How Great Teams are Created: When Sixteen Personalities Become One

Many of you have interviewed for a job and have found that you need to do a “psych profile” to determine if you can be further considered for the job opportunity. This can be an unnerving experience for many, especially if you are not aware of the real purpose in performing this exercise. What are companies really looking for when performing this evaluation?

The reality is that there is actually a well-defined science behind this activity and it benefits both the individual applying for the job and the company at which he/she is applying. Being misplaced in a job can be very stressful and can lead to a lack of engagement for an individual. In some cases, it may affect the individual’s health due to the stress caused as a result of job misalignment. From the company’s perspective, the intended results are not achieved so the company loses. How do we best determine the overall likelihood of a win-win situation, for both individual and company?

There has been much research on personality types. This research goes back to Carl Jung in the early 1900s and was refined by mother/daughter Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers shortly thereafter.

The Myers-Briggs indicator, as it is now called, assisted in aligning jobs for women entering the workforce during World War II. This was done in an effort to determine which jobs would be “most comfortable and effective” for them. From the research that was performed, the Myers-Briggs questionnaire was created and places test subjects in one of 16 personality types. Many have found this questionnaire to be shockingly accurate, allowing individuals to take an honest look in the mirror followed by healthy personal introspection. Further research has indicated the likelihood of success and engagement in certain careers as a result of your personality type.

In gaining a better understanding of the 16 personality types, you not only understand your own strengths and weaknesses; you begin to learn that others have strengths that will complement your weaknesses. You will also learn your limitations and pursue career options that best fit your personality. For example, if your personality tends to avoid conflict, you may not be an effective manager; however, you may find yourself becoming a very effective counselor.

Good leaders understand that real opportunity exists to harness the entire organization and focus on people’s strengths, using these collective strengths in a team environment. This approach allows the organization to become energized and engaged with a mutual respect for others’ strengths and contributions. When leveraged properly the synergies of real team effort prevail, creating an environment where sixteen personalities become one.

There are many resources to help you better understand yourself and others. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses makes you more effective at your job and will allow you to better work with others’ personalities. To begin, check out the website and take the test to learn about yourself. Study your personal strengths and weaknesses as well as the strengths/weaknesses of other personality types. If you’d like to continue learning about this subject, you can read the book Please Understand Me by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates.

Mark Fisher, President