It’s no secret that businesses in today’s environment must be agile. “Business agility” is defined as the ability to make quick changes as customer demands and the business environment change.
It is also known that many successful management teams are made up of individuals with strong personalities.
What happens when these two dynamics clash?
In a word: trouble.
In real life they do often clash.
What happens when they do clash? A recent study* found that people with strong personalities are less able to adapt to rapid changes in the business environment.
What Makes A Strong Personality?
Many see strong personality traits as being the same as “talent” or just being good at something. This is, obviously, a good thing and a great asset in certain cases.
What makes it a liability is that talent and strong ability in an area tends to make people rely on that strength too much. The strong personality becomes inflexible.
For example, an extroverted person has trouble sitting back and letting others talk in a meeting even when she is not being helpful to the discussion, while the introvert prefers to be quiet in a meeting, even when he has a great and helpful idea.
Also, when we have a strong personality (talent) in an area, we want to use that talent to solve every problem, even though many times there may be better ways to tackle the issue.
Why This Is a Problem
The study found that as we might guess, teams with stronger personalities were more rigid and less able to adjust to changing environments. As one of the researchers said, “Teams that had markedly strong personality traits were more inflexible than teams with less markedly strong traits.”
How Can We Solve This Problem?
There are two things that will help us out of this situation.
1. Knowledge. Usually, personality traits are the strongest when people are unaware of them and just work and interact on “autopilot.” Understanding yourself and your team will help reduce this risk.
2. Teamwork Training. If a team can learn to work together instead of being dominated by a few members who have stronger personalities, they will usually be more flexible and able to change more rapidly. Teams can be trained to function at a high level.
At Professional Gulf Consulting, we can offer the tools your team needs to understand themselves better, work together better, and function at a higher level. We are passionate about helping teams achieve their best performance.
*Jan Ketil Arnulf. Organizational change capacity and composition of management teams: A
visualization of how personality traits may restrain team adaptability. Team Performance Management, 2012; 18 (7): 433