In a perfect world, your office would run efficiently and smoothly. Everyone would get along, understand each other, and support each other’s efforts. Deadlines would always be met and team members would come to work excited about their day.
But we don’t live in a perfect world, and miscommunication, disagreement, and conflicting work styles can often stop a project—and your team—dead in its tracks. So check this out! Mindjet has built a system to help you think about how people enable one another in a healthy team environment. We call it Workology. It’s not an exact science, but it aims to help colleagues understand the innate personality characteristics of their coworkers. With the awareness of your work personality types you’ll be able to collaborate better around individuals’ strengths, and translate that into greater success: as business simulation studies have shown, teams with greater cohesion also perform better economically. How much better? According to Brian Uzzi, a sociologist at Northwestern University, Teams of well-acquainted workers are 2.5 times more likely to be financially successful than teams of strangers.
Like the signs of the zodiac, the Workology “Workplace Zodiac” divides work personalities into different types: The General, The Workhorse, The Mediator, The Medic, The Artist, The Dreamer, The Cheerleader, and The Number Cruncher. On the Mindjet blog, you can read interviews with thought leaders who exemplify each type, find out how each type fits into the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Belbin Team Roles, and learn about each type’s strengths and potential blind spots.
But what do each of these personalities really boil down to when it comes to the team’s performance? How can they more effectively work together, not just as a whole group but one on one? The Workplace Zodiac answers these questions by organizing all eight personalities based on how they support each other.
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Putting Workology to Use
To get the most out of the Workology series—and the Workplace Zodiac—you should first determine what personality you most identify with. Are you an inspiring General, ready to rally your troops to get the job done? An innovative Dreamer, whose big ideas are shaped by your team into concrete plans? A sharp and data-driven Number Cruncher, who deftly analyzes and explains complex figures and facts? Each personality provides a valuable piece of the puzzle. Each personality is an integral part of producing stellar work. And each personality benefits and grows from collaborating with certain others.
The Workology series is largely rooted in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality rubric, which divides and categorizes personalities based on how they approach sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. According to Myers-Briggs Type Indicator experts Robert Kaplan and Dennis Saccuzzo, “The underlying assumption of the MBTI is that we all have specific preferences in the way we construe our experiences, and these preferences underlie our interests, needs, values, and motivation.” In the same way, Workology attempts to explore not only the work style of each type, but also the underlying personality attributes that make us act the way we do.
By learning what makes each personality tick—and what personality they best identify as—leaders can develop new ways of communicating and collaborating, and team members can increase their efficiency and productivity. The Workology site provides a comprehensive breakdown of each personality; tips for increasing work happiness; and tools that each work “sign” can implement to boost productivity.
Teamwork That Works
The series also offers guidelines on which personalities work best with one another. For example, Cheerleaders offer moral support to embattled Mediators, who must keep a team calm and united in the face of conflict. In turn, Mediators come to the aid of Workhorses, who need to be able to put their heads down and focus in order to get the job done. Workhorses need to be able to focus so they can better realize the goals of the strategic-minded General. Effective Generals pair up well with Medics, whom they can trust to carry out difficult tasks and get the job done. Medics rely on Number Crunchers to provide useful data that will help support their efforts. Number Crunchers need Dreamers to offer input and new perspectives on the data that they’re mining. And Dreamers need Artists to turn their ideas into reality. Each personality is a necessary part of the overall makeup, strengthening a team’s core DNA.
Still, some personalities function better together than others. For example, Generals may not always appreciate the more outlandish ideas Dreamers sometimes present. And Workhorses may not always appreciate the moral support Cheerleaders provide. Though a team may have collective goals, its means of achieving those ends require integrating each team member’s talents, a lesson the Navy SEALs preach to their teams—and it’s notable that they only work in teams. Learning what works best for your personality, and how to overcome potential friction, will give you the keys to maximizing your team’s and your own success.
To find out more about each personality, and to discover which work personality you are, check out the Workology site. Join the Workology conversation on Twitter with the #workology hashtag, and share your comments, images, and a dash of your own personality.