Multiple Personalities Help Improve Team Dynamics

closeup of coworkers fist-bumping | improve your team dynamicsI have a client with two brothers on the leadership team, who disagreed about how to handle employee-challenge situations. The company has three locations with multiple shifts. Frustrations among midlevel managers were brewing when one of the leaders came across as harsh and cold over something that others considered to be a small issue. The trouble was that the leader didn’t have an awareness of how his actions affected the midlevel managers. They were frustrated, hurt, and demotivated by this repetitive behavior.

As it happens, the leadership team had just read the book Primal Leadership – a book about emotional intelligence (EI). The book discusses four areas of EI:

  • Self-awareness – Understanding how other people perceive you
  • Self-management – Ability to manage your emotions
  • Social awareness – Recognizing emotions in others
  • Relationship management – Ability to manage interactions of your relationships

We soon realized that the brother has a challenge of lacking self-awareness. Fortunately, there are several things he can do to improve his awareness of how he comes across to others, and the company is on its way to a healthier place.

But how do you handle it when a whole team lacks emotional intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence of Teams

Just as people have an emotional intelligence, which varies from person to person, teams can be emotionally intelligent as well. In fact, emotionally intelligent teams perform better – they’re more productive, more engaged, more creative, and more motivated. High-EQ teams have stronger team dynamics because they are able to build trust, establish identity, and achieve greater results.

If your team isn’t producing the results you expected it would, it could be the result of a low-EQ team.

Understanding one another is an important component of creating a successful team with a high EQ. Many companies use personality profiles to help teams understand one another and gain insight into individuals’ differences. Here are a few of the most common personality assessments – and one brand new one that looks at personalities in a different way.

Personality Surveys for Work Teams


Kolbe is one of the most powerful and simple tools for figuring out your unique God-given abilities. It’s also one of the tools that we cover as part of the EOS Process.

Kolbe measures how you take action and get stuff done when you’re free to be yourself – your instincts, your natural M.O. Kolbe identifies our problem-solving instincts in 12 different areas, across four zones (three areas per zone). We can use our energy in any of the 12 areas, but only four of them are identified as our sweet spot – where it feels effortless for us to act.

The four zones are:

  • Fact Finder: How you gather and share information, level of information needed
  • Follow Through: Your need to organize information, or your method of organizing information. How organized you are. How you arrange and design.
  • Quick Start: The amount risk you’ll take when dealing with uncertainty.  Your need to change things.  This is about you being a risk taker.
  • Implementer: Your need to deal with tangibles, physical, mechanical tasks.  It’s your need to touch, and feel and see it to believe it

You are born and you’ll die with your Kolbe type – it never changes. There’s no good or bad thing – it just is. It’s important to understand your Kolbe, and to design your team to support each member’s Kolbe type.

The Kolbe Index is often used when hiring, to understand a candidate’s problem-solving instincts. The idea is that people tend to make problem-solving decisions based on instinct more than cold reason, and different people rely on different kinds of instincts. Understanding how people make decisions helps ensure that you’ve got the right people in the right seats on your team.

Right person/right seat is a critical piece to a healthy team and a healthy organization. Tools that can help organizations hire well are worth their weight in gold!


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) is one of the most popular and well-known personality surveys. Organizations use the MBTI to understand how their people approach life, how they communicate, and how they process information and make decisions.

Your personality type is a combination of four factors, signified by a four-letter code:

  • Extraversion/Introversion – Do you focus on the outer world or your own inner world?
  • Sensing/iNtuition – Do you attend to basic information you take in, or prefer to interpret and add meaning?
  • Thinking/Feeling – Do you make decisions based on logic and consistency, or based on the people and circumstances affected by the decision?
  • Judging/Perceiving – Do you prefer a structured world, or are you open to new information and ideas?

Companies can use the MBTI to help build better teams, improve communication, motivate employees more individually, and develop smarter leaders.


The DiSC personality profile is a bit simpler than the MBTI. Instead of 16 combinations of types, there are only four options to keep track of:

  • Dominance – Emphasis on accomplishing results, the bottom line, confidence
  • Influence – Emphasis on influencing or persuading others, openness, relationships
  • Steadiness – Emphasis on cooperation, sincerity, dependability
  • Conscientiousness – Emphasis on quality and accuracy, expertise, competency

Understanding where each member of your team lands on the DiSC profile helps prevent communication problems and interpersonal tension. It also helps team members understand one another’s priorities, personal needs, and social tendencies.

Deloitte’s Business Chemistry

Not long ago, Deloitte created its own inventory to assess an aspect of personality that no other inventory had paid attention to: work style. They found that each person falls into one of three work personality styles:

  • Pioneers – Visionaries who value possibilities and spark inspiration in others
  • Guardians – People who value stability and bring order and rigor
  • Drivers – Highly motivated team members who value challenge and generate results
  • Integrators – The “glue” of teams, who value connection and draw individuals together

Every successful team is composed of all four work styles. However, pairing “opposite” types together requires careful intention. While opposite work styles (Pioneers/Guardians, or Drivers/Integrators) can generate a lot of friction when paired up, they can also help each other excel in new ways.

How Strong Is Your Team?

Understanding how your team members differ from one another, and why, can be a tremendous first step in improving your team’s chemistry, communication, and overall effectiveness. If you haven’t taken one of these personality inventories yet, I recommend it. Share your results with one another and discuss how your different personalities can help the team work together better and accomplish more.

Go to the next level – take the Organizational Checkup to check the overall strength of your entire company.

This article originally appeared on the GPS for Small Business blog on May 17, 2017.

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