The traditional understanding of “team” leads to teams composed of team-oriented personality types. They are the ones who can further the right team goals and can put their individual interests on the back burner for the good of the community. They are the Supporter-Expert personality types, who are fundamentally non-proactive, who like known environments, known processes, and who are always concerned by new challenges, at least at first. Supporters are afraid of losing the routine and letting go of what is already known, while Experts are afraid of losing the well-established, usually perfectly functioning professional background when a new direction comes to the fore. 2021 is all about embracing the new and abandoning some of the old, so it will be a tough time for teams with a team-oriented approach.
Team-oriented personalities in business
According to typical professionals, these personalities are good to work with. The atmosphere is balanced, there is no conflict, and everyone is moving forward towards a common goal. This is also the case with a Supporter-Expert team, so if execution, steady, predictable work without conflicts is the most important thing for our organisation, we should choose this type of team. We also have to bear in mind that efficiency, profit motive, need for novelty, dynamism, truly outstanding results, and the desire of reaching new heights will be missing from our lives. These two personality types not only not want these goals, but in most cases, they specifically reject them. We must be aware that if we have, for example, a team that was perfectly capable of functioning before the crisis, although not great at launching new business ventures – but managed existing customers well – it will not be enough to build your company with them in the post-pandemic recovery. Moreover, this type of team will be reluctant to accept that a person is coded differently. They become a closed community, losing their “open-mindedness”. Of course, they think of themselves as very open and inclusive, but in reality, they reject everything different. They communicate mostly from within, and behave differently towards the outside world, so they can very seriously mislead the top decision-makers of the organisation, who end up believing that there is no way out of the given market situation. We also need to bear in mind that, generally speaking, accountability does not work within such a team. They always find the right excuses, which in most cases seem very professional. It is never about what could be done, how a situation could be resolved, but mostly about what cannot be done and why. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Supporter-Expert people really like to work in a team because they believe that responsibility – the responsibility of the individual – can be shifted, distributed, or hidden within a community. They like to hide behind team results, and unfortunately, this is a very serious challenge for the organisation.
The impact of COVID-19
Team-oriented teams with Supporter-Expert personality types will certainly need some serious restructuring in the coming months or years. It will be particularly important to build individual accountability, which can best be addressed by restructuring motivation systems. We should forget about team goals or modules based on team performance! We should not strengthen the already strong team unity, as this will further suppress individual responsibility. And if we make this mistake, in 2021-2024, we will keep hearing the saying that has almost become a routine sentence after the 2008 crisis: “but there’s a crisis”. The only difference is that the cost of this excuse will be much higher now than it was 12 years ago. Not just because the mental impact of the crisis is much deeper than that of the last one. Mostly because now, due to generational, social, and other effects, a lot more organisations will embrace personality types characterised by conflicts within teams for the sake of the results. Consequently, there will be a lot more proactive companies in the market. And no one really wants to participate in a competition where a Ruler-Individual and a Supporter-Expert team are competing against each other for new market niches and positions, because it will be a wolf-sheep fight, and we all know who the winner will be in the end.