Personality tests don’t have the best “rep” in society. Using them to fight the “forces of evil” might just change that.
Research has shown that command/control management is not the most effective way to lead a project team. Employees are potentially more motivated when working in teams than when working alone. One reason for this is the idea that people feel more accountable to fellow team members who monitor performance more closely than a traditional supervisor. It is becoming more crucial that project managers match the “correct person to the task” and encourage information knowledge and sharing to drive project success. Leaders need to understand how strengths and weaknesses work to produce the most effective team and develop those skills collectively, over time. The accomplishments or a failure of projects rests on how these teams perform. Identifying the performance of each member is important, but a total analysis of how the combinations of people work, why some teams succeed where others fail is imperative.
Teams are deemed to be successful teams if they have the ability to achieve their objectives, fulfil the needs of their members and maintain their survival but for a team to be truly strong and effective, its members must have a variety of talents.
How do managers identify the right combination of people?
Traditionally teams are selected based on members’ knowledge and experience i.e., more experienced employees paired with new recruits. Today employers look for employees who fit into a team environment. Potential employees must prove that they can work in a team environment. They must have more than just technical skills to be able to work effectively.
There has been a dramatic increase in the use of personality tests as a recruitment tool over the last ten years. Personality testing is important for understanding, predicting and changing behaviour in organisational settings. Personality tests are of course not without their disadvantages. Among other things applicants may “fake” their answers to get the job because they provide answers they think mangers want to hear. Personality is also a poor indicator of future performance. Experts believe that there are links between some personality traits and performance but it does not predict how employees will perform in the long run.
So why use personality tests? At this point I probably should mention that this hack is not about using personality tests as a tool for recruitment. On the contrary it is a”two pronged” approach that focuses on how to deploy recruits regardless of tenure and experience into a “lean, mean, goal achieving project team”by exploiting their strengths. .
Research on talent based personality testing has shown that:
- People operating from their greatest talents are:
- More productive, produce at higher quality, and exceed expectations;
- More suited to the role;
- Easier to manage;
- Learn the job faster;
- Adjust to change more quickly;
- Stay in the job longer;
- Are less likely to be absent from work;
- Build stronger customer relationships;
- More passionate about their work.
“ Match finder” Database
Skills knowledge and experience are the biggest factors in the hiring decision but many organisations ignore the most important factor: talent. While the recognition of talent is critical, if “talented” employees are working in environments that allow them to “unleash their capability”, they will become de-motivated and less engaged.
The database will allow leaders to have a “snapshot” of employees at any one time. This will allow them to assemble a team in a timely manner; whether it be a virtual team or a project team or any teams that is required to respond to a problem within the organisation.
It can be used to iron out problems in established teams.
- Identify employees’ top 5 strengths versus their role within the organisation;
- “Profile” employees and teams can assist organisations by helping them to ascertain where the rails have come undone in teams that have already been established; or avoid the normal problem teams face altogether;
- If there are barriers to employees “operating from their strengths”, recognise what these obstacles are and annihilate them if necessary (like Sony and Hewlett Packard);
- The database can be taken one step further and be used as a tool to develop clear lines of communication. This does not necessarily mean trying to overcome employees’ weaknesses. It could simply involve understanding and appreciating others within the team. Remember the whole point of the database is to ensure that all employees are operating from their strengths and to match them accordingly.
- Employees might take offence to be being “profiled”. They may have trust issues regarding what the information collected will be use for;
- Employees may not answer questions honestly and give answer they think employees want to hear;
- The cost factor;
- Feelings might get hurt or conversely employees themselves may not buy into "touchy feely mumbo jumbo"
- Time consuming;
- Leaders might be reluctant to move away from traditional methods of team selection i.e. skills/experience