The Truth About Teams: Personality Matters

2 minute read


Are you currently in the process of putting together a team? You'd expect that the most straightforward way to do this would be to select the most high-performing candidates, with a mix of skills and experience, right? Well, maybe think again.

In reality, many teams that look good on paper rarely reach their full potential. This is due to a basic misunderstanding of how teams work. A good team doesn't just need a mix of skills and experience, they need the right personalities as well. 

In this blog, we help you understand the essential link between personality and team performance.


How personality affects teams

The right blend of personalities is critical to forming a team as they directly affect the team's performance: specifically, it influences performance in three ways: 

  • How individuals approach their role within the team;
  • How individuals interact with the rest of their team; and
  • How an individual’s values align with the rest of the team.

With this in mind, it's important to identify the different types of personalities that exist - or, the psychological roles that most people fit into.

Five psychological roles 

When you think about roles in a team, most individuals focus on the functional role, or the title such as Project Manager. But there's more to that when building a team. Personalities and, in turn, psychological roles are critical to forming a team as these are the roles individuals naturally gravitate based on their personalities.

There are five psychological roles to which individuals naturally gravitate: 

  • Results: These people are socially self-confident leaders. 
  • Relationships: People who are warm, approachable and thoughtful team members. 
  • Process: The person who is organised and detail-oriented. 
  • Innovation: The imaginative, open-minded, idea individuals. 
  • Pragmatism: More practical, levelheaded and cautious team members. 

A successful team will have a blend of these personalities. While these are the main types of personalities on a team, you also need to be aware of the de-railers.

Looking out for de-railers

De-railers are individual’s tendencies to turn strengths into weaknesses during times of stress. For example, your excitable results focused individual may become moody and emotionally volatile when placed in a highly stressful situation.

Be warned, if too many team members share this same behaviour, they may become team de-railers which will take your high performing team in the wrong direction. 

So, what makes a good team culture?

Having a full understanding of psychological roles, de-railers and finally, team culture will help you understand your team’s core motives, values and interests and what they find rewarding. Putting together a team who share the same values, will help develop a team culture which impacts the team by developing coherence, greater efficiency and stability. 

Having a good understanding of teams and how to balance psychological roles is key to unlocking the maximum performance of your team. 

Download our eBook 'The Truth About Teams' to learn more about how you can create high-performing teams.


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