Questions & Answers

Posted by Sheila Briggs on 2014-04-27 10:03:54
Title: I'm looking for more information on personality types and how they might interact in a small office ...
Category: Lifestyle

I'm looking for more information on personality types and how they might interact in a small office or group. Would you have any suggestions of books or authors that I would look for? Thanks Sheila


Glain Roberts-McCabe
2014-04-30 09:52:57

Dear Sheila... there are a myriad of assessment tools out there that can help you build communication, trust and collaboration within groups and office teams.  Utilizing assessments incorrectly can also alienate, pigeon-hole and demotivate groups as well, so before you do anything be sure to consider your objective and how you will approach the process.  There are a number of different assessment tests out there that can do a variety of things.  I’m not sure that reading a book by an assessment author would help much since their job is to promote their assessments and sell more books.  Instead, I can share with you a few different assessments and how you might use them in group and team development.  What I’m listing below is by no means extensive, but rather some of the more popular/easily accessible ones that are out there.  From there, I suggest you Google what you’re interested in to learn more or let me know if you’ve got a specific followup question.

If your objective with assessments is to build people’s self-insight into their own preferences and how those preferences impact others around them, the following tools are popular with many of my clients:

  • The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – measures your preferences on scales of introversion vs. extroversion; intuitive vs. sensing; thinking vs. feeling; and perceiving vs. judging.

  • DISC – measures on four areas of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness

  • Insights (often referred to as “colours”) – measures four energy areas including Fiery Red, Sunshine Yellow, Earth Green and Cool Blue

  • True Colours (a simplified MBTI type program) – looks at preferences on four colours:  Gold, Blue, Orange and Green

Depending on your group or team, you might also want to look at:

  • The Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) – this looks at whether you are more left or right brain and from a team perspective can be interesting to see if you’re operating with a “whole brain”

  • Navigator – this is an offshoot product of Insights and provides teams with a view to their strengths and gaps.

  • Kolbe Index – this is a tool that measures “conative” ability – how you go about getting things done.  Again, helpful with teams of people who may have different approaches to completing tasks.

  • Hogan – measures your leadership potential, challenge areas and values.

There are also assessments that measure your emotional intelligence, your strengths, your influence abilities, your narcissistic tendencies... the list is endless.  In addition to these “self-rater” assessments, you can also explore a variety of 360 Assessments that can provide people feedback from different observer perspectives.  Most typically done for leaders, The Leadership Circle and the Leadership Effectiveness Analysis are two examples of 360 tools that are available.

Many of the simple personality assessments can be done online for free or for a small fee ($25 to $50 per person).  A report is sent directly to the person who completes, so if you’d like to see the results of the team assessment, you will need to go with a group approach.  To deliver a group feedback session usually requires a certified facilitator to do the delivery.  Most of the assessment providers will be able to put you in touch with someone in your area who can help you with that.

Assessments are wonderful ways to build understanding within a team on strengths and weaknesses and how, both individually and collectively, the group can be more effective.  Over the years I have used a variety within my own teams.  My current favourite is the Kolbe Index and it’s something we reference frequently in our group as we help each other continually move towards working with our strengths.  The key to success is that whatever you utilize is tied into a broader strategy – not just a “one-off” event.  Too often I’ve seen individuals get assessment feedback, shrug their shoulders and expect others to accept their bad behaviour “just because that’s the way I am.”  Not the type of attitude that enables team performance.  Good luck with your search and I hope this helped!

Glain Roberts-McCabe
Founder and President, The Executive Roundtable Inc

Joanna Wiseberg
2014-05-02 18:02:19
Followup question:
There was a fantastic course I attended when I started my career called Dealing with Difficult People and it covered at least a dozen personality types. Not sure if it's still available. You may want to Google it.

Priya Devalia
2014-07-17 01:11:03
Followup question:
From Hi Sheila, I'd like to recommend the BIRKMAN METHOD. I am working on becoming a Birkman Method Certified Consultant - but, not there yet. You can find more information at And, here is a super interesting little chart that compares a few of the personality test: There's also Life Languages: Thanks and all the best, Shiela! - Priya Devalia,