Personality matters in the workplace.

How personality impacts the workplace

Dr. Susan Cain Company Culture and Change, Organizational and Performance Assessments, Team Development Leave a Comment

Modern organizations place a high premium on skills and experience. Prospective workers are subjected to in-depth pre-employment exams while company veterans go through rigorous professional development and training sessions. Unfortunately, many business leaders, in a rush to prepare staff for changing technical tides, fail to address an important workplace variable: personality.

In the era of the open-concept office, personality can seriously impact day-to-day operations and make or break team effectiveness.

Varied teams succeed
Most human resources experts agree that teams made up of diverse contributors with different personalities are more likely to succeed than those with a more homogeneous makeup, the Stanford University Graduate School of Business reported.

"The worst kind of group for an organization that wants to be innovative and creative is one in which everyone is alike and gets along too well," Margaret Ann Neale, a professor of management at Stanford University and organizational behavior specialist, told the school. "What feels good may not always reflect the performance of the team."

Additionally, Neale argues that many overly like-minded teams often fall apart and underperform, as members become complacent and face few challenges. Businesses with this in mind often dole out personality tests during the hiring process and assess current employees for fit with similar evaluations, the Society for Human Resource Management found.

These evaluations enable employers to handpick key contributors and assemble cohesive yet diverse teams that perform under pressure. In fact, many focus on picking contributors from disparate backgrounds to purposely create conflict and encourage a feedback-rich culture, Neale explained. Studies show that constructive conflict improves collaborative processes and performance.

Organizations should build teams whose members have complimentary personality traits.Organizations should build teams whose members have complimentary personality traits.

Many tests to choose from
There are a variety of personality tests available to businesses looking to build highly-functioning teams. Many go with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. In fact, almost 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use the test, The Huffington Post reported. Unfortunately, most experts believe the test does little to improve internal processes and work product and sometimes offers head-scratching results.

As a result, many have turned to the DiSC assessment, which assigns test-takers one or more of four key behavioral traits: dominance, influence, conscientiousness and steadiness. The DiSC enables employers to identify team members with complimentary strengths but prevents outright categorization, which is a major problem with other personality tests like Myers-Briggs, Fast​ Company reported.

"So many people take things like Myers-Briggs that allow them to label these restrictive pictures of themselves and others and I think that's dangerous," psychologist Brian Little told the publication. "When we construe ourselves or others as being a particular type of person, we have really set limits on our and their capacity to develop."

Modern organizations must evaluate the personality traits of key contributors and shore up team infrastructureDiSC training is a great way to get started. Corporate Learning Institute offers a variety of such assessments from Everything DiSC, the leading DiSC training provider. Get general profiles for leaders and other staff or drill down into specific departments with custom assessments for managers and salespeople.

Interested? Contact us via email or call 1-800-203-6734.    

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Dr. Susan CainHow personality impacts the workplace

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