With all the WFH tips and hacks on offer from businesses, brands and thought-leaders (including ours), finding the right support to help you adjust to the new normal should be simple. But there’s no silver bullet, because what works for one person may not work for others. So how can we, as business leaders – and people people – help our teams find a rhythm that works for them? And how can we engage and support them to be their most productive, focussed, resilient, high-performing selves?
We Are Unity’s team of culture nerds and psychologists have been exploring how different personality types are responding to change, isolation and new ways of working – and what each of them needs to thrive. We’ve developed a methodology to help leaders identify personality traits in their people, with bespoke recommendations to help maintain connection, wellbeing, accountability and structure for each personality type.
Are Extroverts okay?
Social media has been buzzing ever since self-isolation and remote working became our new normal. Maybe you’ve seen the memes with captions like: “Introverts, put down your books and check on your extrovert friends. We are not ok!” Maybe you’ve even made a similar self-analysis of your own. (AKA, “I’m loving WFH because I’m in my own space and I’m not forced to chat with everyone all day.”)
Whatever the case may be, it’s funny because it’s kind of true. However, we can’t all be neatly packaged inside Jung’s ‘inside types’ and ‘outside types’. We humans are pretty complex, after all!
We’re all OCEAN people
Independent research throughout the 20th century repeatedly identified five high-level personality traits (the OCEAN Model), under which most people will find they sit somewhere on a spectrum. Within this scale are some common, identifiable attributes that affect how we, as humans, behave in certain situations. Learning which of these attributes to encourage, and which to explore further, is key to boosting your peoples’ performance, and ensuring they feel supported over the coming weeks and months.
The five personality traits most people can identify with are:
1. Openness to experience (The Sharer)
A willingness to try new things and think innovatively.
2. Conscientiousness (The Organiser)
A person’s self discipline and organisation.
3. Extraversion (The Socialiser)
An outgoing and confident nature.
4. Agreeableness (The Team Player)
Warmth, friendliness and willingness to help others.
5. Neuroticism (Overthinker)
How calm, analytical and balanced your disposition is.
Getting the most from your Sharing, Organising, Socialising, Team Playing and Overthinking team
The first step is correctly identifying these traits in your people. Through our methodology, we can determine where a person sits on the spectrum for each characteristic. Are they high on the socialiser scale with low conscientiousness? Are they a strong team player that likes balance and stability? The great news is that this is quick and relatively simple to find out.
Where things get really interesting, is in the response. Each of these personality traits has attributes which managers should actively encourage, and others which they may need to explore further in order to get the best from team members.
For example, someone who’s high on the Socialiser scale will likely want to connect and engage with people. A manager could leverage this natural desire by assigning them a partner to regularly check in with. Pair them with someone with low ‘Sharer’ traits – and you find yourself solving two inefficiencies with one simple move.
What about the other end of the scale? For starters, managers should keep an eye on their Socialisers when it comes to group video calls. With a natural confidence and openness that can lead them to dominate digital interactions, you may need to remind them to allow space for silence, so those who are less inclined to speak up are given the opportunity.
While this is a simplified example, you can see how identifying and managing even one personality trait can make an immediate impact to maximise performance in Socialisers. (So imagine the benefits of identifying the unique combination of all five!)
Understanding is everything
Where to from here? By looking to better understand what makes your people tick (and how to better support them as a result) organisations are primed to make a positive impact on team performance and productivity during COVID-19 – and beyond.
We’re currently exploring the ways we can optimise Connection, Wellbeing, Accountability and Structure for every personality type. However just like people, we know that no two businesses are the same: Knowing the right questions to ask, and making the right recommendations will be different for everyone. If you’d like to better understand the support your people need, get in touch with us at email@example.com