Keirsey Signature Workshop Case Study
The Synergy Factor: Transforming Dysfunction to High Performance
A Director of Product Development at a major telecommunications company recently engaged
Keirsey's Consulting Division, Synergy Leaders LLC, to work with him and his team of 9 managers to overcome what he termed
as "a building tension within the group that was impairing overall team performance".
The director didn't have a feel for what the causes of the tension were, but felt that
communication within the team was sub-par, and that the team wasn't operating at the level
he felt the individual team members' experience and skill sets would infer. He asked
Synergy Leaders to discover the barriers holding his team back, and to help them improve
their overall team synergy.
As preparation for their Keirsey Team Building Workshop, the director and each of his
9 managers took the Keirsey Temperament Sorter-II. The overall makeup of the team is
reflected in the Keirsey Team Temperament Map to the right. Armed with this information,
the consultant met with the team to conduct the workshop session.
Surfacing the Problems
The primary problem the team was experiencing was tension between the individual team
members and the director. The team members expressed a great deal of frustration: they
felt over-worked and under-appreciated, and due to these feelings, tended to complain
amongst themselves. The major complaints were that the director did not clearly communicate
the details of projects they were working on, yet he expected exceptional results. They also
felt the director was highly concerned with project results but not with the actual team
members, and that he often came off as "cold and arrogant". The director, on the other hand,
felt that his team was competent and capable of performing their tasks without "micromanagement",
so he was comfortable in giving them autonomy. His only complaint about the team was "that
they complained too much".
One look at the Keirsey Team Temperament Map gave the Keirsey Consultant a clear perspective
on the probable root cause of the problems this team was encountering. There are ten members
of the team; the director (represented by the triangle on the Map), is a Rational
Mastermind (INTJ), and the 9 managers are Guardians. Rationals, more than anything, derive
their self image through autonomy and being competent. Strongest in strategy, they hate to
"state the obvious" in fear that it insults peoples' intelligence, and therefore limit
direction they give to a high level, refraining from giving detailed instruction that, in
their view, limits the autonomy of their team members. Rationals (Masterminds in particular)
also often can come across as cold or indifferent, as they believe the best compliment they
can pay is to show they feel a subordinate is competent and doesn't require direction.
Consequently, the director was leading his team in the way he himself would want to be led:
giving a high level of autonomy and demonstrating his respect for the team members' competence.
In contrast, Guardian team members like a boss that they feel is very engaged. Guardians
excel at logistics (the weakest suit for Rationals), and appreciate a boss that communicates
the details of their expectations so that everyone is on the same page. They appreciate
feedback in a linear fashion on the details of a project, which minimizes the probability of
the project veering far off course. Rather than being insulted by the boss giving details,
they respect and value this level of engagement, which demonstrates to them a respect for the
value of teamwork in achieving their goals, as well as interest in their personal success.
During the Team Building Session, director and the team members came to awareness that there
were misunderstandings and judgments being made because they were seeing each other through
the filters of their respective temperaments. Upon becoming aware of this dynamic, the director
made adjustments to his leadership style to be more attentive, and to address logistics and details
in giving direction and setting expectations. The team members gained understanding that their
boss actually had great respect for them, and that they had misjudged his hand-off style as
being unengaged and not interested in their personal success. Understanding and removing
these barriers proved to be the key to allowing this team to dramatically improve their ability
to work together to achieve success.
Click here to contact Keirsey Consulting today to start your team on the path
to higher effectiveness.
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