Team Composition – The Benefits of a Diverse Team

I saw an interesting article this week by Dan Oswald titled Surround Yourself with Great People, Not Just Ones Who Agree with You.  The article presents the value of having teams composed of members who have varying viewpoints. I could not agree with him more.

When we train teams, we do a simple exercise to identify the personality styles of team members. Our exercise classifies people into one of 4 personality quadrants, Drivers, Expressives, Analyticals, and Amiables. Each style has its own definite characteristics and strengths.

When most people are asked to pick members for a team, they focus on those who share their personality style. These individuals will approach the problem in similar ways, interact in similar methods, and are likely to reach agreement on the same approach. The leader selects these people because they are the most likely to agree with them and are viewed as being safe members for the team. After all, they have the same personality style, so they will be perceived as “thinking right.”

The problem is, when only one personality style is present or dominates the group, the strengths of the other style are lost. The team is more likely to come up with a solution that is not as strong as it needs to be.

It can be difficult to include other personality types when building a team. The individuals may be those that have disagreed with your approach or conclusions in the past. We may not like to hear what they have to say, but we need to listen to their ideas and reasoning if we want to come up with the best outcomes possible.

Some of you may have used other personality style instruments, such as the Myers-Briggs assessment. There are many of them available, and we have used some of them. We keep coming back to the one we use because it is quick (about 20 minutes to administer and score with the group), and is perceived to be accurate by group members.

It does not make much difference which instrument you choose, the key is to be certain to include members of diverse personality styles when building a team, including those who may disagree with you.

To read the entire article by Dan Oswald, go to http://blogs.hrhero.com/oswaldletters/2011/10/03/surround-yourself-with-great-people-not-just-ones-who-agree-with-you/?HLR

About CALMC Blog

Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to involving employers and employees to preserve jobs, resolve workplace issues, and promote labor-management cooperation. Visit our website at http://calmc.org
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