With so many different personalities and their multitudes of styles, how on earth do you bring them together to work in harmony?

Quite simply, with great difficulty. And is there a way to achieve this objective with greater precision than luck of the draw? While no system is ever perfect, there exist proven, credible and easy-to-use personality and skills assessment tools that ensure teams are put together effectively.

First, we must separate the two distinct issues: that of building teams which we shall deal with in this article, and second, of maintaining and developing their effectiveness which I will discuss next month.

“If you don't plan, you plan to fail” – clichéd, I know, but nevertheless very true. When building teams, how many of us consider the work-style dynamics of the people involved and what combination of skills are needed to achieve the end result?

Most of us are so busy getting on with the job at hand that we may consider the age and chemistry of personalities, but, not much else – especially not in a scientific and structured way.

To be more precise, in building teams we must at the outset determine our “end result” and identify the type of personal characteristics and skills of each team member we need to help us get there.

For example, you may be structuring a client-servicing unit. To achieve the mandate of this team you will need to consider the following:

  • Who is great at dealing with clients?
  • Do I have someone in the team who will challenge our status quo and act as a catalyst to improvement?
  • Who will methodically ensure we deliver on our promises?
  • When problems arise, as we know they do, who will deal them out?
  • Which “Steady Eddy” will do the boring stuff?

    A team needs a varied balance of ingredients, a recipe of people who can bake the cake in the right way. Though you may have worked this bit out already, how do you determine who is right for what role in the team?

    Enter messrs Myers & Briggs, Saville & Holdsworth and Belben – the great psychometric and skills assessment triumvirate of the modern corporate era. If you want to work out who should do what, these team-building gurus should be able to give you an insight.

    Each of these specialists in personality and skills assessment worked out a simple, but highly effective system of tests – “assessments” to work out who offers what input into a team.

    It suggests that certain individuals have the propensity to demonstrate the following traits in a work environment:

  • some are great at detail

  • some can see the bigger picture
  • others finish tasks well that others initiate
  • others create and initiate tasks, but cannot follow through
  • organisers keep the show on the road
  • solution finders navigate the pitfalls

    To make it work, you need all the different types (apart from specialised areas like sales). The question is, do you really know what type you need?

    If you work for a large company, the likelihood is these assessment tools should be available within your HR department. For small to medium-sized organisations, you can obtain these services from your recruitment consultancy partner, who if of any repute or substance should have a fully qualified assessment team in-house.

    Remember you can have the smartest office, the latest computer system, the best PR and marketing machine, but without the most effective, focused and well-structured team you will lose out to those that do.

  • Topics