Mind Styles Research Supports Complementary Team Members

Helen Fisher notes that personality styles affect relationships, including team relationships. Her questionnaires are seen by some as a new and exciting disruptive form of a personality test. Her findings are based on brain chemistry.

Her survey is based on two areas:

·     Culture is influenced from external input during the life span, and

·     Temperament comes from constitutional genes, hormones, and neurotransmitters. Her field of study is how personality is linked to many of these internal factors.

People who are dopamine system expressers are curious, creative, and flexible. Those who express serotonin are social, risk-averse and want to belong. Those who express testosterone are direct and assertive and are drawn to analytics and rules like engineering, music, and IT. Those expressing estrogen/oxytocin are intuitive, empathetic, and long-term thinkers – have good verbal and social skills.

The amazing thing about this work is that with these new methods, looking at qualities of a person can be less binary and more like concurrent “volume controls” that can be turned up or down for each individual in these four basic areas. So, if a team member is risk-averse, this is not a weakness but is based on having a stronger serotonin system. Such a person also fosters more team connections.

It turns out that diversity of temperament is very valuable for higher team performance. This is very different or additive to our current understanding of diversity – and Fisher favors a team of complements of temperament. The conservative serotonin expresser is compatible to exploring dopamine expressers. It also explains why someone can be both extroverted and introverted, which past tests could not explain well.

Her work also shows how people from different parts of the globe can have genetic predisposition to different temperament systems. So, entire countries and organizations can take on specific temperaments.

There may be gender difference associated with high energy testosterone and greater listening with estrogen. However, since each of us have the array of the four systems, the model does better at explaining a more nuanced description of personality than more “all or nothing” theories from the past.

Please read the article and see if you like this new thinking about personality and complements on teams vs. positive and negative traits holding up to your scrutiny.

 

Enjoy the day.

Joe

If You Understand How the Brain Works, You Can Reach Anyone

By Alison Beard in conversation with biological anthropologist Helen Fisher

Harvard Business Review March-April 2017, pages 60-62

 

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