How to Improve Team Dynamics Through Personality Tests

Heather Harper

Written by Heather Harper

Jan 2, 2023  - Last updated: Aug 2, 2023

Team or group dynamics are crucial for securing company success. Without good team dynamics, businesses can’t leverage the potential of individual team members and tap into their capacity and skills effectively.

While there are many ways to improve the team dynamics in the office, few activities live up to the task the way personality tests can.

So, let’s cover some team dynamics essentials and then list the best personality tests you can use with your team(s).


What Are Team Dynamics?

Why Do You Need to Consider Team Dynamics?

How Personality Tests Help with Team Dynamics

Personality Tests to Help Build Team Dynamics

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Final Words

What Are Team Dynamics?

Team dynamics denotes the behavioral relationships among different team members of any given group. It's how a group interacts, works together, and communicates.

Put simply, group dynamics are in every team’s nature, and how they show up largely depends upon individual team members, their working relationships and mutual understanding with colleagues, group development, working toward common causes, level of trust, and the overall mood in the work environment.

Team dynamics can either make or break your work groups - they’re good when they include high-performing teams guided by strong leaders, and bad when there’s poor communication and weak leadership.

Naturally, there are many other factors that contribute to both good group dynamics and poor team dynamics, however, one thing’s certain - they define your team’s performance and influence project outcomes. Below, we share what good group dynamics look like in the office.

Here are three examples of group dynamics done right:

  • Engaging in open communication - individual team members are willing to share their new ideas (and listen to other people’s innovative ideas), state team goals clearly, and collaborate with team leaders.

  • Achieving conflict resolution - when there’s an issue among individual team members or team leaders, every participant feels comfortable discussing the subject at hand and resolving the issue, or even taking it to the group for further public discussion.

  • Being in alignment with the team and company goals. When group members understand their roles and duties and team leaders show strong leadership, good communication and collaboration follow. That way, project objectives and team goals are achieved effortlessly.

Why Do You Need to Consider Team Dynamics?

It’s already clear how positive group dynamics affect your office, however, below we share some specific reasons why you need to consider them based on the benefits they offer for work teams.

1) Strong Results

High-performing teams deliver strong results time after time. Work environments with good dynamics enable team leaders to delegate tasks with ease, assign roles, and modify job responsibilities based on the current corporate situation.

Team members who deliver strong results can see the big picture and know they’re on track with everything. They move toward the direction of their common goal, don’t lose sight of their vision, and constantly try to improve their work process and the way they do things.

Finally, don’t forget to publicly acknowledge such teams’ results and successful team achievements. For example, do you know that recognizing high-quality group work increases profits by 29%? Strong results aren’t that impactful if they aren’t followed by proper feedback and recognition.

2) Engagement and Retention

Engaged work teams are connected to their team leaders and fellow team members, work environment, and common goals. They constantly come up with new ideas, trust in the power of team performance, and motivate other group members who may be in need of a boost.

An engaged workforce can never produce poor dynamics - they’re mutually exclusive.

Engagement comes with group members who are ready to prove themselves, brainstorm, have a constructive dialogue, be productive, and understand how their role in the team is connected to other people’s roles.

Moreover, good group dynamics contribute to employee retention by establishing a welcoming and warm working environment, as people who feel appreciated by fellow team members and team leaders are much more likely to continue working alongside them.

On the whole, effective teams and positive group dynamics can do wonders for many aspects of your business. Namely, it’s been suggested that by 2024, companies with collaborative working environments will see 30% higher productivity, 30% lower staff turnover, and 30% higher revenue per employee than their coworkers.

3) Improved Decision-Making

When teams make decisions collectively, the method used and the outcome all depend on the group’s composition as well as the team leaders’ experience and strategy.

Strong leaders and effective team members can analyze situations and events from various perspectives, taking many factors and criteria into account, and then arrive at a decision. Moreover, when people make group decisions, these decisions stem from their joint efforts rather than the expertise of a few individuals in the company.

Healthy work environments allow team members to make informed decisions.

4) Better Problem-Solving Skills

All work teams face problems sooner or later - even those with the most successful team dynamics.

However, what sets effective teams apart from dysfunctional ones is the way they approach such problem-solving challenges. If teams can’t solve their problems effectively, they aren’t ready to get rid of the obstacles standing between them and their desired common goals.

Moreover, successful teams know that:

  1. They need to clearly define the problem first and analyze it as objectively as possible.
  2. Allowing personal relationships and issues to outpower the working relationships in the team won’t solve anything.
  3. Conflict may be inevitable in the workplace, but what matters is how work teams navigate such conflicts and problems. Therefore, proper conflict resolution is a must for teams that want to improve their problem-solving skills.
  4. They need to create realistic deadlines. Some problems may require little to no time, whereas others might be slightly more challenging.
  5. They need to have inclusive discussions and excluding some team members or team leaders won’t bring them closer to their common causes.

How Personality Tests Help With Team Dynamics

Now that you know some of the benefits personality tests have for teams and team dynamics, let’s get into more detail on the reasons behind them.

1) Know your team

Many group members know

  1. their team development schedules,
  2. the team performance they’re expected to deliver,
  3. the team goals they need to work toward,
  4. why they need to attend team-building activities, and so on,

but very few know their team members on a much deeper level.

It’s very simple - individual team members can’t build effective work teams if they don’t understand the personality differences and similarities of those they work with. This matters because it affects how people make decisions, approach deadlines, handle tasks, communicate with others, and manage their daily stress.

Personality tests help people comprehend why their peers think, behave, talk, and feel the way they do, and how this impacts others. Knowing one’s team allows colleagues to work through some of their differences, and achieve genuine team effectiveness.

And team effectiveness is synonymous with positive team dynamics, which cannot be achieved if you’re only focusing on teamwork, common causes, innovative ideas, and team building, but neglect the team members and who they are as individuals.

2) Establish psychological safety

Do you know that establishing psychological safety may be the missing ingredient to unlocking successful team dynamics?

After carrying out research about medication errors in hospitals, Amy Edmonson (who actually coined the term “psychological safety”), discovered that the teams with the fewest mistakes weren’t those with the highest standards or most relevant experience.

In fact, they were the teams that openly discussed mistakes, worked together to find ways to reduce obstacles, and had an open work environment (or psychologically safe environment) where people could freely express themselves.

In such environments, people aren’t shamed for asking questions, making a mistake, or disagreeing with team leaders or other group members. Everything people do contributes to their learning process and that makes them not only better team members, but also better people.

We suggest that you use the personality assessments to initiate meaningful discussions with team members and ask questions such as:

  1. What does your personality profile say about your risk-taking ability?
  2. Do you ask for help easily or are you a person who’s highly independent?
  3. What areas of improvement should you focus on based on your test results? How can these improvements make you a better team player?
  4. What skills can you provide the team with that you still haven’t tapped into?
  5. Do you struggle with giving feedback? What about receiving it?
  6. What personality traits are you proud of the most? How can they contribute to a better and safer work environment? Are there perhaps any traits that might do the opposite instead? If yes, which are they?

These questions won’t establish a psychologically safe work environment on their own, however, it’s the answers that can initiate discussions that will slowly lead to it.

3) Build trust

Personality assessments allow teams the chance to build trust through open communication and frame their identity.

Such tests provide insights into misconceptions some people may have about peers - for instance, a person perceiving a colleague as shy, unwilling to participate, or unwilling to share their ideas openly. An assessment may show that this person is simply an introvert and approaches things differently from the rest of the group.

Each team is unique and the trust levels can vary from time to time. Sometimes, what happens is there could be a strong sense of mutual understanding and trust within high-performing teams, but a new hire joins (or an employee leaves) and shakes up the overall group dynamics.

Or you could already have distrust issues within your work teams until you ask them to tackle a specific issue together and come out knowing they can count on one another. Challenging events such as these ones require group members to not only work toward building trust, but have a leap of faith too.

And to help your teams master the art of trust, you can always include personality assessments as part of your team building strategy, or use them in the office to spark discussions and have everyone engage in open debates (kind of like what we already suggested in the previous section).

4) Create an inclusive workplace culture

To start promoting inclusion, you may need to start by sparking candid discussions about sensitive matters, celebrating differences, supporting different ways of thinking, and allowing each team member to behave in a way that reflects who they are.

It all really depends on where your team members stand with concepts such as inclusivity.

On the whole, personality tests help people learn that instead of putting others into pre-categorized boxes (and trying to keep them there), they should accept that not everyone thinks or works in the same way. And that being different isn’t a bad thing - on the contrary, it can do wonders for work teams who are willing to be open-minded.

Personality Tests to Help Build Team Dynamics

We’ve just explained how personality tests help with team dynamics, however, you won’t get the whole picture unless you know which tests you can actually use with your teams.

Below, we share our top five.

1) Myers Briggs Personality Test

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is one of the best self-report inventories out there, so it’s no coincidence it’s the first on our list. The assessment helps with:

  • --identifying people’s personality type;
  • clarifying career path ambitions;
  • describing people’s compatibility with others;
  • elaborating on how people make decisions, and so on.

The test assigns people four categories out of eight groups:

  • introversion (I) or extraversion (E),
  • thinking (T) or feeling (F),
  • sensing (S) or intuition (N),
  • and judging (J) or perceiving (P).

Once test takers are done with the assessment, they get a specific profile out of 16 distinct options by taking one letter from every category. They’re left with code-like letters, such as “ISFJ”, “INTP”, or “ESFJ” (derived from the above-mentioned categories). Here are all the possible personality options:

  • ISTJ - The Inspector;
  • ISTP - The Crafter;
  • ISFJ - The Protector;
  • ISFP - The Artist;
  • INFJ - The Advocate;
  • INFP - The Mediator;
  • INTJ - The Architect;
  • INTP - The Thinker;
  • ESTP - The Persuader;
  • ESTJ - The Director;
  • ESFP - The Performer;
  • ESFJ - The Caregiver;
  • ENFP - The Champion;
  • ENFJ - The Giver;
  • ENTP - The Debater;
  • and ENTJ - The Commander.

And, of course, test takers receive detailed explanations of what their profile stands for.

It’s important to note that no result is better than another one, as each one has its own strengths and weaknesses.

All personality types come with their authentic explanation and allow your work teams to learn more about who they are at a personality level.

To learn more about how you can take The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, check out this website.

2) DiSC Model

The DiSC model denotes a type of personality assessment that helps people understand their:

  • productivity levels;
  • open communication approach;
  • mutual understanding with team leaders and fellow group members;
  • reactions and behaviors in a wide range of situations;
  • collaboration methods with peers, and so on.

DiSC is an acronym - each letter stands for a separate personality profile:

  1. Dominance
  2. Influence
  3. Steadiness
  4. Conscientiousness

First and foremost, people with “D” personality have high levels of self-esteem and try to accomplish amazing results.

People with “i” personality are open-minded and value building good relationships with others either by persuading or influencing them.

Then, the “S” personality denotes individuals who value sincerity and collaboration.

Finally, individuals with “C” personality place their emphasis on expertise, competence, and quality.

The test includes simple statements on a five-point scale in which test takers are asked to indicate whether they agree with each statement. The test has approximately 80 questions and it takes 15-20 minutes to finish. There are no right or wrong answers.

The DiSC Model is a great option for your team members if you want to see how well your employees fit your company, understand how to create effective teams and successful team dynamics, and finally achieve conflict resolutions in a peaceful, yet conscious manner.

Finally, we’re happy to let you know that the DiSC personality test comes with every WorkStyle profile on our website.

3) Big 5 Personality Test

The Big 5 Personality Test denotes five personality dimensions that psychologists have discovered are at each person’s core. They’re as follows:

  1. Openness - refers to how open people are to new experiences and innovative ideas;
  2. Conscientiousness - denotes how much people are persistent and committed to their goals;
  3. Extraversion - explains how much people are energized by the external world;
  4. Agreeableness - stands for how much people tend to put other people’s needs and interests ahead of theirs;
  5. Neuroticism - finally, this one explains how sensitive people are to negative triggers and stressful situations.

Each of these five traits is said to drive an important aspect of our cognition and behavior. Also, each trait is unique and independent of the rest - for example, if someone is a highly extroverted person, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a highly conscientious one too.

Also, all five traits are measured along a spectrum (high, low, or medium in a specific trait). This makes this personality test different from many, as it doesn’t just classify people into specific personality traits. What it does is that it describes them in terms of how they compare with the overall average across each of these traits.

The Big 5 Personality Test is made up of 60 questions and takes around 5-10 minutes to complete. Like the DiSC Model, this assessment is also part of every WorkStyle profile.

4) CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder)

The CliftonStrengths assessment, also formerly referred to as the StrengthsFinder, was initially developed to help people discover the strengths that enable high performers to stand out.

What’s so interesting about this test is that test takers are given just 20 seconds to answer a statement before the test moves to the following one automatically. This is so that people don’t overanalyze the statements and overthink their answers. On the whole, the test consists of 177 paired statements and lasts an hour. After test takers are done with the test, they receive a customized CliftonStrengths report.

It’s worth mentioning that the test also determines the ranking order of 34 distinct themes that help explain specific personality types divided into four categories:

  1. Strategic thinking,
  2. Relationship building,
  3. Influencing, and
  4. Executing.

All in all, the CliftonStrengths assessment is great for business owners who want to discover their top talents and understand what makes each of their team members extra special.

You can purchase the CliftonStrengths test on their official website.

5) Working Genius

The 6 types of Woking Genius refer to a relatively new model that allows people to discover their natural gifts and thrive both in their personal and professional lives. The 6 types of Working Genius are as follows:

  1. Wonder;
  2. Discernment;
  3. Enablement;
  4. Invention;
  5. Galvanizing;
  6. Tenacity.

When people get valuable insights into the type of work they should be doing or what brings them more fulfillment and positive energy, they can avoid unnecessary frustration and be more productive and self-aware.

As Patrick Lencioni, the author and creator of The 6 Types of Working Genius, said: "This groundbreaking new model and assessment have revolutionized the way I look at work and teams. I am excited for everyone to understand their gifts and frustrations so they can better experience fulfillment and dignity in their work."

Moreover, Working Genius helps people lead better meetings, maximize team performance and group development, build high-performing teams, and increase the productivity levels in the office.

The assessment takes only 10 minutes and comes with a custom-made report which provides people with detailed insights about different areas such as Working Competency, Working Genius, and Working Frustration, as well as a user-friendly application section so that people can leverage this information effortlessly in their daily lives.

You can buy the assessment by clicking on this link.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the signs of poor team dynamics?

There are many signs that allude to poor team dynamics in the office. Here are the most important ones:

  • There’s a communication breakdown. People don’t share ideas willingly, others don’t engage in active listening, team leaders don’t provide feedback as much as necessary, team members aren’t keen to collaborate with peers, and so on.

  • There's an absence of trust. It may be due to workplace bullying or an employee going behind a colleague's back. Employees may also dislike spending time together or never ask for help simply because they don’t believe they’ll get what they need from their fellow team members.

  • There’s a plethora of unresolved conflicts in the office and they keep on wreaking havoc. It could be about something small, or a very serious conflict (such as workplace harassment). Either way, all conflicts should be addressed professionally.

  • You notice high turnover and you’re losing your best talents. If that's the case, check in with your HR team and managers and look for the root cause of this pattern.

  • Team members become too comfortable with the job to the point that they start withdrawing from it. They may also begin to perceive the job as a routine or as “something” they just need to get it over with.

  • Team members struggle to make informed decisions. They keep things stuck and are unable to make any progress in the desired direction.

  • Team members start gossiping more about peers than they talk about their actual job responsibilities.

  • Team members start blaming others and everyone avoids taking responsibility for any issues that may arise.

  • There's a workload imbalance. Certain team members seem to be working way more than others, although, in theory, all of them seem to be working equally toward achieving a common goal.

  • Weak leadership becomes an evident problem. When the issues start from the top, they’ll definitely affect the employees too.

  • Healthy competition turns into an unhealthy one (or worse, into rivalry). Team members start sabotaging each other’s chances at success and progress.

What are the four stages of team dynamics?

The four stages of team dynamics, known as group formation, developed by Bruce W. Tuckman, an American psychological researcher, are as follows:

1) Forming

  • Used for putting the team together;
  • Group members look up to team leaders for guidance and further direction;
  • Team members understand why they’re here and what they’re meant to do as part of the team;
  • Specific objectives, team ground rules, and expectations are established; Team leaders try to achieve an atmosphere of confidence, involvement, and optimism.

2) Storming

  • Arguing among team members is possible;
  • Differences in style, approach, and methods are brought to the surface;
  • Team members need to re-establish the overall work direction;
  • A feeling of “we’re not getting anywhere” might prevail;
  • Shared leadership may emerge;
  • Certain team members could violate team codes of conduct;
  • An increase in tension and jealousy is felt;
  • Effective listening should be established so that both group members and team leaders can progress to the next stage.

3) Norming

  • Team members create new ways of working together;
  • Decision-making processes should be well underway;
  • Team interaction flows much more smoothly;
  • Team leaders continue to build good relationships among team members and mutual - understanding;
  • People take responsibility for their actions;
  • Team members start using all resources to support the team effort and common goals;
  • There’s a sense of trust and that “everything is going to work out just fine”.

4) Performing

  • Very high level of commitment;
  • There’s ongoing feedback and dialogue among team members;
  • A general sense of satisfaction is dominant in the team;
  • Tight bonds also emerge;
  • There’s a need to maintain feelings of enthusiasm and keep the momentum going;
  • Collaborative work ethic is high;
  • Team members understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses more;
  • Project guides provide little to no direction (the team can also organize itself).

5) Adjourning

Later on, Tuckman added a fifth stage to the four stages, which includes task completion and breaking up the team.

  • Various mixed feelings may emerge, such as sadness, grief, and disbelief, but also a sense of competition and relief;
  • Restless behavior is also possible as well as a minor crisis;
  • Team members tie up loose ends and tasks;
  • Evaluation of team efforts is carried out;
  • Team leaders provide feedback and recognize team efforts;
  • Reflection and contemplation.

Where can I sign up for these personality tests?

You can learn more about signing up for these personality tests by following the links we provided you with at the end of each test above.

Some personality assessments are free, others need to be purchased. In any case, before you sign up, it’s always good to see what you get with each personality assessment. For instance, some tests also come with eBooks you can read, such as the CliftonStrengths assessment.

Or if you opt for a WorkStyle profile, we’re happy to share we provide our clients not with one, but eight scientifically validated personality tests:

  1. The Big 5;
  2. DiSC;
  3. Jungian;
  4. Achievement Orientation;
  5. Occupational Emotional Intelligence;
  6. Self Efficacy;
  7. Empowering Leadership;
  8. and Project Management.

Moreover, there are six working style preferences (such as strengths and motivators, optimal environment, hobbies, and more), 100 icebreaker questions, and 12 self-descriptor scale questions (work standards, working relations, as well as communication and management styles).

There are different pricing options, depending on the number of team members you have, but the higher the number, the greater the discount. And if you decide WorkStyle isn’t for you and your work teams for whatever reason, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Should all team members take these personality tests?

It all depends on the personality tests you’re using and the reason behind them.

For instance, if you’re planning a team-building activity, of course, it’s advisable for all employees to take part in it.

However, if you’re in the middle of an onboarding process with your new hires, you’ll need to prepare an assessment just for your new employees.

Or if you notice some employees struggle with their current job responsibilities and have lost sight of their career path, you could offer them a specific test that will help them get further insights regarding the issue.

There are many reasons to offer such assessments to your team members - the important thing is to remain flexible not only about the actual result, but the frequency in which you conduct such tests along with their purpose.

Final Words

All in all, improving team dynamics through personality tests is an effective way to ensure you end up with high-performing teams.

And while personality tests can’t magically grant your work teams positive dynamics, they sure are a guiding light for team members who know where to look and what to do.

Ready to help your work teams finally see that light?

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Heather Harper

About the author

Heather Harper is a psychology student from the University of Lincoln. She currently works as an intern for WorkStyle and is studying a Masters in Occupational Psychology at the University of Manchester.