Create a team from personalities: 5 Tips for optimal teamwork

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"A Team is only as strong as its weakest link ”or“ Those who work alone add up. Those who work together in teams multiply ”- there are many beliefs surrounding teamwork.

A bunch of personalities is far from being a good team

Here writes for you:


Uta Rohrschneider UtaUta Rohrschneider is Managing Partner of grow.up. Management consulting.


From the author:




5 Tips for optimal teamwork

Just because several employees work together does not have to lead to good, let alone to the best results.

The combination of different experiences, competences and preferences must be designed in a targeted way. And this is not just about professional knowledge, but above all about personality.

1. Heterogeneous suggests homogeneous

The first step should be a matter of course: to set up the team in terms of its competencies in such a way that all technical requirements are met. Point. It often stays that way. But it only gets exciting when the informal tasks and roles are harmoniously filled. The rule here is: the more colorful the pile, the better. “Makers”, “Coordinator”, “Innovator”, “Communicator” - all these are roles that are important for a perfect overall performance.

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But how do I know who the right person is for that? A heterogeneous team also needs a strong one Guide and control. When people with different characteristics and value systems come together, this leads to friction and discussion. Homogeneous teams get along well, think and act similarly. This “like and like likes to join” is good for the climate, but much worse for team performance because it is too one-sided.

2. Motives motivate to peak performance

In order not to have to guess who can fill which positions particularly well, who has which personal inclinations and behavioral preferences, there is an instrument that has already proven itself: the Reiss Profile. Prof. Steven Reiss, motivational researcher at Ohio State University, describes in his theory the human personality based on 16 life motives.

These include power, team orientation, curiosity, recognition, order, relationships and status. These intrinsic motives shape the way people experience, think and act. According to this, people orient their actions towards satisfying their strongly pronounced motives. The individual motivation profile describes the motive satisfaction a person wants to achieve through his or her actions. An employee with green team orientation, relationship and status motives will carry the team's performance outwards. This person is ideally suited as a "salesperson" and could optimally support a team of thinkers and creative people.

Uta Rohrschneider_Display of an exemplary tear profileFigure 1: Illustration of an exemplary tear profile

In the Reiss Profile the qualitative (color of the bar: what do I aspire, what is important to me?) And the quantitative expression (length of the bar: how important is it?) Of a motif. Green and red bars characterize a strong motif with different emotional quality.

Yellow values ​​are called “neutral”. People feel most comfortable, are most capable and most motivated when they can fulfill their strong motives through their actions. The more differences there are among the team members, the easier it is to distribute different tasks. The team's potential scope of services increases.

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Uta Rohrschneider_Erläuterung_Motive_Reiss profile
Table 1: Needs resulting from the strong character of the 16 life motifs

3. Optimal team composition using the Reiss profile

A good team needs employees with ...

  • green power motivation for the leadership of the group
  • green team motivation for the cohesion of the group
  • green order motivation for the structuring of work processes
  • red order-motivation for creativity and flexibility
  • green relationship motivation for contact to the outside
  • green curiosity motivation for creativity, knowledge acquisition and preservation, further development of procedures and task completion
  • red curiosity motivation for the implementation of the tasks
  • red emotional rest motivation for changeability

4. If equal and equal joined

In order to be able to compare team members in their motivation structures, a team overview can be created in addition to individual profiles. On the one hand, this helps to distribute the work tasks so that the motives and strengths of individual employees can be optimally combined and synergies can be utilized.

On the other hand, the team overview provides important information about possible “blind spots”. The team members are not aware of the one-sidedness in acting. They find their actions right, confirm each other again and again and interpret all possible everyday situations in such a way that “it would not have been possible without flexibility”. Knowing this blind spot can lead the team to be more self-critical. For a real change, team members with a different motif are also needed.

Too complex and exaggerated? Then perhaps the following happens: Many creative minds work out many ideas as lone fighters. However, these are neither brought together nor compared with each other - nor are they implemented, let alone marketed. Each individual follows their individual motives, which can be described in simplified terms as: “I have the most fun when I can tinker, research and develop ideas for myself. It is important for me to give good ideas. I don't care what the others make of it ”.

From an entrepreneurial point of view, if the “great” ideas do not turn into anything, the team is not efficient. Even if its members find that too little is being implemented, and decides to do it now: everyone continues unconsciously as before.

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5. Guidelines for all team members:

  • Assess the motivational characteristics in the team. Consistent profiles are available with the Reiss questionnaire. An approach also works through a foreign and self-assessment in the team.
  • Assign tasks and roles according to the strongly developed motifs. This promotes motivation and satisfaction.
  • Derive what the team still lacks.
  • New team members are deliberately selected according to their motifs to enrich the current team.
  • Distribute poorly populated topics over time. Anyone can accomplish a task by knowing their own motivation and the need to perform the task for a limited time through conscious action, even if it is not fun and the internal resistance is more or less high.

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