you can get the best out of each employee and create an enriching company culture that unlocks new success.
Seek to Understand Your Employees
The first step in managing your employees is understanding the unique personalities on your team. There are a variety of ways to do that.
Personality tests are a highly popular way to evaluate both prospective and current employees. In fact, they are now used on 60-70% of prospective workers in the U.S. to better staff teams by selecting the right mix of personality types. You can also use personality tests to evaluate your employees and better understand their core behavioral traits, how they work, and their preferred ways to communicate.
Some of the most commonly used workplace personality tests that you can access for free include:
- Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (16 Personalities)
- Enneagram Personality Test
- Big Five Personality Test (OCEAN)
Although these tests have different methodologies, they will help you identify core personality traits like introversion vs. extroversion, agreeableness, dependability, and openness to new ideas. Having all your employees take a personality test will reveal key insights into what motivates them. These free versions are a great place to start if you’re on a budget, or short on time. However, more official/standardized versions exist through paid assessment services that will give you more insight and give candidates less control over the outcomes.
One-on-one meetings in which you ask open-ended questions are another great way to understand your employees. Paired with a personality test, they can provide more individual nuance and knowledge about what’s going on in their lives. Questions you may consider asking include:
- What is your biggest strength at work?
- What is most inspiring about your work?
- Is there something you would like to learn on the job?
- What do you hope to accomplish in the next 30/60/90 days?
- What do you need from me to succeed?
- How can we best measure your progress?
Embrace the Differences
Acknowledging the value in all personality types is critical to your success. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to only hire a team with a similar personality type. Extroverted go-getters may be important for leading your organization, but the introverted analyst or detail-oriented planner are equally vital members of the team.
Listening to all the different voices in your organization gives you the chance to see the world through another set of eyes. The best leaders will listen and try to actively understand opposing viewpoints. Collaborating as a diverse team will lead you to the best laid strategies and projects.
Align Personalities With the Right Responsibilities
When you understand and embrace personality differences within your team, you can also better align your people with the tasks that must be completed – which boosts their job satisfaction while improving your organizational efficiency.
For example, friendly employees are great for communicating with clients and representing your organization at events. A highly creative employee can provide new perspective and fresh ideas that propel your organization forward. A conscientious employee will excel at day-to-day project management and ensuring that deadlines are met.
Keeping an open dialogue through multiple platforms – including one-on-one meetings, small groups, emails and instant messaging – will help you further refine what your team members are best at, what they like to do, and if there are any areas where they would like to grow.
That leads to a final word of advice: be careful not to “pigeonhole” your employees into one strict category. In the end, personality traits fall on a spectrum and we all have room to develop in new ways. You can work with employees to find out where they want to grow in their careers and help them cultivate new skills and competencies.
Ask us your Human Resources and talent management questions via the online chat tool in the lower left corner of your screen. We love helping companies align their people with their business needs, and we love to share what we know.