Companies invest tremendous resources into employee personality and work style assessments, such as Emotional Intelligence, DISC, Myers Briggs or StrengthsFinder. While these can be fun and great team building exercises, the results don’t always lead to permanent behavior changes.
How can managers turn short-term self-awareness into long-term changes in team interaction and productivity? Repetition is the key.
People can’t help but act in ways that feel natural to them. These reminders can help your team identify how to interact with better understanding of themselves and each other.
1. Use the information, not the labels
Personality assessments offer handy, easy-to-remember labels to help people quickly grasp the key take-aways. Create a safe environment where the information, not the labels, remains a method for team members to better communicate and understand one another.
As manager, take care that your employees’ newfound knowledge creates growth instead of becoming a self-fulfilling limitation. Don’t let employees fall into the trap of excusing their limiting behaviors with this type of thinking:
- I am just hardheaded and quick-tempered.
- I guess I’m just disorganized and don’t pay attention to details.
- I just can’t say no.
- If every step isn’t perfectly planned out then I can’t be a part of it.
These assessments are a great opportunity to gain insights for personal growth and learning as well as better understanding of your own and others’ work styles. The knowledge gained should be used to help everyone work more effectively and productively.
2. Weekly repetition builds awareness
Repetition remains one of the best ways to make your team’s new insights part of their everyday thinking. To remind everyone of what they learned, start your weekly team meetings with a three to five minute discussion. You might ask team members to:
- Name the top five words that describe your ideal work environment.
- Describe one of your strengths and one thing you’re working to improve.
- Explain your decision-making or problem-solving style.
- Name a team member you believe is most similar to your work style. Name a team member you think you can learn from.
These sessions shouldn’t be long or time-consuming. These are quick reminders that keep employees thinking throughout the workweek about what they recently learned about themselves and one another.
For maximum effectiveness, you’ll need to alert your team prior to meetings so that they can come prepared and feel comfortable.
3. Make results public
Another option is to have everyone on the team post their key strengths, communication style, decision-making style and information needs on their door or outside their cube. Posting results is an easy, convenient way to remind team members of what their fellow workers need to work most effectively.
These reminders help co-workers remember things like, “I need to get to the point quickly because Bob is very task-oriented and likes to make decisions immediately.”
Meanwhile, someone approaching Dina can shape their expectations around her need to gather lots of detail and reflect before making a decision.
4. Use quarterly meetings for deeper dives
Every quarter, set aside one hour for the team to take a deeper review into their assessment and how they’re using the results in their daily operations. Use these longer sessions to continue the momentum and fine-tune your internal culture. Again, remind your team to come prepared to participate fully in these sessions.
For example, have your team read over their strengths and share how those strengths can positively impact their work on current projects and initiatives. Such exercises help capitalize on the diverse strengths and different perspectives of the team by having them share with their coworkers how they believe they can contribute.
Another option is to have each person pick key areas they feel will help others on the team to relate and respond to them effectively. Have your team members share what their value as a team member is, what talents they can offer to the team, and which styles would be a natural complement to their style.
Have team members identify their complementary person on the team. Have these people pair off and look at how their individual strengths can add value to one another or the team.
Such deeper understanding helps people have more productive interactions with everyone on the team.
5. Remember: Culture change takes 6 months to a year
Weekly and quarterly exercises help build your team’s culture, making the theoretical a reality. It takes time and repetition for lessons to be absorbed and for methods of interaction to gel, so be prepared for the time commitment.
By the time you’ve invested in several three to five minute weekly sessions and a couple of one-hour reminder sessions quarterly, your team’s culture should be tapping into the best of what your team assessments revealed.
Most of all, don’t forget to have fun. Nothing builds team skills and motivation like people’s enjoyment of one another.
Get even more tips on how to make your company culture exceptional. Download our free e-book, How to Develop a Top-notch Workforce That Will Accelerate Your Business.