Using Personality Assessments For Team Building

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A good personality assessment, along with a high-impact facilitated discussion, is my favorite team building activity of all time.  In my 15 years of facilitating team building activities, I have found this activity to be fun and highly effective at building trust among team members.

Personality assessments help employees understand themselves and each other better.  The facilitated discussion creates an opportunity for open communication and trust-building.  Sharing their assessment results through a facilitated discussion helps employees gain understanding into how their teammates operate and more importantly why they operate that way.  The deeper understanding paves the way for people to work better together. 

The Benefits  

  • Employees get to know themselves better, which build confidence

  • The team gets to know each other better, which builds trust

  • The team learns about each other’s strengths, workplace habits, and communication preferences, thus creating more effective ways of communicating and working with each other

How It Works

  1. Decide:  Decide which assessment is the best match for your team.  Take a look at the list of assessments below.  An HR consultant can help you to choose the best assessment based on the characteristics of your team, work environment, and the team’s current issues/challenges.

  2. Discuss:  Talk with your team about the activity ahead of time and why you feel like it’s a valuable activity.  Tell the team about the benefits bulleted above, ask for their feedback on the assessment chosen in #1, and make sure the team is interested in participating.  Discussing the activity and getting feedback ahead of time creates buy-in resulting in a more effective team building activity.

  3. Administer the Assessment:  I prefer to give employees the assessment ahead of time and ask that they bring the results to the team building session.  That way they complete the assessment individually and in an environment that is most comfortable for them.  To prepare the participant, I give them a handful of questions to reflect on prior to the discussion, such as “What did you learn from your results? Anything new or unexpected?”

  4. Facilitate the Discussion:  This works best with an external, objective facilitator or consultant.  As a neutral party, consultants can ask questions and facilitate discussions that may not feel comfortable for the leader.  They also make the participants feel more comfortable and more willing to open up.  There’s a big difference between answering the boss’ question vs. a consultant who has no authority over them. 

  5. Follow Up: To keep the momentum of the activity going, continue to talk about key takeaways in future meetings and team activities.

My Favorite Personality Assessments

  • The Enneagram: “The Enneagram is a powerful tool for personal and collective transformation. Stemming from the Greek words ennea (nine) and grammos (a written symbol), the nine-pointed Enneagram symbol represents nine distinct strategies for relating to the self, others and the world. Each Enneagram type has a different pattern of thinking, feeling and acting that arises from a deeper inner motivation or worldview.” https://www.enneagramworldwide.com

  • Clifton StrengthsFinder: “Completing the CliftonStrengths online talent assessment is your way to: Discover what you naturally do best, learn how to develop your greatest talents, and use your customized results to live your best life.” https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/

  • Extended DISC®: “Our clients use Extended DISC® with their employees to equip them with skills to modify their behavior to become more successful by:  Understanding how people are different, developing confident self-awareness, learning to identify the styles of others, modifying behavior based on the other person’s style.”  https://www.extendeddisc.org/

For those on a tight budget, here are some no/low cost options.  Note- as with most things “free” on the internet, you may need to provide personal information to participate.  Make sure your team feels comfortable with this before proceeding. 

  • 16 Personalities:  This assessment is similar to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  It gives the participant four personality factors, which combined make up one of the 16 overall personality types.  The four factors are:  Introvert vs. Extrovert, Sensing vs. Intuition, Thinking vs. Feeling, and Judging vs. Perceiving.  https://www.16personalities.com

  • VIA Character Strengths Survey:  This assessment ranks the participant’s 24 strengths in order and is a good way for participants to get in touch with what they’re good at as well as what their teammates are good at.  I typically focus the facilitated discussion on the participant’s top five strengths.  http://www.viacharacter.org

  • Harvard Business Review Emotional Intelligence Quiz:  This assessment rates the participant on five emotional intelligence competencies:  Emotional Self-Awareness, Positive Outlook, Emotional Self-Control, Adaptability, and Empathy.  Improving emotional intelligence helps people enhance their communication skills and build better relationships at work. https://hbr.org/2015/06/quiz-yourself-do-you-lead-with-emotional-intelligence

Need Help With Team Building?

As a HR Consultant, I help businesses all over the US build more engaged, motivated teams.  I facilitate high-impact team building activities and  coach leaders on how to confidently build trust with and among their employees.  Contact me at skyemercer@gmail.com.

Skye Mercer, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

HR Consultant

(c) Skye HR Consulting, LLC, 2019

Skye Mercer