The New Science of Teamwork: Which Type Are You?

By on April 3, 2017

You may have heard about the Harvard Business Review’s April cover story: “The New Science of Teamwork.” In the article, the authors discuss how most organizations aren’t getting the performance they need out of their teams — and that a key reason is profoundly diverse work styles and perspectives.

Deloitte created a system called Business Chemistry that identifies four primary work styles — now before you start yawning or thinking, “Oh, yeah, we did Myers Brigg or that DISC thingy,” hang on for a minute. The authors of this project found that these existing personality tests are flawed because they either aren’t tailored to the workplace or rely too much on personal introspection. I encourage you to read the article to learn about the study’s methodology (over 190,000 people have completed the assessment), but the result is that you’re likely to be closely aligned with one or two of the following four styles:

Pioneers value possibilities, and they spark energy and imagination on their teams. They believe risks are worth taking and that it’s fine to go with your gut. Their focus is big-picture. They’re drawn to bold new ideas and creative approaches.

Guardians value stability, and they bring order and rigor. They’re pragmatic, and they hesitate to embrace risk. Data and facts are baseline requirements for them, and details matter. Guardians think it makes sense to learn from the past.

Drivers value challenge and generate momentum. Getting results and winning count most. Drivers tend to view issues as black-and-white and tackle problems head on, armed with logic and data.

Integrators value connection and draw teams together. Relationships and responsibility to the group are paramount. Integrators tend to believe that most things are relative. They’re diplomatic and focused on gaining consensus.

Knowing which type you most closely identify with can help you understand why you approach problems in a certain way, as well as how you might conflict with a colleague who has a different style. As the authors state, “The four styles give leaders and their teams a common language for discussing similarities and differences in how people experience things and prefer to work. Groups come to appreciate why certain times feel so challenging (that is, which perspectives and approaches are at odds), and they also begin to recognize the potential power in their differences.”

Personally, I identify strongly as an Integrator with a dose of Pioneer thrown in, and I can see how my approach to work and challenges could sometimes make my Driver co-workers crazy (sorry, guys). I’ll leave you with two powerful graphics from the article: one on identifying your style and another on how you can get the most out of each type.

Personality Type

Teamwork Chart

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