This seems like a stark message from Laura Haycock a Senior Psychologist who in her article for Assessment and Development Matters magazine(2019).
Laura is warning about putting too much focus on the individual’s performance and neglecting to see their performance in the context of the team they are a part of.
Is there really a risk that if we put the individuals under scrutiny, we will miss vital clues as to what makes them perform or behave the way it does?
On the surface we all would agree that the individual is not just a result of their own actions, beliefs and habits and that factors such as culture, environment and power dynamics have an impact on how a person acts, contributes and reacts?
This theory was confirmed by the research carried out a psychologist Albert Badura, who went identified the correlation between a person’s behaviour and social environment and named his discovery as Reciprocal Determinism. He discovered that not only they are influenced by each other, they also that they influence each other, so its a two way process that each of the factors engage in (1986).
This is very relevant closer to home to the MBTI theory. One of the key practices that we, professionals, recommend is that the coachee completes their report in a neutral place, such as at home with a “shoes off” approach and at a time when they don’t feel rushed. Why is that?
Research shows that if we were to complete the report at work, where most (corporate) environments demand that we behave in an particular way (eg ESTJ; Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking and Judging or ESTP; Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking and Perceiving depending on the type of role one’s in) our self-report may be affected by the “hat” we wear at work and how we may behave within the culture or the environment we work in, which not necessarily allows us to truly reflect our natural preferences.
So, what does Laura Haycock’s message of putting the “I” back in the “team” mean to all of us? Do we always look at a situation from that holistic perspective? Is it not true that sometimes we look at what we see in isolation, neglecting to investigate the bigger picture; in this case the bigger picture being the social environment (the team) the individual is a part of?
Luckily, in line with our values as coaches and progressive leaders we know that learning is a lifelong activity (if we have chosen to adopt a growth mindset )and that that it is never too late to review how we do things and if applying a different lens (in certain situations )may be more effective.?
That is why at Forte we not only specialise in delivering MBTI feedback to individuals, but also teams and even families. The MBTI is very versatile tool that quite frankly at Forte we just love using because it acts as a catalyst to change and transformation in all these areas:
But don’t just take our word for it. We always like to substantiate our claims with some good old case studies. One of the case studies that we like to refer to frequently is one especially developed for the Myers Briggs Company, our suppliers of MBTI questionnaires and reports.
Here is a case study of how one of the largest dairy company in the world (Friesland Campina) with an annual turnover of €11.3 billion has used the MBTI framework to meet their very ambitious target of filling 75% of leadership position in the business with talent and potential of those already employed by them not only saving huge recruitment costs, but also making the company more effective in the process.
The person responsible for the project, Willem van der Lee, a Director of Global Talent and Leadership Development summarised the biggest win of the project as this refreshing definition of leadership:
‘Leadership is what happens between people. That is why Friesland Campina is more devoted to team attitude and effectiveness than to individual development. ‘If we are successful with our strategy it is not because our CEO is a hero, but because of the interaction between all people who work here, that is the deciding factor!’
Willem van der Lee
Although there will always be a need to look at individual performance, their own individual needs, aspirations and blind spots, but maybe what we all need to do more is, before we ask why someone is not performing as expected, we try to perceive their results in the context of their team performance, team profile and their dynamics and look at the bigger picture.
At Forte Training Company we help organisations improve individual and team performance by looking at their strengths and development areas.
If you would like to find out how we can help your organisation, don’t hesitate to get in touch: