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Getting different personalities to work together

handshake30395603.jpgWe have all been born with different personalities. Because we all have different personalities, we all have developed varying strengths and weaknesses. This variation of skills, experiences, and attitudes makes for a wonderful and sometimes challenging team dynamic. We have all had experiences meeting people who compliment our personalities. On the other hand, you can likely recall those individuals who did not compliment your personality; in fact, you may recall some folks who completely rejected your personality. What is most unfortunate is if we must be made to work with the individuals with whom we simply cannot relate.

We know that we must first find the inner strength to be able to want to get along with these individuals. Next, we must figure out how accomplishing this goal is possible. In most cases, learning how to work with different personality types begins with improving communication skills. Most personality differences are because both parties cannot fully communicate their emotions. Some people may think that what they are saying is coming across clearly but fail to also account for the non-verbal communication that is being exchanged. Improving communication skills is certainly a task and definitely something that improves with experience. For now, just be aware that what words your saying and what message is coming across can be two very different things, especially to someone who is very different from yourself. Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes and be sensitive to how they react to you. You are never too old, smart, or successful to be humble and see room for improvement within yourself.

As you improve your communication skills, there are some other attributes that you can work to develop into strengths. Another aspect of people that you can try to learn more about and understand is that people are composed of a collection of attributes, thoughts, and emotions. Although it is impossible to classify all people into a single personality type, there are some very common personality categories that most of us fall into. By understanding that each personality type brings strengths to a team, you can begin to see these differences not as roadblocks but as opportunities to collaborate on a project in a way that would not be possible were it not for different personalities.

Researchers suggest that in the workplace you will generally encounter these five personality types in the following percentages:

  • 8 to 10 percent of individuals are idealists
  • 5 to 7 percent of individuals are rationalists
  • 35 to 40 percent of individuals are artisans
  • 40 to 45 percent of individuals are guardians

The guardians are the most common individuals you will need to learn how to work with. These individuals pay attention to detail, are good listeners and can generally be entrusted with the work that they are given. Guardians are cautious; this is why they are labeled both as dependable but also as predictable. They trust their judgment, are sometimes critical of themselves, and react harshly or completely reject the judgment of others. Of course, it is going to take the understanding of all these personality types as they pertain to the individuals working on your team to make a cohesive team dynamic, but understanding this one major personality type is a good place to start.

As their manager, you can encourage all of your employees to speak their mind in a positive, productive, and tactful manner. Provide your team members with adequate facts in the decision making process (facts are understood better than opinions especially when different personalities are at play). Monitor the progress being made without impeding. As you do so, you will begin to see the team benefits of learning to respond appropriately to different personalities.

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Categories: Communication, Confrontations, Employee Performance, Organization,

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Posted by DF
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