This blog post is part of our Truity at Work series for those who are new to people management. In these posts, we’re creating useful content for managers and teams alike, helping you to understand personality, improve communication, and navigate conflict and change with ease. For an overview of the series, start with our introductory post here.
Team mapping—the act of building a profile of your team based on their personality traits—can be useful in a number of ways. It can help you adapt your communication style with each team member, to assign tasks based on natural talents and blind spots, and craft a more tailored career development plan. But it can also help you assess how your team’s “personality” aligns with your operational objectives.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how you can develop a profile for your team and the different ways you can use it.
Choosing an assessment tool
There are many different personality based assessment tools available. Each tool offers a different perspective and ranges from simple to complex in the information it provides. It pays to do some research upfront before deciding which to invest in.
Take each test yourself, reviewing the report to see what it contains, and then evaluate which one will benefit you most as a manager, and your team. Ask your team for feedback on the options, too.
At Truity, we offer workplace specific assessments for Typefinder, DISC , Enneagram and the Big Five. For the purposes of this overview, we’ll just look at Typefinder.
Engaging your team
Once you have decided on an assessment, it’s time to engage your team.
Employees can get a bit nervous about how the information in these assessments will be used. To avoid these feelings, answer their questions about the process and confidentiality up front. As each assessment process differs slightly, from the initial email to the delivery of the results, it’s useful to know how it works for your chosen assessment. Talk your team through the process, letting them know what’s confidential and what’s shared and with whom.
And, always remind them participation is optional, that you would appreciate it if they did, but they don't have to.
To put these insights into practice, individuals and teams benefit from discussions and workshops to see how to apply them to their working environment. There are lots of different ways to do this. Here are some suggestions.
Building your team profile
The Typefinder provides 16 personality types, which can also be divided into the four dimensions or preferences.
Let’s start by creating a type map. Draw a large square with 16 boxes inside it. Instead of dropping the 16 types in randomly, make the two left hand columns for Sensing types, and the right two columns for Intuition types. And for each, make one column for Thinking types and the other for Feeling types.
Then designate the top two rows for Introverts, and the bottom two for Extraverts. And for each, make one row for Judgers and the other for Perceivers. Then, just pop the corresponding type into each box, like this:
Now let’s break it down into preferences and overall types. Based on the team’s Typefinder results, write each person’s name in the corresponding box.
For each preference, which is higher?
Extraverts or Introverts?
Sensing or Intuition?
Thinking or Feeling?
Judging or Perceiving?
- Combining the four preferred preferences, what is the team’s operational style? (which may be different from the most common type)
- Which overall type is most common?
- What type is least common?
- Which types are not represented?
Analyzing the results
Now it’s time to consider what this all means. Reflect on this from an operational and a strategic perspective. In essence, don’t assume anything is wrong with the team, instead see its strengths and challenges through this lens, and observe how they align with the team’s objectives and performance.
Here are some questions to help you identify insights about the team:
- Which type is most represented? How does this influence the team?
- What is the balance between Extraversion and Introversion, and what significance does that have for the team?
- What is the balance between Sensing and Intuition, and what significance does that have for the team?
- What is the balance between Thinking and Feeling, and what significance does that have for the team?
- What is the balance between Judging and Perceiving, and what significance does that have for the team?
- How are you seeing those play out in the team currently?
We can also apply this to more specific issues, such as:
- What are the strengths of the team, based on the assessment? Do they line up in real life?
- What does the team naturally do well?
- What are the team’s challenges? Do they mirror real life?
- Who on the team has the type or experience to make up for those blind spots?
- Where might conflict occur? What issues is the team likely to be split around?
- How does this team deal with change?
- How do the team’s strengths align with its operational objectives?
(If you need more information about the strengths and challenges of each preference and the 16 types overall, refer to the report for each type).
Based on the team’s top four preferences, it may be useful to describe their operational style in a few sentences. For example, if the team’s top four preferences are ESFJ, you may describe the team’s operational style as follows:
“The team is warm, enthusiastic and welcoming. They like to help others and are always focused on who needs our help and how we can provide it. They are responsible, get the work done and make sure everyone on the team is on-board before moving forward. However, they are slow to air conflict, and can talk to me before they talk to each other. They don’t always take into account the financial impact of helping our customers, and at times, they can be a bit too talkative and struggle to complete individual tasks as they prefer to do things as a team.”
This process of stepping back can help you as a manager decide where to invest your time and energy. It can help you decide which skills to nurture or bring into the team, what to include in people’s development plans, what projects to assign people to, and what courses you want to send people on.
Using your map to manage people
Now that you have taken the bird's eye view of your team, it’s time to apply what you’ve learned to managing each individual team member.
Let’s start by looking at your type.
- As a team leader, what are your preferences?
- What are the implications of them for your team?
- Which team members share your preferences?
- Do you find them easy or hard to manage?
- Which team members have completely opposite preferences to you?
- Do you find them easy or hard to manage?
It is often easier to manage people who share your preference, or at least three of your preferences, because you have a similar way of processing information and prioritizing tasks. People who share two or less preferences with you, may find it harder to understand your motivations and may feel you are overlooking important information or not making the best decisions.
While it initially feels challenging to adapt to managing people who don’t share your preferences, they are a gift to your team. People who don’t see the world the way you do can cover your blind spots (if you let them) and can help the team produce a much better result overall.
So for each person on the team, those like you and not like you, write down three strengths, challenges and motivations from their report. Make a note of their communication style, and the kind of questions you might ask them to make sure they aren't left out of the conversation.
Then meet with each person individually, to talk about their strengths and whether they are being effectively used at work through individual task assignments or team activities. Explore their challenges and how they are currently playing out at work. Discuss how you might work together, based on both of your types and preferences, and what goals might need to go on their development plan.
Team profiles can provide managers with a range of actionable insights, whether that’s how to shape and guide the team overall, or how to communicate and coach each person individually. The insights can help you become a more adaptable, collaborative manager and improve the team’s overall performance.
To learn more about our research-backed personality assessments for the workplace, visit our Truity@Work Testing for Business page. Designed for busy professionals, our all-in-one platform lets you get started on your team-building journey in minutes.