As a manager or director, you know how to make sure your team gets things done. But over the last couple of years, it hasn’t been easy. Between hybrid work models and Zoom fatigue, leading a team is challenging. We’re talking “playing Jenga during an earthquake” kind of challenging.
It’s pretty common to fall into the trap of focusing too much on tasks and not enough on team building. We get it. You’ve got deadlines to meet and clients to reach. Productivity can take precedence over people. But to do great work, people eventually need a framework for how their unique personality type can function best. Because when you think about it, the people on your team need individual support if they’re going to stay productive and engaged in a group environment.
It gets even more complicated when your team is scattered across multiple locations and time zones. Add in different experience levels or personality types and trying to provide individual support to team members can get complicated.
Strong teams start with strong individuals
According to Gallup, people who are aware of their strengths are more engaged and perform better at work. In turn, higher levels of engagement translate to:
- 17% higher productivity
- 41% lower absenteeism
- 21% higher profitability
- 24% lower turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
So how do you offer individual support and build an engaged, productive team while there are a thousand things on your to-do list? You call in the professionals. That’s exactly what Nikole Lim did. As the International Director and Founder of the nonprofit Freely in Hope, Nikole needed a way to improve global team dynamics and communication. And she needed it done virtually.
Engagement and productivity trickle down from the top
Nikole’s nonprofit, Freely in Hope, helps prevent sexual violence by offering safe spaces of education, legal aid, health care, counseling, and mentorship for young women in Kenya and Zambia. The organization has impacted more than 10,000 students, families, women in prostitution, and survivors of trafficking.
With the launch of Nikole’s book and her powerful work in Kenya and Zambia, her team grew exponentially. As new employees from all over the world joined Freely in Hope, they had to come up to speed quickly on very sensitive matters. While each team works independently on separate facets of the organization, they still needed to find a way to gain self-awareness and grow together.
It was especially important for Freely in Hope executives to model a healthy team dynamic for the rest of the organization. In a video interview with us, Nikole mentioned how vital it was for her colleagues to look at personality insights, strengths, and blind spots through a high-level lens.
“For the executive team, finding a dynamic way to talk about ways we can increase team synergy, unity, and productivity together was really critical. Because the way we talk about and approach organizational health issues trickles down,” said Nikole.
Nikole makes a great point. If company leaders aren’t willing to become more self-aware and team-oriented, they can’t expect employees to magically improve company culture on their own. And they certainly can’t expect them to become high performers at a job that doesn’t give them tools to succeed. For the global Freely in Hope team, the MBTIonline Teams experience made the most sense.
Early in the process, each employee and executive at Freely in Hope took the official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment. Like every person who takes the assessment, we gave them one requirement: just be yourself. The assessment measures how you get energy, take in information, make decisions, and participate in the world around you – and it counts on your honesty to do that. Once they got their results, Nikole and her team learned how their individual personality types impacted the organization as a whole – and how each person’s strengths and blind spots could be developed.
Program outline made huge difference
As the one leading the charge, Nikole made the wise decision to start a weekly, one-hour team meeting dedicated to the MBTI framework. Each week for a month, they discussed different takeaways from the results – including how to solve problems more effectively, what motivates each person, and potential areas of conflict. The meetings were guided by a program outline to help guide the conversation and make people feel comfortable opening up.
Bonus: you can read the case study to see the exact outline they used.
It was especially helpful to have a dedicated program outline because the Freely in Hope team is global. Some employees are in Kenya, some in Zambia, and some in the US. The outline gave them common talking points and a shared goal.
“Every week, we had specific elements we emphasized in our global staff meeting. For the Kenyan office and our local team of six, we would follow up the conversation and discuss how to integrate what we learned in our day-to-day activities. When setting team goals, we’d discuss individual development goals and also set goals for the entire team that spoke to the specific opportunities for growth in our Kenyan context,” said Lydia Matioli, Freely in Hope’s program manager for Kenya.
In a video interview, Lydia also shared some other eye-opening moments she had during the process. By the end of the MBTIonline Teams experience, here’s what the Freely in Hope team accomplished:
- Improved team communication
- Reinforced company culture based on strengths and values
- Better tools and insights for individual or staff development
- More dynamic way for executives to lead by example and discuss differences
- New, intuitive framework to help employees stay motivated, manage stress, and make decisions
Need help bringing out the best in your team?
MBTIonline Teams is a self-guided virtual team-building experience that highlights people’s strengths and potential blind spots. The tool delivers trusted Myers-Briggs® personality insights so you and your employees become more dynamic, engaged, and motivated.
Think your team could use this? Let’s talk.