What are the real benefits to psychometric profiling for your team?
The benefits and problems of diversity in teams
I don’t know about you, but I have always found that one major benefit of working in a team are the opportunities that bring to work with people who think, talk and behave differently to me. Each team member brings something different to the vibe of the team, from decision making, ideas and even managing timescales. Sometimes the difference is very clearly a practical skill they have that I don’t, moreover, it’s a different way of seeing or approaching the problem. Whilst I might not go away and do things exactly as they would, I now have a new idea or approach to consider which I can adapt to how I solve an issue.
Therefore, the more diverse the team members are the more options you as a team member have and ultimately as a business, to solve issues from the simple to the complex. The old TEAM adage ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’ is in theory a major advocate for the diversity of team members. But what if those team members don’t communicate well? What if instead of sharing ideas and listening to other perspectives, they dig their heels in and see other ways of doing things as a threat. Or maybe they just can’t hear the value of what their colleague is saying because they say it in a way they can’t hear or understand?
That’s where a lot of the benefit of diversity is lost. It's also the reason many businesses employ a certain ‘type’ of employee. They look for traits they know have worked before, make quick decisions and display a confident outgoing manner. Maybe show concern for others and don’t make rash decisions. There is nothing wrong with searching for what you know works, but surely this can be limiting, after all, who among us has client or candidate bases full of the same behaviour and communication styles. Who among us deals with businesses that are all the same in the way they make decisions, negotiate or work to timescales?
It's also worth considering that just because someone displays the ‘traits’ you seek, that doesn’t mean they will work well with others like them. I know I have made hires in the past and included colleagues in the decision process and we have all believed they would get on like a house on fire, only to find out they didn’t. The similarities caused conflict. They both wanted to win, be top dog or be seen as the one that came up with the ideas, the one that retained the client or finalised the negotiation.
So, what’s all this got to do with psychometric profiling?
My belief is that profiling allows people to understand their behaviour and communication style. It gives them a chance to get under their own skin and understand how they are likely to behave in certain situations. To help them understand the behaviour patterns they often display and deploy. This information is a very powerful tool and disseminated in the right way, profiling information allows individual team members to see where their behaviour and communication style is working for them and importantly where it may be working against them. It helps them understand situations where they should ‘dial-up’ a behaviour and situations with people that they would benefit from ‘dialling down’ that behaviour trait.
My approach is always to start by ensuring people understand their own behaviour and its effects on those around them (individuals, teams, clients, candidates), and then to move them to a space where they look to understand how their colleagues' style influences them. Again, where it has a positive impact and where it may have negative effects on them. Once you understand these issues, adapting is a natural step. Learning to adapt and ‘meet the needs’ of colleagues and clients is really powerful. Hearing your message becomes easier.
Underlying the principle of the profiling system I use (Insights Discovery) is that there is no right place to be, no style is better than the other, it’s about how you use your style and energies to get the best results.
How can that work in practice?
Take this example relating to email. This shows how to ‘meet the needs’ of the 4 main colour energies of the Insights model. You can clearly see that depending on which ‘colour energy’ the recipient leads with, structuring your email differently or including a bit of each style, will benefit your audience.
Team members who understand themselves are better equipped to work cohesively with their colleagues.
We all know that the relationship and ability of our employees to work effectively and communicate well is key to having a thriving business. A lot of ‘issues’ in the workplace are born out of not understanding the other person. As an example, someone who is quiet and doesn’t speak up in meetings could be seen as disinterested, difficult or not committed to solutions? Whereas in reality, they may be needing time to consider options and only like to contribute when they have something of value to say or may simply not have been given the space to air their opinion. Once colleagues understand behaviour traits and preferences they may be able to see that a person just needs to be given time to consider their thoughts and not be rushed into decisions. Or they need more facts to come to a conclusion or just need to be asked what they think. Suddenly the stubborn awkward colleague is seen as the thoughtful considered one. The noisy self-promoter is seen as quick thinking and confident! The harmony and business value that comes out of unlocking this understanding is immense.
How will that bring me more business?
Understanding your own behaviour and communication style and being able to spot those traits in others will help you know how to approach a client in a way they want and therefore secure sales. We all know that some clients respond better to testimonials and evidence, whilst others respond better to stories of success. Being able to spot those traits in clients near the beginning of your journey will help facilitate stronger relationships earlier on. It will help you ‘talk their language’ and present your service in a way that appeals to them. It pushes on the feelings of liking your business and trusting you. Once your team begin to understand what traits to look for in clients and candidates, it will give them clues as to how best to communicate. They can, as a team, swap ideas and approaches that work for them. It's not necessarily about matching client styles to consultants, that is not always practical; what is possible though is to educate consultants to be able to adapt their behaviour and communication style to suit client and candidate needs. Profiling helps them ‘flex’ their communication muscles.
Isn’t profiling about pigeonholing?
Absolutely not! I couldn’t disagree more with this myth. I truly believe that profiling opens us up to understanding how we would usually act, think and behave. It also opens our eyes to other behaviour and style choices. We all have the ability to adapt and tap into other styles and traits, that ability is facilitated by understanding the traits and your own preferences. I mentioned earlier there is no one better style or preference, it's about understanding your own style, knowing where that works for you and adapting when you feel you need to. The power comes when you apply this knowledge to work better with others understanding their style and adapting to suit.
Please see my follow up blog next month on the TEAM website
Some brief info about the profiling I use:
I use the Insights Discovery model. It's based on Jungian psychology and works on explaining key behaviour and communication traits by profiling people in ‘colour’ preferences, showing dominant and least dominant preferences. The common language used with the model makes it easily accessible to individuals and teams making it a powerful tool in the progress of team building and understanding and development. Once undertaken you get personal 36-page reports which include a sales chapter showing the strengths in each stage of the sales process of individuals and where they could improve. You also get access to a team wheel which shows where the strengths and gaps may be in your teams. Facilitation can be done face to face or virtually via Zoom or Teams.
Please CLICK HERE for further information about Insights Discovery Profiling.
For details of my new TEAM Discount please CLICK HERE
Susan Tracey - Director Lifeworks Consulting