Introverts, extroverts, analytical people, and creative people … most companies require a mix of talents, which means employing a range of personalities.
It’s a challenge that can sometimes make managing a team feel like directing a high school musical.
How do you make working with your team a little easier and more effective? Since different personalities require different management styles you may need to situate your own style to meet the needs of each person on your team and craft management for different personalities.
But, how do you craft management for different personalities in a way that’s effective? Start by getting to know the personalities of the people in your company.
Talking is a great start. Sit down and talk to each member of your team. Learn about them. Find out what makes them tick, and try to understand their interests, goals, and aspirations. Doing so will not only forge a closer connection with your team, it also will offer you insight into how they behave and interpret what you say.
For a more structured approach, try a test like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator.
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is a personal assessment tool based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types. At a very basic level, think extroverts and introverts. It’s also the most widely applied personality tool in the world. Most Fortune 100 companies use it.
Myers-Briggs categorizes people into 16 types based on four categories. Where you focus your attention, for instance, makes you either an introvert or an extrovert. How you take in information, make decisions and deal with the world are the other three categories– and everyone has a preferred tendency in each category.
It is these go-to tendencies that need to be considered when managing a personality.
According to The Myers & Briggs Foundation website, in addition to a desire to focus primarily on the outer world (extroverts) or the inner world (introverts), tendencies have a strong influence over three areas: information gathering, decision-making, and structuring the world around you.
Decision-making and information gathering sound like things that happen on a daily basis in most jobs, right?
If you don’t want to ask employees to take a full test (although it can be a fun team-building exercise) a few basic questions will go a long way.
Try these suggestions from the Myers Briggs website:
Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? (This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).)
When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? (This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).)
In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? (This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).)
Then, try to match your work style to the team. For instance, a person who likes things to be decided is going to need a firm plan of action, whereas someone open to new information is going to need a more flexible approach.
The logical folks need facts and stats; the people-focused colleagues may need to hear more about the human side of a situation.
It’s not easy to manage multiple personalities, but putting some effort into figuring out which personalities you are managing can keep you from losing your mind.
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