Team Member Personality Types – Video

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
Dick’s Books on Amazon

The differences in team member personality types provide a constant challenge to project managers trying to build cohesive teams. What happens most often, is that the project manager assumes that everyone else including the entire team is just like him. That is, they assume that everybody else likes to receive information the way they do. They may like to receive new information in chronological order. Or, they may prefer receiving information is a summary and then ask questions and get the detail if they wish. Still others want all of the detail right up front.

They also assume that everyone else makes decisions just like they do. Some people like to be presented with detailed information and listen to it and then think about it for a while and then make a decision. They don’t like to be rushed and they will not be comfortable with summaries. That is very common. In fact it is the most common decision-making style. But if you are a person who likes to make the decisions based only on the big picture and you try and force your team members to make decisions the way you do you will never build a cohesive team.
There are many other differences between people which affect the best way to work with them. Project managers need to be very savvy in this regard because they very often don’t have a great deal of formal authority over the people they’re working with.
The ability to read your team members and communicate with them in the way they prefer is one of the major differences between consistently successful project managers and those who are not.

Watch this video of a project manager dealing with a strongly introverted project team member. In the first part of the movie, the project manager makes many mistakes and alienates the team member. In the second part of the video, the project manager applies “best practices” techniques for this personality type and builds a stronger relationship with the team member. The key point to notice is the behavior of the team member which in the first movie the project manager ignores and in the second movie the project manager pays very careful attention to the behavior and reaction of the team member Leading Teams Main Page

Assessing a New Team Member's Personality Type

After watching the video, you should at the very least learn to pay attention to the people you are talking to rather than ignoring them. You should observe how they react as you say different things. Observe if things you say or do make them upset or angry. A good project manager instantly reacts to that and inquires of the team member, “What is wrong?” Or “I’m sorry that I said something that’s causing you concern.” Comments like that give you a chance to correct problems during your session with the team member. Ignoring them makes your errors have a long term impact on the relationship you have with the team member.

Author: Dick Billows, PMP

Dick has more than 25 years of project and program management experience throughout the US and overseas. Dick was a partner in the 4th largest professional firm and a VP in a Fortune 200 company. He trained and developed 100's of project managers using his methodology. Dick is the author of 14 books, over 300 articles and director/producer of 90 short project management training videos. He and a team of 25 project managers work with client companies & students across the US and in Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. They have assisted over 300 organizations in improving their project performance. Books by Dick Billows, PMP are on