Teamwork and Personality

LinkedIn led me to an interesting article on teamwork and how to assemble a great team.  It’s long (compared to the average internet attention span), but worth reading in full – if you have the time.

For those who don’t, here’s the summary: Personality tests are not enough, nay, they are even misleading, because humans are rarely consistent enough in their actions across time and different social settings for the tests to have any useful predictive power.  A pretty good predictor on how well a team will work is what the author calls Factor C, which is in turn made up of three measures of the individual members.  Those are fairly simple: People who can read non-verbal communication (body language, eyes, etc.) well strengthen a team, as do women.  People who dominate the conversation drag down team performance.

Remember, them be stats.  I’m sure you can find counter-examples of great male team-players or women who make teamwork trying.  I can without hardly thinking.  And the author cautions that the gender advantage may simply be another way of pointing out that on average, women are better at reading non-verbal communication.  He also points out that this Factor C matters most in face-to-face interaction, and far less in remote collaboration on projects that can be divided into chunks of independent work.

So it’s all more complicated, as you might have expected, but one thing seems certain: Myers-Briggs stinks.

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