Successful teams require a diverse range of skills and abilities. However, experienced managers know that it is equally important to consider the styles and personalities of the individuals who make up the team. When individuals come together in a group, dominant behaviors and personalities can become part of the team’s strengths and eventually become part of the team culture. This culture is the way the team does things without thinking about them.
Each team has a personality. Why is that important?
I try to make teams aware of their personality as one entity. Seeing a team as one entity recognizes that the team’s performance depends mainly on the complex interactions between team members and the wider system. This reduces finger-pointing and blame and brings lightness to communication within the team. It encourages team members to take collective responsibility for the team’s relationship and performance and work together to improve it.
In many cases, individual interests are going to be in conflict with the goals of the team. There is no doubt about that. However, if the team learns to listen to the interests of its entity as well, it can navigate more quickly and leave differences behind, or learn to use different perspectives as a strength rather than a weakness. The ability to quickly align is a powerful asset for a team and is the basis for effective self-organization.
Some questions that might reveal the personality of a team
- What is our name? What does it represent? (Who are we?) What are the qualities behind it?
- If the team were a celebrity/superhero/… who would it be and why? What are the qualities of this celebrity?
- If we were a music group, what kind of music would we play?
How can you use it?
For example, in a situation where the team cannot decide, you can ask the question:
- What would be the opinion of the “specific celebrity” about “this topic”?
- We want to be a rock band, but the organisation expects from us to play classic music. How do we want to cope with this?
This can open up the team’s mind by providing a different perspective.
Disclaimer: The above text is intended to provide some ideas on why seeing the team as an entity can get the team unstuck or motivated. This is not a comprehensive solution to all possibilities. Please feel free to reach out to me or visit my workshop which provides more insights on the team-effectiveness canvas.
In order to deeper assess where your team is standing, we recommend also the “Lencioni Questionnaire”
The team-effectiveness canvas
Browse through the areas and click to get more information about the team-effectiveness canvas.