Building strong professional teams relies in part upon the self-awareness of each team member. Creating a self-aware team requires two fundamental steps. Team members firstly need to understand their individual strengths, weaknesses, work-style preferences, biases and blind-spots. Once these are known, the results need to be viewed in the context of the wider team - how individuals may complement or clash with one another; which members will work best on which sections of the team’s roles and responsibilities; and who is best placed to deal with new opportunities and challenges as they arise.
There are a number of questionnaires, psychometric tests and team-building exercises which can facilitate one or both of those two steps. Psychometric testing is generally used in the hiring stage and is designed to measure a candidate’s suitability for a role. The tests collate information about the candidate’s personality and cognitive abilities - information that may not be accessible from a simple face-to-face interview.
Personality questionnaires are generally broader in their scope, and, as a result, do tend to provide relatively vague and general results. Nonetheless, they can be an effective and straightforward means of identifying the general personality types within a team. Occupational personality tests offer results more pertinent to the workplace, and tests like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator can illuminate an individual’s decision-making processes.
The Australian Institute of Management offers the Team Management Profile (TMP), a program designed to both identify the individual working preferences within a team and then debrief with the members on what the individual results mean, before outlining how to move forward as an an effective team.
Research Product Manager at AIM, Charles Go, explains the benefit of the TMP as offering “insight into an individual’s leadership strengths, decision-making behaviours, interpersonal skills, and approach to team-building. This will help with team cohesion and provide a common language when combined with learning and development programs.”
The program begins with a 60-item questionnaire, done online and lasting roughly 20-30 minutes. The results are then sent to the respondents and a debriefing workshop takes place, where the results are unpacked. “This can be either as a stand-alone half day or as part of a longer workshop,” says Go. “We meet with clients prior to the questionnaire to discuss the project and ensure timeframes are achievable.”
It’s dual focus on the individual and the team distinguishes the TMP from other survey-based tools. “It doesn’t simply either concentrate on the individual - giving insight into an individual’s behaviours and preferences - or the team - analysing team functions and exploring team cohesion,” Go explains. The TMP does both. “The TMP will make individuals think about their current tasks and functions and everyone else’s in the team. When working together on a project, individuals can be strategically placed in areas that match their preferences.”