I just finished reading an article with yet another Personality Assessment Tool. This NEW triangle model clearly suggests…nothing new. Those of us who have consulted and coached working professionals, leaders and their teams for many years know that on a team:

1) Working Style, more importantly; one’s willingness to be flexible with their working style; and not personality, is most influential in developing then maintaining critical working relationships on teams.

2) Often, the better the performer, the more extreme tendencies of their working style and the greater potential for conflict with team members of a different working style.

3) Specific team responsibilities are often best-suited with specific working styles.  I’ve heard this called the “fit-to-role” phenomenon.

Bringing together a team that performs consistently at high levels to accomplish common goals is more than assembling the right set of skills under a visionary leader. Successful team startups, whether constructed or formed organically require members who are visionary AND those who mind the details required to execute that vision while mitigating risks. High performing teams also need others who attend to establishing processes and systems allowing the team to replicate successes over the long haul.  Think about the pace at which just these personal working styles are moving…

Consider the language (and body language) of the visionary team member—often the leader. He or she usually possesses a big picture or long term mindset with creative, action oriented, energizing communications to others before quickly moving on to the next challenge. Meanwhile others, who may be more risk averse, cautious, challenging with skepticism, act at a more moderate pace. Their feedback may be more measured as they listen rather than contribute outwardly or as they express confusion or concern without obvious facial expression. Ultimately, the team may reach the same conclusions, but their approach, their pace and yes; their values may be quite different.

So, how can we turnaround team members of diverse working styles who aren’t meeting the group’s expectations?

Here are 5 ideas to jumpstart that process:

1. Introduce the diversity of working styles and help members discover the personal strengths that will contribute to the team’s success AND their potential blind spots that may challenge them all.
2. Practice strategies for moving beyond the comfort of their own working style, starting conversations with words that demonstrate the values of other team members before providing feedback.
3. Reinforce the need for commitment to team goals as more important than individual successes in the group.
4. Hold and help team members hold each other accountable for their performance individually and as a group even as the knowledge, skill and expertise of individual roles may be quite different.
5. Celebrate small team successes emphasizing individual AND team accomplishments regularly to keep team members moving toward their common goals.