As a young manager, I had the opportunity to attend an MBTI® workshop with my director and my peers. I had never done a self-assessment like that, and I was blown away by the spot-on narrative about my preferences and behaviors. The experience was self-affirming and empowering. It helped me to know myself better, highlighted the value I brought to the team, and gave me a deeper understanding of and appreciation for my boss and peers. Over our time together as a team, we would often reference our four-letter MBTI® styles and how they were playing into a particular situation we were dealing with. It gave us a language to talk about why we were seeing the same issue so differently or why we were taking opposite approaches to a project. We grew as a team.

Fast forward, I now use self-assessments like MBTI® and DiSC® regularly in leadership programs and in executive coaching. I find that people love to learn more about themselves and relish the opportunity to delve into how their work style impacts their experience in the workplace and those around them. I encourage my clients to share this information, so that others learn more about them and have a better understanding of the way they work. This opens the door for more conversations about the best ways to work with your team members. In fact, creating a “user’s manual” about your work style, your preferences, and the best ways to work with you is an eye-opening experience when done as a team.

A recent article in Harvard Business Review, Do You Know How Each Person on Your Team Likes to Work?, shares the story of one new manager who had to overcome missteps in her early interactions with her team by focusing on work styles and understanding what different team members needed from her and from each other. Similar to the “user’s manual”, the article outlines several questions to ask yourself in order to create a Work Style Table that you can share with your team.

If you’re struggling with leading a team or dealing with a particular “difficult” person at work, it may be work styles that are getting in the way of those relationships – or more specifically, the lack of understanding work styles. Taking the time to focus on work styles through assessments like DiSC® and MBTI®, exercises like the Work Style Table, or ideally both, will create greater harmony and stronger productivity for your team.

What should your colleagues know about your work style?
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