Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Working together; it’s such a simple concept, and vital for work teams. However, good teamwork is often lacking in groups. Take a moment to fathom how much could be accomplished in the world if individuals were just better at working together.

But what is it that makes one a good team player? Creativity? Intelligence? Enthusiasm? Many are quick to offer advice regarding what contributes to effective team performance.

Academic research has honed in on a few personality characteristics that have been consistently associated with team performance. Higher levels of conscientiousness (attention to detail and adherence to rules and processes), higher levels of agreeableness (behavior that is friendly, tolerant, and accommodating in social situations), and higher levels of emotional stability (characterized by behavior that is even tempered, resilient, and optimistic) have all been associated with enhanced team performance.

But with approximately 6.94 billion individuals, we typically don’t have the luxury of choosing with whom we interact. When this is the case, we can still benefit greatly by understanding the pros and cons of on different personality dimensions and how those different characteristics work against or complement one another in a team setting.

Someone with high attention to detail may at times get lost in the weeds and adhere rigidly to processes and procedures; however, someone with this tendency might be great to have on the team when you need to make sure that little things get done correctly. As another example, you may have a team member who isn’t very competitive, but this person may work very well as a follower and contributor on a team. Finally, someone on the team may not be highly inquisitive and good at brainstorming ideas, but he or she may be good at focusing on practical solutions and accomplishing the task at hand.

Understanding the strengths and potential risks associated with an individual’s personality can significantly help the rest of the team work better with the individual and work more effectively as a team.

Like puzzle pieces put together to form a beautiful nature scene, organizations rely on everyone coming together to overcome challenges, grow the business, and make healthy profits so the organization will prosper. While we may not be able to assess everyone’s personality and interact only with good team players, much can be gained when we are simply aware of others’ personality and tendencies and learn to leverage this knowledge to enhance team and organizational performance.