Team Building and Temperament

Lion and LambA photo of a Lion and the Zebra taking refreshment side by side from a pool of water, inspired me to reflect on the different personalities and temperaments that need to come together to create effective teams.

For teams, it is often said that "diversity is our strength". This is more than a cliché but it doesn't happen automatically. Bringing together a group of individuals with different needs, interest sand values can be a challenge. It's important for teams to pause from time to time and reflect on how to harness these differences for the benefit of the team.

We have previously discussed the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) that provides insight into the thinking preferences and interaction styles of individual team members. Remember, it's just one tool. Sometimes people get quite doctrinaire and strident about instruments, however, as people are complex and dynamic, no one model or tool can fully capture group dynamics or the essence of any individual.

An experienced facilitator can debrief the results of the selected instruments to focus on communication style, sources of misunderstanding, effective ways of expressing appreciation, leadership strengths, and managing differences. Event planners can use a facilitator to debrief theses instruments for client meetings or retreats and to enhance the effectiveness of their own teams.

Today, we'll take a brief look at the Keirsey-Bates Temperament Types. It's based on Jung's 4 archetypes. Jung believed that people are different in fundamental ways. Here are the Jung temperaments and the percentage of the population that falls into each.

  • Extroversion (E) - 75% vs Introversion (I) - 25%
  • Sensation (S)  - 75% vs Intuition (N) - 25%
  • Thinking (T) - 50% vs Feeling (F) - 50%
  • Perceiving (P) - 50% vs Judging (J) - 50%

Think of each as falling along a continuum. For example, no one is fully extroverted or introverted. It's a matter of degree.

It is interesting to note that Jung wasn't the first to bring this perspective to human understanding. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine (as in the ‎Hippocratic Oath), also came up with similar personality temperaments.

The Keirsey-Bates Character and Temperament Sorter combines the letters to come up with 4 temperaments that are related to those developed by Jung and Hippocrates. To see where you fall:

Take the Keirsey-Bates Temperament Sorter test. 





Whether it's HBDI, MBTI or Keirsey-Bates Temperament Types, think of the various tools and instruments as lens that can give different views of the same individual or team.

There are a number of tools that can help team members understand each other. From time to time, it's worth taking time at a team building retreat or meeting to take advantage of the insights that some of these tools can provide as leaders attempt to promote understanding and bring team together as cohesive units.

For more information, please read Meeting and Conference Design: Catering to Kinesthetic and Visual Learners and Conference and Meeting Design: Catering to Analytical and Structured Learners.

Photo Credit: Liz West

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