A tale of 4 team members – barriers to real effectiveness…

In an office somewhere in the industrial centre of the UK (we all know where that is, don’t we?!) there is a small team of experienced business professionals within a large multi-national organisation who have been brought together and tasked with delivering a series of cross -functional projects crucial to the survival and future prosperity of the business.

Jane is the Team Leader – she is determined, results focused and a single-minded person who, by her own admission “doesn’t suffer fools gladly”.  Jane is quick to get annoyed when things don’t go to plan and deadlines are under threat – although she’s often happy to compromise on the fine details just to hit the target.  She is respected by her team colleagues, but they sometimes find her approach a bit abrasive and uncaring.

Eric is the Operations specialist – he has vast knowledge and experience of the business, is well liked and respected throughout the organisation and is known for his sense of fun and, at times, his ability to miss deadlines.  Eric always has time to spend making sure that his team are happy and that they understand exactly what is required of them – and what their concerns may be.  This is important to Eric as being liked by his peers is very important to him.

Tim is the finance man in the team – a quiet and tidy man; he is in his element when he is producing detailed analysis and finance cases to support their project tasks.  To Tim there is only one way to do a job – thoroughly and accurately.  Tim keeps himself to himself and rarely lets other know how he is feeling – except when it comes to getting a quality job done when he isn’t slow to point out errors or mistakes made by others if they don’t deliver exactly what was agreed.  Tim is often thought of as pedantic and overly fussy by some of his peers.

And then there is Gloria – the human resources specialist – the person to whom it falls to put together the multi-functional teams and make sure they work well together.  Gloria is a loyal, long serving employee and has been in HR for over 20 years in this and one other company.  She is recognised as being very good at putting teams together and supporting them in challenging situations.  She works long hours and is known never to say “no” if asked for help.  Although she works tirelessly, she is considered by some to be too easy going and influenced by the opinion of others.

Although the team are professional and can work together reasonably well, there are constant frustrations that lead either to heated interchanges, or emotional distress, and fuming annoyance that is kept bottled up.  In short, the team are not performing to their full potential and their Director is concerned about the team, their performance and the impact on the critical projects.

Something needs to change!

Seeking inspiration from Goethe – who said “The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection” - what if the team members could see themselves as others see them?  How would that help them to understand their own priorities in relationship to those of others?

The fact is that their priorities are quite different:

  • Jane is driven by results – results at any cost and probably in almost any way – and she expects others to behave the same.
  • Eric is seeks recognition and fun – enjoying working with the team and being successful together.
  • Tim is driven by doing the job correctly – getting everything right and meeting the deadlines set by his bosses in the way that they want.
  • Gloria wants the team to work well together in harmony – she likes things to be predictable and without surprises or friction.

The thing is that each one of them brings a different and equally valuable perspective to the team – if only they understood each other and could use their individual strengths and preferences to the benefit of the team and to reach their joint objective, not only would they perform more effectively together as a team, but they would all enjoy their day to day work so much more.

Giving the team insight into their behavioural priorities and preferences could make that difference.

If they understand themselves, recognise the priorities and preferences of others and adapt their approach to get the best from every communication, just how much more effective could they all be?

If you were their Director, what would you do?

Everything DiSC® Workplace offers a proven methodology to provide learning and insight into effective workplace relationships – why they are as they are and how they can be improved – for good.