· Eve Church  · 5 min read

4 Personalities You Want in Your Team & One You Don't!

Teams can have complex dynamics and if one or more people aren’t working well together it can have a knock-on effect on productivity and motivation.

Have you ever wondered why some teams seem to get along well, get things done and consistently deliver results and why others seem not to? It could all be down to the roles people play within them.

Teams can have complex dynamics and if one or more people aren’t working well together it can have a knock-on effect on productivity and motivation.

So what can you do as someone who works in Human Resources or who is a business leader if you want to increase the chances of a team being successful?

You need to take a closer look at the members within the team and identify if you have all the right roles covered.

Of course, one thing to keep in mind is that each person in a team may be perfectly capable of playing more than one role and that at the end of the day, we’re all humans and are a little more complicated than that one title.

The 4 personalities you want in your team

The Watcher: We’re going to start off with the watcher although saying that you definitely want them on your team might be a bit of a stretch.

The watcher waits to see if a new process, method, project, or way of doing something will work or fail before getting fully onboard.

Let’s say you’re implementing a new HRIS system and your teams can use it to book their own time off, there will probably always be someone who insists on still filling out the physical form manually and printing it out to get it signed off - at least at first. That’s the watcher.

Should the HRIS be a success and the majority of your employees are happy to adopt it, the watcher will likely be onboard with it too.

The Cheerleader: That positive force who always seems to be able to see the bright side of things, even when everyone else is having a bad day.

The cheerleader is supportive, gets behind new processes (or software solutions!) and champions them.

The cheerleader may not necessarily be a manager or someone with the authority to implement new systems or approve new procedures but you definitely want them on your team.

The Helper: As the name suggests, this is a valuable team member as they’re a true team player.

They are willing to help, whether it’s staying late to meet a deadline, making the first round of coffee of the day, or picking up the slack when the team is a member down.

All teams need helpers and like the cheerleader, they’re usually positive, productive and willing to go the extra mile.

The Teacher: The teacher on a team can be identified as the person with expertise or experience, whether that’s in terms of knowing the ins and outs of how the company runs, or using a piece of equipment or system.

What sets teachers apart and makes them such a valuable person is their willingness to share their knowledge or experience and pass it on to other members of the team.

The teacher understands that for the team to be effective and efficient, everyone needs to have access to the right knowledge and tools.

And the one personality you DON’T want on your team

The Cynic: Sure, a healthy dash of cynicism can be useful in some ways, but if your team cynic could also be described as a complainer, a naysayer, a hater or complete downer, then you need to tread carefully.

If you’re a team leader or manager you’ll probably find that you constantly need to be proving yourself to them and justifying your every decision - something that is tiring and unnecessary.

And if this person is having a detrimental effect on team morale, it could be time for HR to have a chat with them.

Should you hire people to fill certain roles?

If you’re creating a team from scratch or hiring new members for an existing team, it is well worth specifically looking for these personalities to strengthen your organization.

When it comes to the cynic, obviously you will want to avoid hiring someone who is clearly a negative force, but it is worth bearing in mind that having someone on the team who can think objectively is very much a good thing.

The teachers, helpers and cheerleaders are all great - but having someone who can balance the team out and weigh up potential pitfalls or identify possible problems is valuable too.

How to help your teams communicate better

Being able to work together in one cohesive team is crucial and collaboration and great communication are a huge part of a team’s success.

It’s therefore important that you lay the groundwork for your people to be able to talk to one another - something that is especially vital if you have remote or hybrid teams working for your organization.

No matter what role they play in the team (even if they’re not actually aware of their role!) coworkers need a platform to be able to communicate with one another efficiently.

Whether you use a team Slack channel, a private group page on social media, or a WhatsApp group, this also plays into creating a sense of community. Having some guidelines around online communications should also be considered, for example:

  • Ask team members to commit to constructive and professional communications and refrain from unpleasant or discriminatory language
  • Make sure communication is consistent. Team leaders may need to step in to ensure that people are communicating and that important info isn’t being lost in breakaway groups or one on one chats
  • Likewise, while a bit of fun banter is good for team spirit, ensure professional communications aren’t being drowned in a sea of gossip, jokes or memes

The 4 personalities you want in your team: conclusion

Building a successful team doesn’t happen overnight and it might take you a while to get the balance of personalities right. Eight cynics and one cheerleader? That might not be the best configuration of people!

But now you have a little more insight into the personality types you should be looking out for, you’ll have a good foundation on which to build.

Just don’t forget to identify your own role if you’re a part of the team too!

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