By Ellie Hearne


If only everyone worked exactly the way I did.

Meetings would be quicker and more efficient. Morale would be higher. We'd be closer to achieving all of our goals. 

But in practice, we all know that a lack of diversity - diversity of approach, of opinion, of background, of gender - is at best boring and at worst damaging to business and morale. As they say on one of my favorite podcasts, none of us is as smart as all of us.

I can count on one hand the number of times my clients have raised challenges that couldn't be fixed by altering an individual's behavior or approach in some way. Equally, leadership coaching often veers into helping people navigate personalities divergent from their own. And we all know that communicating well starts with reading one's audience. 

So how do differing personalities and approaches play into working effectively as a unit? What can we do as team leaders and team members to make everyone work well together - and best serve the business as a result?

Begin by honing both your self-awareness and your "other awareness." These two elements are vital to understanding why your team chooses to work the way it does, why you and others make different choices, and how those things play into the team's overall effectiveness.

Strong relationships make the difference between high-performing, loyal, cohesive teams, and poorly-performing, fractured, ineffective ones. The goal isn't to create a team so closely aligned that everyone always agrees, but to overcome barriers to effective communication and play to each other's strengths. 

I've worked with dozens of teams to help each member understand their own personal style and potential blind spots, how their colleagues prefer to work, and what that might mean for the group. With Insights Discovery, Pencil or Ink offers individual and team profiling as a foundation for making progress uniquely personal and applicable, right from the start.

Different approaches aren't always bad. In fact, they're usually good. But on a real-life, I-can't-believe-that-person-never-replies-to-my-emails level, that can be easy to forget.

Talk to us about using team personalities to enhance individual and group results and morale. It's easier than you think.



Ellie Hearne is a leadership-communications expert and founder of Pencil or Ink. Over the years she has coached leaders at Google, Apple, Starbucks, Spotify, Marriott, and numerous small businesses and startups. Ellie can be reached herehere, and here.