Meet Bill, VP of Operations at a regional manufacturer. Bill spends a lot of time observing the behaviors and interactions of his team members. As the leader of a seasoned team (all of his core employees have been with him for several years), he’s had time to get to know each individual and the idiosyncrasies peculiar to each member. He is certain he knows his staff and doesn’t believe there’s any value in them taking a Behavioral Assessment. After all, he knows them… or so he thinks. Following is Bill’s explanation of three of his team members: Mary, Tim, and Karen and a behind the scenes perspective of what is really going on.
To quote Bill, “Mary is goal-oriented and produces innovative ideas when needed but can be a little slow to initiate these ideas. She responds well to challenges and rallies the team to complete a project. She seems to get a little frazzled when it comes to the constant changes we face and has little patience for other team members getting off course. But she is happy with her team and is willing to work to improve.” Behind the scenes: What Bill doesn’t know is that Mary is increasingly unhappy and is looking for another position.
Bill continues, “Tim is extraverted, assertive, and can be challenging at times. He is goal-oriented but tends to miss deadlines. He is ambitious and has innovative ideas but struggles with the details. Because of his contributions, we’ve been able to expand and improve our product line. Even though he has difficulty delivering his work on time, he’s an asset to the team and enjoys interacting with co-workers.” Behind the scenes: From Tim’s perspective Mary is holding the team back and he is frustrated by delays caused from her excessive attention to detail.
According to Bill, “Karen, much like Tim is extraverted, assertive, and can be challenging at times. She’s a high producer, but she tends to jump from one idea to the next. She is eager to start new projects without completing those already on her plate.” Behind the scenes: Unbeknownst to Bill, Karen is extremely frustrated with Mary’s focus on the details and tasks instead of the big picture. Karen moves quickly, but her competing ideas are causing friction with Tim.
As a leader, Bill tries to be accommodating and take each of his team member’s personalities into consideration. Although there is a fair amount of butting heads and he feels there is room for improvement, he’s confident his team members are working on it and are committed to the team and each other. What Bill can’t see are the underlying motivations, drives, and preferences causing friction and frustration within his team.
While Bill thinks he knows his team, without actual people data Bill is only guessing. We each have a preference for how we relate to the world around us. People have different styles – a natural inclination toward how they prefer to work, communicate, and make decisions. Some of us are more collaborative than others; some prefer a stable environment while others like variety; some are agreeable while others are more assertive; and we each have a preference for how we conform to rules and structure.
It’s important to understand the behavioral preferences not only of each individual but that of the team as a whole. Beyond understanding individual preferences, understanding your team type can help your team work better together and succeed. I use a tool called the Behavioral Assessment from Predictive Index to help my clients discover the individual preferences, motivations, and drives of each team member as well as the collective preferences, motivations and drives of the team. From here, I help my clients look at the work to be done and align their teams in a way that they are getting the best out of each team member and the whole team.
By leveraging this data, Bill can really get to know his staff and their preferences (some of which they may not be aware of themselves). With this people data, Bill can align his team and ensure they are poised for success. There are 17 Reference Profiles and 9 Team Types within the Predictive Index model that offer these insights in a way that’s easy to understand.
Let’s take a look again at Mary through the lens of her Behavioral Profile:
If Mary takes the Behavioral Assessment, Bill will learn that Mary is an Artisan, a “Stabilizing” profile. Those falling within this profile tend to be steady, detailed, and work well within structured environments. Mary does not initiate her ideas quickly because she needs time to reflect and look at all angles to make sure this is the best course of action. She has little patience for team members going off in different directions and is constantly trying to reel them in to follow established processes. She struggles with change because she craves structure and works best in a stable environment.
If we collate each team member’s Behavioral Assessment to determine a Team Type, we learn that the reason Mary is becoming frustrated with her team is because her team is an Exploring Team (influenced by both Tim and Karen having Maverick profiles). An Exploring Team tends to be ambitious and eager to start new challenges. They work quickly, at times overlooking important details. They often jump from one idea to the next with little reflection of best practice. Tim and Karen have their own frustrations with Mary (and each other) due to their own preferences and reference profile.
Armed with the information from the Behavioral Assessment, Bill can use Mary’s strengths to balance her teams’ blind spots, and Exploring Team strengths can be used to leverage Mary’s caution areas. The result is a well-rounded, productive team with fulfilled employees.
The Behavioral Assessments are a scientifically proven tool from the Predictive Index that enable leaders to align business strategy with talent strategy. Would you like to see what this might reveal about your team members and team? Please reach out – I would love to help!
This article was originally published by Adrienne Guerrero on LinkedIn.