How to Identify Personality Types to Build an Effective Team

Building teams and creating a collaborative environment are a routine part of today’s business structure. So why do some teams work and others fail?

The factors that contribute to a successful team include cooperation, initiative, skills, and leadership. In effective teams, each member actively participates in the process and makes an equal contribution. When creating a team, leaders must identify each team member’s individual strengths. Because we all have different strengths, identifying the areas in which each person excels and constructing the team based on these skills is key.

There are many ways to assess personal team style. Myers-Briggs, DISC, and Belbin Roles are just a few methods. My personal preference is to identify team members based on four profiles: leader, doer, thinker, or carer.

  • Leader: Takes charge; focuses on outcomes and wants to be in control.
  • Doer: Takes action; likes to achieve things.
  • Thinker: Plans; looks at all the options and is impressed with a clever plan.
  • Carer: Considers the impact of the plan and the actions of others; focuses on how people feel.

Profiling team members needs to be done carefully and creating a balance of leaders, thinkers, doers, and carers is key. If a group consists of multiple leaders, it often results in conflict. If it consists of multiple thinkers, little action is taken. When several doers work together, the team usually lacks a strategy. And if there are too many carers within one team, decisions are generally made based on a personal level rather than on a business level.

Following are the recommended steps for effective team formation:

  1. Ask all participants on the team to complete a personal assessment of their unique styles.
  2. Allow each participant to communicate his/her primary and secondary style; mention there is no right or wrong.
  3. Use the above information to build a balanced team and guide who will lead each team.

In summary, it is critical to commence team initiatives by understanding the four personalities that make up the team.


Robert S. Olszweski is a director with Kreischer Miller and a specialist for the Center for Private Company Excellence. Contact him at Email or 215.441.4600.    



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2 thoughts on “How to Identify Personality Types to Build an Effective Team”

  1. Robert – great article. We started using DISC with our top management team at first. Then we did the testing and training for our sales team so we could understand each of them better, so they could understand themselves and be aware of how their DISC might impact how they are perceived/received by others, and so they would know how to identify what the DISC of their customers and prospects are so they could use that knowledge to communicate with them more effectively. It had a big, positive impact and we’ve since extended it out to our customer support and training people as well.

    1. Rob Olszewski says:

      You definitely gain a competitive edge by performing this type of assessment. The key is putting the knowledge gained into action which you are doing….kudos to you!

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