Andy Ingle

By Andy Ingle

In sports, you see it all the time. A collection of ‘elite’ players, often recruited at great expense, are beaten by a perceived ‘smaller’ team. Outrage follows, questions are asked, managers are fired… Where has it all gone wrong?

Often the answers are simple. People played out of position, players put into positions in which they’re uncomfortable, too many players with the same set of skills. What’s missing is a key ingredient of high performing teams: Balance.

It’s the same in business.

Teams stuffed with big thinkers will struggle to deliver. Teams full of analysers will struggle to extract themselves from the data and look at the bigger picture. Achieving diversity of background, outlook, skills, thinking and personality are key for 21st century leaders.

Understanding your team profile

You can evaluate the hard skills within your team on a skills matrix (e.g. the SFIA skills matrix for digital teams). Achieving balance isn’t just about hard skills though – it’s also about understanding the personalities within your team.

There are lots of tests you can do to develop personality profiles. These will help you better understand the personalities within your team, but often lack the simplicity and focus on the important things to make your team well balanced.

At Team Sterka, our MASTER framework for developing strong relationships identifies communication styles (and not personality types) across two dimensions:

  1. Problem solver – Relationship builder
  2. Thinking in the now – Thinking in the future
Achieving diversity of background, outlook, skills, thinking and personality are key for 21st century leaders.
Team Sterka communication style axis

Using simple techniques, we enable leaders and colleagues to understand more about each others’ communication preferences, motivations, likes and dislikes. Developing and maintaining this birds-eye view of team communication styles leads to:

Harmonious working environment

If we understand how we all like to communicate, we create better working relationships, improve communications and reduce toxic behaviour. Nobody’s communication preferences are right or wrong, but understanding how we like to communicate (and be communicated with) is a key part of creating psychological safety within the workplace.

Improved team performance

Sounds obvious, but giving tasks to the most suitable people – not just through skill sets, but through communication style and attitude – will deliver results and keep your team motivated.

Targeted recruitment strategy

Better understanding your team profile will help you to target the right people to recruit and fill the gaps. You might notice you’re missing key team members or your team skews heavily to a particular profile.

Understanding how we like to communicate is a key part of creating psychological safety within the workplace.

The ideal team profile

Sorry to say, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ team profile. Every team requires a unique mix of skills and what works for one won’t work so well for another.

What is important is developing diversity within our teams and developing an understanding of each other so we celebrate our differences whilst working together. Diversity of opinions and perspectives brings fresh thinking and improves team output. Having the full picture of communication styles enables leaders to introduce and maintain that diversity.

Think about how many work problems have ‘poor communication’ as a root cause? Understanding each other as people means your team will communicate better, understand the needs of others and develop a true awareness of yourself.

Diversity of opinions and perspectives brings fresh thinking and improves team output.

Team Sterka teaches the MASTER framework so you can build up strong relationships with everyone. Check out our full curriculum for more details.

Photos by Muyuan Ma and Jud Mackrill on Unsplash

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    Research‌ ‌carried‌ ‌out‌ ‌by‌ ‌Harvard‌ ‌University,‌ ‌the‌ ‌Carnegie‌ ‌Foundation‌ ‌and‌ Stanford‌ ‌Research‌ ‌Center‌ ‌found‌ ‌that‌ ‌85%‌ ‌of‌ ‌job‌ ‌success‌ ‌comes‌ ‌from‌ ‌having‌ well‐developed‌ ‌soft‌ ‌and‌ ‌people‌ ‌skills.‌