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Postcards from Scotland

Improving team performance

Diagnosing and improving team strengths and reducing weaknesses

Where teams have definite preferences, the problem solving style of STs, SFs, NTs and NFs outlined earlier can be used to diagnose their likely strengths and weaknesses. So too can the section on organisations which follows.

Once teams are aware that certain preferences dominate at meetings, it is not difficult for that team to address the problem. Self-awareness is the key. For example, lets take a team solely comprising Ts who all prefer to make decisions logically and objectively rather than taking account of personal values and impact on people. Every one of these thinkers is capable of using feeling judgment and will use it routinely some of the time. So once a team of thinkers accept that some amount of attention to the feeling function will enhance their decision-making, the challenge for them is how they can ensure they bring feeling judgment into their decisions at least some of the time. Indeed it is relatively straight forward for teams to come up with satisfactory answers to this very problem.

Building relationships within teams

Developing or enhancing team effectiveness often involves improving relationships between team members. In other words, it is about improving communication, trust, and respect within the team. An earlier section, which deals generally with building inter-personal relationships, is of great relevance to teams as it is looking at common points of conflict between different personality types and suggesting ways round these kinds of problems.

Balancing a team's preferences

Teams where E predominates – Need to ensure that proper time is spent reflecting (perhaps in writing) on what they want to achieve and how it can be achieved and resist the rush to just start “doing”. They may also need to restrain their tendency to discuss matters to death and hold too many meetings.
Teams where I predominates – Need to guard against inertia and the dangers of inadequate communication. The low energy which can result in a team dominated by introverts can feel too flat and boring even for the Is. Socialising together from time to time can be helpful.
Teams where S predominates – Need to spend some time brainstorming possibilities and continually forcing themselves to look at the need to innovate in a fast-changing world. Trying to see the “big picture” rather than their own small part of the territory is also a useful discipline.
Teams where N predominates - Need to reign back on their desire to produce ideas and innovative solutions and be aware of the tendency to become bored with ideas before they even get off the ground. They must also continually force themselves to look at the practicality of their ideas.
Teams where T predominates – Need to take account of how people will be affected by their logical decisions and to amend if they see, for example, that morale and motivation issues could undermine the rationale of the decision.
Teams where F predominates – Need to be prepared to stand back and make “tough,” decisions when necessary. They must also be prepared to jeopardise harmony to allow conflict to come to the surface from time to time. 
Teams where J predominates – Need to guard against the temptation to make decisions too quickly, often on the basis of insufficient information which they then stick by at all costs. They also need to ask themselves if it would sometimes be helpful to allow for flexibility and spontaneity rather than wanting to follow rules.
Teams where P predominates – Need to guard against the dangers of information overload – too many possibilities, ideas, statistics or whatever – and not enough emphasis on follow through. They must also ensure they structure their meetings effectively and allocate hard, but realistic, deadlines for completing tasks.


© Carol Craig

MBTI, Myers-Briggs, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries; OPP Ltd. has exclusive rights to these trademarks in the U.K.

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