How to Get the Best Out of Every Member of Your Team Through Consideration of Individual Preferences

There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to managing a team, and the different personality types of your team members will have an impact on everything from how they structure their work to the way they react to feedback.

But what is the best approach when working with introverts and extroverts, and how can you adapt your management style in line with this to maximize the performance of your team?

Identifying different personality types

Before you can begin to adapt your management style, it’s important that you first identify the different personality types within your team.

One way to do this is by looking out for key indicators, such as working style, including how your team members respond and react in certain situations. Some people like to ideate and make decisions on the spot, others need time to reflect individually before reaching a comfortable conclusion. The key is understanding their innate preferences, and adjusting your interaction style with them accordingly.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test is an excellent tool for framing your team members’ personality types, and the Myers Briggs Step II assessment (as well as a customized interpretative report for each participant) is included in the price of our upcoming Great Conversations series in December.

The MBTI is an iconic, introspective self-report questionnaire indicating psychological preferences in how people make decisions and perceive the world around them. According to a recent survey, 89 per cent of Fortune 100 companies have used the MBTI to support individual and team self-awareness and achievement.

The assessment assigns individuals to a four-letter type, across four dichotomies: introversion or extraversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. One letter from each category is then taken to produce a four-letter test result, like “ESFP” or “INTJ.”

These four dichotomies can then be analyzed to reveal where you focus your attention, the way you take in information, the way you make decisions, and how you deal with the outer world.


Understanding behaviors

Once you have identified the different personality types within your team, you next need to understand what this means in terms of their working style and how this manifests in conversations.

Your personality type impacts everything from how you approach a task and respond to feedback to how you interact with your colleagues, and there are clear differences in the ways various personalities respond in these situations.

It’s important to remember that these traits aren’t an indicator of ability or skill, but by understanding the traits attributed to each personality type, you can begin to adapt your management style and behaviors to draw out the strengths of each team member.

Maximizing performance

In order to maximize the performance of your team, you need to put processes in place that accommodate the working styles of every single one of your team members.

The key to this is flexibility, and it is important to remember that an approach that might work for one person may not be right for someone else.

For example, when giving feedback to introverts, you might want to give them time to think it through and process this before expecting a reply. Conversely, extroverts often prefer to “think out loud” and talk through feedback.

By leveraging your knowledge of different personality types in your conversations with other team members, you will quickly learn which approach works best for each person.

By balancing the individual needs, strengths, and weaknesses within your team, you can build a workforce that is happier, more engaged, and more productive.

To find out more about how type, self-awareness, and innate operating preferences influence dialogue at work, sign up for our three-part Great Conversations series here.