Organising teams according to personalities can yield significant benefits for companies and one framework that provides valuable insights into team dynamics is the Belbin Team Role Theory. Developed by Dr Meredith Belbin, this theory identifies nine distinct team roles that individuals tend to adopt within a group setting. By understanding and leveraging these roles, organisations can create well-balanced teams that capitalise on the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses of each team member.
Citing the importance of the theory in terms of team building, Kamlesh Dangi, group head-HR, InCred, explains, “The idea behind Belbin’s model is that for a team to be truly effective, it needs a combination of all nine types, each fulfilling their specific roles.”
“Having diverse personalities allows for a greater focus on communication among team members, with each person assuming different roles based on their unique personality traits.”
Kamlesh Dangi, group head-HR, InCred
For instance, the presence of a hustler within a team plays a specific role in driving productivity. However, if the entire team consists solely of hustlers, the effectiveness of the team would be compromised. The absence of diverse personality types can lead to conflicts and a lack of attention to important details, resulting in suboptimal outcomes. Therefore, it is important to incorporate different personality types to create an effective team.
As Sharad Verma, VP and CHRO, Iris Softwares, opines, “Having different personalities in a team benefits the company, because a portfolio of people with diverse interests, strengths and preferences can help create a positive environment and achieve more. This results in diversity of thoughts, and an environment where people respect but challenge each other and much greater opportunities to learn from divergent perspectives.”
Moreover, “By recognising and utilising the dominant personality traits required for each role, companies can effectively match individuals with roles that align with their strengths and weaknesses. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, higher productivity and reduced turnover rates,” points out Ranjan Banerjee, group head-HR, Berger Paints.
For instance, individuals with extroverted personalities may thrive in sales or client-facing roles, while individuals with introverted personalities may excel in research and analytical roles. Individuals with high emotional intelligence may be well suited for leadership roles, while those who are process driven may be a better fit for operations roles.
“By recognising and utilising the dominant personality traits required for each role, companies can effectively match individuals with roles that align with their strengths and weaknesses. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, higher productivity and reduced turnover rates.”
Ranjan Banerjee, group head-HR, Berger Paints
Furthermore, certain personality types are more suitable to specific roles and requirements of a job. For instance, “highly achievement oriented and outgoing people who are good at relationship building typically do well in sales. On the other hand, people who are creative, imaginative and possess the ability to play with words and ideas typically thrive in creative professions. Similarly, those who are highly empathetic and people sensitive are suitable for human resources and leadership roles, which require managing people,” adds Verma.
An understanding of how individual personality traits influence communication styles and preferences is crucial in enhancing team effectiveness.
Just as opposites attract, diverse personalities also complement and support each other in assignments that require a diversity of personality types such as creating and launching a new project or initiative; an organisation change initiative; a sales or recruitment drive, and so on.
Citing an example, Verma explains that people who are naturally strong at ideation and design are required in the initial stages of conceptualisation. After that, people who are good at detailing and are very quality oriented are required to ensure the product is of ace quality. Then comes the need for good project managers, as well as execution and sales people to take the product to the market and to ensure it is a commercial success.”
“Having diverse personalities allows for a greater focus on communication among team members, with each person assuming different roles based on their unique personality traits,” asserts Dangi.
“Having different personalities in a team benefits the company, because a portfolio of people with diverse interests, strengths and preferences can help create a positive environment and achieve more. This results in diversity of thoughts, and an environment where people respect but challenge each other and much greater opportunities to learn from divergent perspectives.”
Sharad Verma, VP and CHRO, Iris Softwares
“However, in some cases, teams may experience gaps or overlaps in personality traits, which can lead to conflicts or imbalances,” enunciates Banerjee.
He explains with an example — “A team may have too many dominant personalities, leading to power struggles or a lack of consensus. Alternatively, a team may have too many introverts, leading to difficulty in communication or brainstorming. Therefore, it is important for companies to recognise and address these issues in order to ensure that the team maintains a balanced and diverse skill set.”
“Potential conflicts and challenges may arise within a team due to contrasting personalities. However, it’s essential for the leader to effectively communicate that individuals are performing different roles based on their unique personalities,” believes Dangi. When team members appreciate how different individuals are contributing in their own ways, conflicts tend to decrease.
Companies can also take several ways into account in managing these diverse personalities and fostering an inclusive and respectful team environment.
“Companies can create such culture by awareness, inculcating skills and building a positive culture where each of the personality types feels at home and bring their best to work and realises their potential,” emphasises Verma.
Additionally, “It’s vital for the leaders and team managers to assess the specific objectives and requirements of the team and then allocate tasks accordingly, taking into account the diverse strengths and behaviours of team members,” points out Dangi. For instance, if someone excels in managing relationships, it would be beneficial to assign them tasks that align with their strengths in this area. By doing so, the team can optimise performance and ensure that each member is capable of delivering their assigned tasks effectively.
“Companies may also provide team members with training on personality types and communication styles, encouraging open and respectful communication, promoting individual strengths and contributions, and offering opportunities for feedback and self-reflection,” asserts Banerjee.
Moreover, companies can also prioritise hiring practices that seek out individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences, ensuring that all personality types are represented within the team.
“It is extremely important for companies to focus on creating an inclusive and respectful culture with tolerance and appreciation for diverse personalities. If they fail to do so, a culture of ‘yes people’ and people who are clones of each other will prevail, suppressing new ideas and innovation,” concludes Verma.