Every team is a mix of Pioneers, Drivers, Integrators and Guardians according to a recent article in Harvard Business Review. Authors Johnson-Vickberg and Christfort, write that every team is a mix of these four personality types. Their article in the New Science of Teamwork issue makes the case for “pulling your opposites closer” by encouraging unlikely pairs to work together.
This work is grounded by the research of Helen Fisher. Her research on the “brain systems that that drives human personality, attraction and love” is now a cornerstone of this new team science. Her work helped shape Match.com and now is the foundation of a tool used by Deloitte. The tool gives managers a common language for understanding how people work. The theory is that by understanding the unique personalities of workers that leaders can better manage their staff resulting in higher performing teams.
The first step is to understand the four styles.
Pioneers value “possibilities and they spark energy and imagination on their teams.”
Guardians “value stability and they bring order and rigor. They hesitate to embrace risk.”
Drivers value “challenge and generate momentum. Getting results and winning count most.”
Integrators value “connections and draw teams together.”
The next step is to share this common language with a team so they can more fully appreciate their similarities and differences. Finally, perhaps the most critical step, is to use these personality styles to be more effective in managing a team. By helping employees to see how to work with opposite styles a new complimentary team emerges.
The authors call this “creating productive friction”. For example, guardians and pioneers often experience tension. The Guardians structure feels too rigid to Pioneers. The Pioneers endless possibilities feels unwieldy and without direction. In this new approach, managers are encouraged to help teams discover their opposite styles. In so doing, unlikely partnerships emerge and individuals (and managers) discover their greatest potential through personality awareness.
The authors recognize that in the beginning that this approach can result in tension. And, the authors demonstrate through multiple examples that by heightening awareness of our differences that we can find ways to build powerful partnership of opposite but complimentary styles.
Personality styles are based on culture and genetics. Match.com did the initial research on how to use this foundational knowledge to form lasting powerful partnerships. Now, we learn how to leverage the same science for building high performing teams.
Are you a Driver, Pioneer, Integrator or Guardian? Who are you opposites in the office? Think about how you can use this science of teams to form a match! Thank match.com for the science for your new management approach.