A team may comprise of more than one personality. Dealing with various personalities to obtain job optimisation can be challenging. As a leader in your position, how can you best capitalise on your team members’ strengths, deliver the results you envisage and, at the same time, take into consideration your team members’ core personalities? Understanding an individual’s core personality and managing the differences may help boost team dynamics.
As counsellors, we are trained to assess and conduct personality assessments for various reasons; for example, team building, career matching and human resource hiring. In my work, two of the tools I am trained to use are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs and Self-Directed Search (SDS) by John Holland. The MBTI divides core personalities into 16 different types, with the formation of four dichotomies — Introvert (I) v. Extrovert (E); Intuitive (N) v. Sensory (S); Thinking (T) v. Feeling (F); and Judging (J) v. Perceiving (P)] — whereas SDS uses the RIASEC (R: Realistic; I: Investigative; A: Artistic; S: Social; E: Enterprising and C: Conventional) model to assess personality characteristics, interests, ambitions and aptitudes in career guidance.
Matching the personality to job responsibilities and roles creates a higher impact. Individuals are said to be able to flourish and achieve higher potential as they find less conflict with their preferences, values and beliefs. They can communicate better with their colleagues/customers and perform at a higher level of efficiency as well as productivity. The question, is how many of us get to do and/or be hired for a job that aligns well with our personality? The next question you will probably be asking is, “Should I change my job or my personality?”
The answer, at least in my field of work, is neither. You may adopt the mechanism below:
U: Understand your personality. What is your core personality and how is it tied to your core values and beliefs?
A: Awareness is crucial. Be aware of your core personality’s strengths and limitations. You need to be aware when you are vulnerable and when you can perform at your maximum. If you are unable to pair your ideal job with your core personality, at the very minimum, recognise the limitations and own up to those limitations.
C: Complement your limitations. If you are not particularly strong in dealing with people but is at the forefront of meeting customers, then look for a business partner who enjoys meeting people. Another way to mitigate the limitation is to find a way to “reward” yourself after a day of performing a task that contradicts your core personality type. So, in the given example, having spent a whole day meeting people, remember to take some “me time” to withdraw and recharge.
I: Integrate your personality with the work-life environment that you are in. You may benefit from resources such as a life coach or a positive environment to help with the integration. Finding the resources to integrate your personality preference with your work or life environment may be accomplished over time. The good news is that it is achievable. However, you first need to understand, be aware of and search for complements in your personality preferences for the integration to happen.
This article will not be sufficient to guide you through discovering and understanding your personality or assisting your team; members in grasping the full understanding of their core personalities. If you wish to find out more about your personality, need help in assisting a child in selecting his/her future programme pathway or enhance team dynamics, you may check out these assessments in career, consulting and/or human resource centres. You may also approach a counsellor trained in this area to analyse, interpret, and translate the results to fit your need or situation.
Dr Ooi Pei Boon
Principal Teaching Fellow
Department of Medical Sciences
Originally published in The Edge, April 2019