Teams accomplish what a single person cannot. Yes, individuals contribute to the team's overall success, and some people contribute more than others, but it is the team that must work together to accomplish the goal. We inherently know this is true; however, when it comes to personality tests, we don't think of measuring the team's dynamics to determine if the team is the right fit for the job. Instead, we measure individuals to determine how that person will impact the team. These tests fail to measure how the mixture of personalities will blend to form a larger whole. Maybe it is time to rethink how we build business teams.
The need for assessing new employees for team fit is not a new idea. Hiring managers, recruitment officers, placement assessment personnel are constantly conducting tests for gathering clues on how well a person is likely to mesh with a team. These HR professionals want to determine whether the team will be more likely to reach their goals with the new person on board. There are examples of personality tools - DiSC, Myers-Briggs, Strength and Competencies, Big 5 Traits, to name a few - used in corporations, military units, college admissions, and anywhere else that expects to bring people together to work on a shared goal.
There is a problem with these tests. The issue originates in the very design of these tests: not only are they open to self-censoring bias, but they look at the individual and not at the group dynamic. Yes, the individual is important, but we need to understand more about the team. It is the team that will accomplish the goal, so we need to determine whether the team's dynamics are the right fit for what they are attempting to achieve.
Individual analysis is great for certain things; primarily, it allows individuals to identify parts of themselves they might like to improve and other insights into communication. It does not extrapolate to groups or form the connection between the whole team and the individual. The individual analysis essentially puts each person next to each other and assumes they will fit. It leaves out the intricacies of how those personalities affect each other. The individually focused analysis is adequate for simple and straight-forward missions, but it will not be enough to reach a more complex goal.
Instead of analyzing individuals to see if they fit, we should be determining whether the overall composure of the team fits the current objective. For example, the team dynamics required for a software sales team are different than those of a real estate sales team. The team's personality, rather than each individual's personality will impact the outcome. The same is true for nearly every business goal; we need to design teams as a whole.
We should be considering the team's overall level of assertiveness, or how does the team balance sales traits with research traits? How confident is the team, and how much do they believe in each other?
These are not questions that can be answered by laying individual test readouts next to each other, they can only be answered through methods that can analyze weighted group dynamics. Only by assessing the group can you see how a new person will fit into their designated spot and contribute to the overall success.
People do not merely work next to each other, they work with each other. If you are only looking at each person for the individual traits and not looking for how they create an overall picture, you might be missing something that could lead to greater success for the entire group.