Personality Profiling

Steven Covey says, “In order to be understood, we must first seek to understand.”

Understanding yourself is really important because you cannot begin to understand (or work harmoniously with) others if you do not understand yourself. Personality profiling will help you identify those members of your team with whom you are compatible and those you are not. Crucially, you will learn that regardless of whether you naturally get on, you will be able to manage your whole team and develop a productive working relationship with each of them. This will help you lead and manage everyone to greater levels of productivity and harmony. You can use many different tools as a leader and coach to help you get to know yourself and your team fast.  

These tools offer us the ability to gain an insight into ourselves, and so they form a huge role in the journey of self-discovery that is necessary for change and re-engagement. The faster you understand your team’s preferences, the more easily you will be able to adapt your style to meet their needs. A  good leader always changes their preferences to suit those of the team, not the other way around, so learn to speak their language, and you will find that they will respond to your initiatives far more quickly. Once you understand how each of your team communicates, it’s a good idea to share this information with the whole team, so everyone is aware of the best way to communicate with each other. However, confidentiality is important, so make sure everyone is comfortable with having their information shared publically before you go ahead and make it available to everyone. If the team isn’t ready to share, create a table so you can capture all the information you need and access it quickly and easily for your own personal use when coaching and leading your team. Before introducing the tools to your team, complete each one yourself because you will then have a better understanding of how to interpret your team’s results. Understanding yourself is the first step. All of these tools will make getting to know your team faster, making your progress towards engagement faster, too.  

Imagine for one moment that you knew how each of your team prefers to learn and receive information. Imagine that you also knew what motivated each of them and why, how their personalities complement one another and how they could come into conflict with one another. Now imagine how much more effective your conversations with them would be and how much more empowered would you feel by having this knowledge. By using personality profiling, you will learn how you can access this crucial information so you can use it when working with your team.  

Personality profiling  

Most companies use personality profiling tools to identify whether an individual’s skills and abilities match the requirements of a role in the business. However, it is also used to identify whether a particular personality trait is missing from a team. Imagine if all of your team had the same personality traits; the likelihood is you would all go off the cliff together because you would have no one to bring you back. It’s important to remember you need a mix of people in every team, so you have access to a range of different strengths when taking on challenges and tasks. As your team will be a mix of different personalities, skills and abilities, it means you can all learn from each other as you grow and develop as a unit. There is a wide variety of personality profiling tools available, including Myers Briggs, Belbin, Insights, and Tetra Map, to name but a few. Personally, I use DISC, which combines the key aspects of most of the profiling tools. However, each categorises people into one of a range of profile outlines using a symbol such as a colour (Insights), an element (Tetra Map), an object (Belbin) or letters (Myers Briggs and DISC) to indicate which profile someone fits into. Personality profiling tools are used to identify a range of personality types. The tests categorise different traits, which are each identified by a letter, colour, object or element. It’s important to remember that these categories are generalisations, so the description used to describe a personality type may or may not fit someone perfectly. The main benefit of a personality profiling tool is that it gives you an insight into someone’s key personality characteristics and preferences. This allows you to understand them quickly rather than having to wait months to get to know them. It’s especially useful if you are working with people for a short period of time. Personality profiling can also help you and your team members identify each other’s key strengths as well as where each other might need additional help or support. I will share my own personality profile from DISC so you get a sense of the kind of information you can glean from using such a tool.  

My profile description and category  

My profile category combines I and D on the DISC tool, showing I am outgoing and people-orientated rather than reserved and task-focused. My personality profile description reveals that I predominantly use an influencing style and approach when managing and working with others. I am not afraid to share my opinion, but I am able to back it up with a story or evidence. However, in a stressful situation, I can be impatient as this is when my ‘hurry up’ gene comes out to play. This moves me away from the people-focused attitude that is my natural and preferred approach to working with others. My tendency towards impatience needs to be considered when I work with others on stressful projects, as I can become dominant and demanding. Others need to be aware that this is how I respond to pressure and that it’s not necessarily a criticism of their work. While ‘dominant and demanding’ are not the way I want to be, I recognise that these traits play a vital role in business and my own coaching practice because they can get me through difficult situations and help me see a task through. As you can see from this, DISC gives you information about yourself and offers you an opportunity to use this to your advantage so you can choose to change as and when you feel it is appropriate.  

DISC – Personality Profiling  

DISC is a psychometric test that is affected by ENVIRONMENT and measures the needs-driven portion of our personality. It is a system that opens the door to communication and can be effective in helping to build better relationships through effective communication. The questionnaire takes around 15 minutes to complete, and from this, a report summarises someone’s personality. This can then be used to form the basis of an individual development plan.  

DISC can identify:  

  • Motivational drivers.  

  • Preferred environments.  

  • Goal-setting preferences. 

  • How an individual may set out to achieve goals.  

  • Decision-making strategies.  

  • How an individual likes others to communicate with them.  

  • How an individual prefers to communicate with others.  

  • An individual’s greatest fears.  

  • Areas where an individual may feel challenged.  

As well as all this, DISC also identifies whether an individual is outgoing or reserved and task or people-focused. Once you know this, you can adapt your style to suit them and have more productive conversations and more harmonious working relationships. How many times have you heard the saying ‘opposites attract’ or ‘we get on so well because we are like two peas in a pod’? If you sat down and identified the differing personalities in your team, you would be able to work out why you get on well with some of your team and not so well with others. It is probably because of your different personalities. If you use a personality profiling tool, you will soon be able to identify who in your team prefers detail and why they like it. You will quickly be able to see the implications and impact if you don’t give a detail-orientated person a lot of nitty-gritty information. You will also be able to identify who in the team would be happy to get started on a task with minimal information. Imagine if you asked a detail-orientated person to work with someone who prefers less detail. Do you think they would work well together, or do you think there would be conflict? 

The report that is generated for each team member by the profiling tool would explain exactly how different personalities work together and why, as well as highlighting the potential problems and challenges you might face if you paired some different personality types together. As I have previously mentioned, you need a mix of all the personalities in your team so that you can use their strengths to get different types of tasks done. Imagine if you had a group of people who needed everything to be perfect before the task was complete. If they were working on a project together, it would probably never get finished. Likewise, if you had a team of creative, imaginative people who were great at generating ideas, there would be nobody to make any decisions, so the project would lack direction. From these examples, you can probably see how a profiling tool could be very effective in helping you to manage your team. It will allow you to play to your team’s strengths, help you identify their individual needs and allow you to communicate more effectively with them on a one-to-one basis. It is equally important that when you have a mix of personalities in your team, you all understand each other’s personality type so you can all learn from each other and grow as a team. Where one person needs to learn and develop another could help them learn and grow. When the two work together, this could be very powerful and effective combination as their skills and personalities complement each other. It would be very empowering to have one person’s need for development recognised as an opportunity for growth when the right people work together in the right environment. For example, you may have someone in your team who is creative but lacks organisation (making their work quite stressful for both themselves and others). If they were asked to work with another member of the team who was well-organised they could learn new ways to manage their workload and get more done. Equally, the organised team member may have the opportunity to learn how to be more creative and follow through with their ideas. Each person could learn from the other so that they both develop. I don’t want to give too much away about the personality types in case you decide to try it yourself, but to give you a flavor of how different personalities are identified, here is a little taste of the kinds of personality traits that are identified by DISC.  

D – Dominant, Demanding, Decisive, Delegates – Do it kind of person – Outgoing and Task focused. For example: Simon Cowell.  

I – Influential, Inspiring, Positive, Energetic, Charming – Outgoing and People focused. For example: Sir Richard Branson.  

S – Sympathetic, Steady, seeks harmony, organised, kind – Reserved, and People focused. For example: Mother Theresa.  

C – Conscientious, Critical, Creative, Analytical, Perfectionist – Reserved and Task focused. For example: Michael Jackson.  

Can you see how certain people with these different traits could clash while other types might get on extremely well?  

Can you also see why you need at least one of the character types on a team to make it a success?  

Remember if you had the same personality types in your team, the whole team would go off the side of a cliff together. 

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