How Well Do You Work With Others?
For many of us, work is like our second home. It’s where we spend a lot of time, especially with our colleagues. Whether you and your co-workers are best buds or keep it strictly business, it’s always good to make the effort to be a team player working with different personality types, especially conflicting personalities.
Use these questions to consider how well you’re working with others:
What do you bring to the table?
The saying “variety is the spice of life” is very true when it comes to different personalities. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and thus, others can contribute to the parts where we may lack. Think beyond your job title and consider how your specific character traits support the goals of the team.
You may have heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a test that measures a person’s preferences between four different categories (introversion vs. extroversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving) and gives 16 different personality combinations. You can take a similar test for free at 16Personalities and find out what your type is. Be sure to answer honestly and try not to manipulate the answers for a specific type. Be yourself!
I’ve taken the test twice, two years apart, and my results came out the same (ENFJ), so I feel confident in the test’s validity. The type you get doesn’t necessarily mean that’s who you are 100 percent of the time but is intended to represent your overall inclinations.
With your test results, consider who you are in relation to the rest of the personalities and the role you play in the grander scheme of your team. Take for example the INTJ type, who thrives on strategy & planning and has high expectations for excellence in their work. However, they seem to have trouble communicating and might rub people the wrong way. In contrast, the ENFP type is an excellent communicator and their enthusiasm makes them socially gifted. As for weaknesses, they can have trouble focusing on one project to completion and their practicality can fall short. In these examples, there lies the opportunity in their differences to mesh together as a team that can use their specific strengths to overcome specific weaknesses.
What do others prefer?
I believe it’s especially important to respect the way others work because the methods you use aren’t necessarily going to work for someone else. Some people can concentrate better in silence with their office door closed and would rather receive questions and updates via email, so as not to disrupt their concentration. On the other hand, some are more productive with the noise of the office and prefer if you just popped by their desk to say hi and ask questions. Maybe someone likes to use that lunch hour to clear their mind and doesn’t want to be interrupted by work-related issues.
It’s helpful to discover how people process information and work through problems. If what they’re asking for is an easy accommodation, why not be a helpful teammate? It shows that you respect others and can help improve cohesion.
How are you being perceived?
Communication goes beyond words. It’s also tones, expressions and body language, and truly understanding the ways you execute your thoughts can improve you as a communicator, team player and leader.
Just as it helps to look in the mirror after you eat to check your teeth, it’s also a good idea to reflect on your communication habits to understand how people perceive you. Not because you must earn everyone’s constant approval but because you should make sure that you’re representing yourself the way you intend to be.
Try to be consistently mindful of the way you speak and act. This is probably something that everyone could work on (that goes double for me). It’s easy to get lost in thought and make a furrowed face thinking about that problem you just can’t figure out at work. But try to stay present on a regular basis and work on becoming more aware and meaningful in your conveyance with others.
Everyone’s time is valuable and nobody wants to spend more time than they need to get something accomplished. It’s the same reason why a company would look for ways to streamline tasks. By striving for solid communication and simplicity in working with others, we do our best to make the overall workflow as seamless and fluid as can be.