by Guest Blogger – Jodie Nevid

There’s an old saying; a team will always outwit, outplay and outperform an individual…..Really? Always? I am not so sure! Team Building 101 – we have all learnt this one; the secret to a successful team is to bring together a group of people with a broad range of styles and skill sets. It can be a recipe for phenomenal success, however many teams allow all those differences, in other words their ‘strengths’, turn into a massive weakness!

There is nothing more satisfying than being part of a team that is operating like a well-oiled machine.  Everyone is playing to their strengths, supporting each other and feeling energised and satisfied. I love being part of a high performing team like that. On the flip side there is nothing more exhausting and demotivating than being part of a dysfunctional team that is fuelled by infighting, back stabbing and bitchiness. Have you ever landed in, or contributed to a team like that? We spend so much of our valuable time with the people at work and in many cases even more time than we do with our own families, so isn’t it worth learning a bit about each other so that we can get along and make the most of that time?

From my experience the biggest problems within teams are people based not task based and they usually stem from a lack of understanding. Research shows that by nature we are indeed all different.  The way we think, behave, make decisions, perform tasks, manage our time, and communicate differs from person to person, yet teams are formed to pursue a common goal.

The problem: Most of us judge others based on how we would respond in any given circumstance; for example an individual who is forthright and assertive has no problems expressing their opinions, however they may be frustrated by others who are less forthright and assertive because they don’t speak up and say what’s really on their mind. One thinks to themself; “If they have issues they should just speak up… I would!” The other less assertive team member is probably thinking “What’s the point of expressing my opinion, it will only be argued against” It’s a common scenario where everyone is making assumptions based on what they would do and no one is stopping to think about the intentions or meaning behind the other persons actions.

The solution: For teams to achieve that wonderful feeling of operating like a well-oiled machine they need to open up and take the time to really understand each other. There are plenty of ways you can approach this and there’s a whole range of fantastic profiling tools to choose from depending on what your needs are. The exciting thing about taking a team on this journey is seeing all the light bulb moments as people look around the room with a new found understanding and respect for their colleagues that previously drove them up the wall! This type of exercise lightens the mood, allowing everyone to laugh at, rather than be frustrated by the little idiosyncrasies within the team.  Individual realisations are just as powerful, people learn why they love or hate particular parts of their role and find insight into how they can play to their strengths. I think it was Martin Seligman that said “the secret to happiness is find out what you do well and do more of it!”

At BRS we use a range of profiling tools including; MBTI, DISC, and Facet5, we have an approach to suit any budget and circumstance.  If you want more information about what tool to use when click here. What is your favourite profiling tool to use?  Let us know in the comments below.

Sometimes all it takes to turn your team into a winner is a little understanding!