Nearly everyone has been on a team that has simply fallen flat. When that happens, our natural instinct is to assume that the team’s failure was due to a poor choice of team members.
But have you ever considered that perhaps it wasn’t who was on the team that made the difference, but what role they played? People have two roles within a team: functional and psychological. Functional roles are defined by a person’s position or title – chief executive, engineer, accountant, etc. Psychological roles are roles to which people naturally gravitate based on their personalities.
There are five psychological roles to which people naturally gravitate:
- Results (High HPI Ambition) – Results-oriented people seek leadership roles, direct the team, and drive others toward business goals. They may be overly competitive with their peers or subordinates and are not inclined to seek input.
- Relationships (High HPI Interpersonal Sensitivity and Sociability) – Relationships team members are perceptive and cooperative, but can be overly focused on getting along with others rather than results.
- Process (High HPI Prudence) – Process-oriented team members are procedurally driven, organized, and attentive to details and implementation. However, they may be seen as rigid and inflexible and may miss the big picture.
- Innovation (High HPI Inquisitive) – Innovation team members are imaginative and focused on the big picture. They may have difficulty with practicality because they prefer ideas to implementation.
- Pragmatism (Low HPI Interpersonal Sensitivity and Inquisitive) – Pragmatism team members are practical, not easily swayed by emotions, and comfortable confronting conflict; however, they may be seen as ignoring people’s feelings, and the big picture.
For a team to succeed, psychological roles have to be balanced in two ways. First, a team needs to have complimentary fit, which is to say enough diversity among its members to fill every psychological role. Teams also need to have enough individuals to provide a critical mass in each psychological role.
To find out more about individuals’ psychological roles, and how personality affects team performance, check out our complimentary eBook, The Truth About Teams.