Over the course of my career, I have fallen into management roles simply because I was the first one hired in a start-up type business that rapidly grew. When we needed a second or third person on my team, I was suddenly a manager.
This saw me at an early age (26) sitting around management tables, planning business expansion and marketing strategy. I can remember being amazed at how quickly people around me would spout out ideas. I would often feel inadequate because my great idea would typically come 20 minutes or more after we had moved on to another topic.
I would come into meetings well prepared with data, analysis, and ideas. If we didn’t stray course, I could be a Chatty Cathy. But the moment we strayed into something off path, my mind would go into thinking mode. As I was thinking, the other people in the room were spouting off and solving problems.
I dreamed of the day that I, too, could be just like them.
Then my life took a career change. I joined a new management team at a different company, and the very first thing the CEO had me do was take a personality profile test.
Little did I know at the time how huge of an impact the four letters (ISTJ) would have on my ability to lead and be part of a team.
Overcoming Your Personality Type
After completing the personality profile, I learned I was an “ISTJ”. In other words, out of the 16 personality types on the Myers-Briggs profile, at heart, I’m an introverted, sensing, judging, thinking kinda girl.
My next step in the process was to learn what this meant. As I read about my label, I learned the reason I was always late to the “ideas party” was not because I was slower than the rest of the people on the leadership teams I had worked with. It was because my brain likes to process things, analyze them, and then come back with a solution. It doesn’t mean I can’t make a decision on the spot if asked. It simply means, I work best on a team when given a challenge and allowed time to process it.
It was a huge breakthrough in my leadership growth.
The CEO I work for now is an amazing man. We are polar opposites in our personalities. He is an extrovert who focuses on the big picture and can spout ideas off like there’s no tomorrow. I still often sit in awe of his ability to lead.
But he also is aware that I am an introvert by nature. In meetings, he allows me the time I need to process things, so he doesn’t lose out on my insights.
A Great Way to Get to Know Your Team
Now I do the same thing with the members of my marketing team. Whenever I add a new member to my team, their very first task after our initial onboarding is to take their personality profile test.
After they receive their results, I bring in all the other members of our team. And together, we read through our personality profiles. We discover where we are alike and acknowledge how we are different.
Now, if someone gets frustrated because of how another player on our team is acting, I pull out the personality profiles to see where differences exist. Then I coach to that.
Right now I have all introverts on my team. It’s the first time in almost three years that has happened. Because I am also an introvert, I know creative marketing sessions work best when I let my team know ahead of time how they can prepare. Because like me, they work best when they’re not put on the spot. It doesn’t mean they’re not capable of coming up with ideas under pressure. It simply means I can get the best insights from them when I set them up for success before our meetings.
Studying the 16 personality profiles and understanding how they apply to your unique team is a great way to build a cohesive team. I’d love to know what your profile results are and how you will use your four letters to grow as a leader.