HR Matters - HR for Business

Do you understand your team?

pile of ball pit

It’s not personal, it’s personality.

My daughter loves the colour pink. Obsessed with it. Did you know that there are pink cars? Multiple types of pink cars. I do now, because she can find every single one. When playing with her the other day we had a choice of coloured balls to play with and she said “here Mummy, this pink one is for you”. I said no that I would prefer the blue one and she looked at me like I was crazy. “But… but… you like pink don’t you?” she said. “Actually no, I don’t like pink. I would prefer purple or blue” I said. “But I like pink?” she said. “Yes, I know but we all like different things”. She thought about that for a while, then gave me the blue ball and we continued to play.

I’ve seen that “you’re crazy” look before. In the workplace. Many times. We all have certain beliefs and thoughts about life and our own personal outlook on the world. In our personal lives we surround ourselves with people who are similar to us, who share many of those thoughts and beliefs about the world. However, at work we are surrounded by many different people – some who will share the same thoughts as you and some who don’t. So when someone at work says or does something that is very different to what we would do the “you’re crazy” look sometimes comes out and conflict can arise.

Undertaking team based workshops to understand our own behavioural style and that of others utilising tools such as DiSC are the first step in exploring the variety of different personalities in the workplace and developing an understanding of how to minimise conflict and create a high performing team.

When we understand our own style, recognise that others can be different to ourselves and from that develop an understanding of how to communicate more effectively, we remove a lot of the unnecessary “angst” that can often occur at work. Further to this, when Managers understand how to motivate, delegate to and develop others on an individual basis, team members feel more engaged and are more likely to “go the extra mile” and display discretionary effort.

The HR Coach Research Institute recently analysed the data from all STAR Workplace participants (over 16,000 employees and 500 organisations) to evaluate the drivers and differentiators of high & low performing organisations and found that:

 Employees in high performing organisations were:

  • 12% happier with the formal communication process
  • 13% happier with their team leadership
  • 16% more likely to describe management as good quality communicators

I have seen teams have remarkable turnarounds through developing an understanding of others personality and communication styles. One team that I worked with had a Senior Manager who wanted everything done yesterday and was very decisive and direct in his communication. He was constantly frustrated by another Manager who was quieter, wanted to take the time to explore new concepts in detail and be sure that all the i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed before proceeding. He perceived that he was being negative and deliberating slowing things down due to a fear of change. That Manager in turn was frustrated by what he perceived was the Senior Manager not caring about “getting it right”. Through exploring their different personality styles, they were able to understand why each other behaved the way they did and develop tools to work together more effectively. The Senior Manager was able to slow down (a little) to allow the Manager time to be comfortable in the detail and the Manager improved his communication style to still get the detail covered but not come across so negatively. There was an immediate improvement in communication and also productivity.

Effective communication is key to business success. Tools such as DiSC can help Managers (and indeed all team members) improve in the above and have more meaningful conversations. As well as assisting existing teams improve their effectiveness, DiSC can also be used when new teams are created and when conflict does exist as a way to objectively mediate.

We don’t all like pink. Different personalities make the world a more interesting (and colourful) place. They also make businesses more successful – if we can work together and communicate in a way that allows everyone’s unique skills to be utilised and potential to be reached. Understanding that it’s not personal, it’s just personality in the workplace enables higher levels of performance, a more productive workplace and in turn more satisfied employees, clients and business owners. 

If you would like to find out more information on how undertaking a DiSC workshop can assist your team, please contact Katrina at

About the author:

Katrina Haynes is the founder and Director of K Haynes HR – HR Matters. Katrina works with SME’s to provide practical people solutions that minimise risk and maximise performance. Providing outsourced HR and workplace improvement services, Katrina specialises in Human Resources strategy, benchmarking, governance & compliance, recognition & reward, recruitment and DiSC personality profiling. Coaching business owners, Managers and HR teams, Katrina tailors solutions to assist individuals and organisations reach their full potential.

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