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How to integrate diverse personalities in teams

The Academy for Chief Executives, a leading provider of experiential business learning® facilitates groups of CEOs and Managing Directors who meet together every month to network and take full advantage of experiential learning. Part of membership involves members taking their issues to the table and discussing them with their peers.

The issue of “how to integrate diverse personalities in teams” was raised during a recent meeting. This was a very interesting issue where the problem of how to integrate both cultural and personality diversity within teams was discussed. The leader’s task of ensuring that new (and existing) team members work effectively together is by no means a new issue of course. In their article entitled “How to Integrate New People”, Patrick J. McKenna and David H. Maister make reference to the fact that, “The addition of even one new member requires that the entire team regroup and rebond, finding new ways of working and ultimately recreating their dynamics and working style.”

On discussing the issue further it transpired that the team leaders of two very different groups were complete opposites from a psychometric profile point of view. One was high in Dominance and Influence whilst the other was high in Compliance and Steadiness. (This reference is direct from the DISC model).

For anyone unfamiliar with the DISC concept, it is a psychometric tool based on a simple idea — that professional and personal success lies in knowing yourself, understanding others, and realising the impact of your actions and attitudes on other people.

DISC is an anagram of the four areas identified as:

  • Dominant – relating to control, power and assertiveness (a direct communicator and task-oriented person)
  • Influencer – relating to social situations and communication (a ‘people person’, direct communicator and people-oriented)
  • Steady – relating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness (a steady-paced team player, indirect communicator and people-oriented person)
  • Conscientious (or compliant) – relating to structure and organisation (a process and quality expert, indirect communicator and detail/task-oriented person)
  • Most people have one main style, with one or two back-up styles.

DISC was used in this instance to help the team members understand each other better. As a consequence these two leaders came to grips with the issue of ‘what’s right’ rather than ‘who’s right’. Once this was achieved, it became much easier for the two individuals to concentrate on their strengths in motivational terms rather than dwelling on their weakness. They have since become a much more harmonious unit, working well together.

For confidentiality reasons we cannot divulge all of the advice provided by our members – however, we do hold open meetings where guests are able to attend and experience for themselves the real power of ‘The Board You Could Never Afford’®. To find out how you can take advantage of advice like this every month, visit

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