myers briggs

MBTI Bite: How To Pick Up Someone's Personality Type Over The Phone

mbti-bite_-how-to-pick-up-someones-personality-type-over-the-phoneJust think of what it would be like if you could figure out a new stakeholder’s personality type while you speak to them on the phone. Think of how quickly you could connect with them, tailor your dialogue to their preferred communication style, and even know how to balance their weaknesses so that they feel empowered to stay in their strike zones.

It's possible.

Myers-Briggs is the most popular and most researched assessment in the world. It breaks down personality types into four dichotomous pairs.

1. E vs I, Extrovert vs Introvert.

You know the person on the other end of the telephone is an E if they consistently talk things out with you. We E’s are notorious for thinking as we speak. We've also got a case of verbal diarrhea. That is, we are verbose.

I’s, on the other hand pause, think things out and give more concise, formed answers. They also tend to process new information internally instead of with others.

2. S vs N, Sensing vs Intuition.

S’s, or Sensors, are 75% of the population. So when in doubt, you can guess that the stakeholder you are speaking to is an S. But another way to know is if they speak in specifics. Do they give detailed descriptions as they lay out information? Do they talk in more tangibles (sights, smells, sounds) than in abstract concepts?

You know you are speaking to an N, or Intuitive, when they focus on the big picture. N's often think broadly, basing their ideas more on intuition than sensory cues. N’s also love new ideas and possibilities.

3. T vs F, Thinking vs. Feeling.

T’s, or Thinkers, can be spotted because they talk about the logical implications of things.

F’s, or Feelers, may first talk about a task but will often interject with the impact the project will have on the people.

4. J vs P, Judging vs. Perceiving.

J’s or Judgers, feel more comfortable once a decision is made. Over the phone, you will sense them wanting to lock down a decision.

P’s, on the other hand, like to keep their options open. It will be harder to nail things down.

Here is a cheat sheet that gives you all of the above in one page:



Once you can pick off the letters, go to and get detailed descriptions that will help you get them better.

Even if you can't nail all the letters use this cheat sheet to tailor the way you communicate with them not just over the phone but in email too.

Chew On This:


  • How can you implement this mindset into your phone calls today?


Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

*This blog is an amalgamation of a few different clients.  No one single client is being singled out.

MBTI Bite: If You’re Involved In The Hospitality Industry, You Had Better Know How To Work With ESFJ’s

working-with-esfjs One of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types is ESFJ.  If you are in the hospitality industry, you are probably bumping into ESFJ’s left and right.

For example, I did a workshop with a 100+ person team in the hospitality industry. Despite great diversity in culture, ethnicity, nations, etc. close to 30% were ESFJ’s!

How can you spot an ESFJ?  

ESFJ’s are those who thrive on structure and routine, are very loyal to their managers, and also care very much about people.

They love action-oriented teamwork and are usually among the first to help a colleague in a practical way.

They are also master networkers, and happen to know who is best to bring in for a project.

ESFJ’s are tremendous hosts/hostesses. They are the social event organizers.  This skill translates especially well in management, since ESFJ’s work to make sure everyone is involved and unified. They will work quickly to resolve team conflict so that the project gets done on time.

But the key trait to remember about ESFJ’s is that they are perfectionists at heart.  ESFJ’s love to do quality work.

They can sometimes get too caught up in what, to many others, would be small details.

If you are working with an ESFJ, here are three tips to help the two of you work better together:

1. Make sure that everyone’s role on the team is clear.


ESFJ’s thrive on structure and clarity.  They want to know who is responsible for what. They especially want to know what they are going to be held accountable for.

Since they are master team players, they rely on this clarity in order to play a role in unifying and supporting the team.

Once there is structure and clarity, watch the ESFJ handle their responsibilities with excellence.

If there is little structure or if roles are not clear, do not be surprised if they become confused, and stress becomes visible.  They may also become somewhat paralyzed, not sure how to proceed.

Then comes fear of failure in most ESFJ’s. ESFJ’s hate looking bad in front of others, so this fear of failure will need to be dealt with quickly.

Many ESFJ’s have learned to help their more “go-with-the-flow” managers develop structure and clarity.

So if you are a manager who struggles to put together clear roles and structure, solicit the help of your ESFJ direct reports.  They are probably dying to help you.

ESFJ’s are extremely practical, but often this strength does not become apparent until their role is defined.  Therefore, do not overlook this step when working with them.

2. When giving feedback, be sure to point out what was quality work, and then talk about how they can take it to the next level.


ESFJ’s care very much how people see them.  Many can struggle with perfectionism.

Most feel embarrassed if they made a mistake that was noticed by the team.

They really want to produce quality work.  They work hard to achieve it, so it is especially disappointing to them when they make a mistake, much less fail at something.

When giving ESFJ’s feedback, be sure to acknowledge publicly what is quality about their work.  Stress how much you value them, but not in a way that seems like flattery.  Be sincere.  Look for the quality and praise it.

When it is time to talk about going to the next level, be sure to do that in private.  If they perceive they are being criticized, the privacy will help you to help them process their emotions around it without causing them undue embarrassment.

Ultimately, they are going to love seeing a way that they can take it up a notch, because they really want their work to be excellent.

3. Be careful about challenging their authority--you might get your head bitten off.


Since ESFJ’s give so much respect to those in authority, and they work hard to get everyone on their team involved and unified, they find it highly offensive when their authority is challenged.  Do not be surprised if you see a strong outburst of emotions.

In general, ESFJ’s hate conflict, but if you happen to bait them, they will escalate the conflict.

If you believe something is off, pull them aside and ask them. Ask if they are up for discussing whatever it is. Once again, be sure to share how you value them as a colleague/boss.  And once again, be sincere.  Don’t try to schmooze with them.

Once the matter is out in the open, identify what is quality and strong about the work they did, and ask if what you see would help make things to be even stronger.

When working with ESFJ’s, as with any personality type, play to their strengths.

If you are someone who loves to innovate and come up with unconventional means of doing things, remember to mention frequently how the innovation will enhance your team’s influence on the larger group.

Chew On This:


  • How can you recognize the ESFJ’s on your team for the quality of their work?


Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

*This blog is an amalgamation of a few different clients.  No one single client is being singled out.

MBTI Bite: Must-Have Tips For Working With The Dominant Personality Type In the Corporate World

mbti-bite-estjESTJ’s dominate middle management and above, for lots of reasons. This personality type loves work. They are dedicated, tough, and they delight in making order out of chaos. They know how to delegate and how to do it fairly. They are direct and honest. These are all traits that senior leadership values. Even without knowing anything about personality types, it’s not hard to spot patterns in who gets promoted, and to notice that it often happens to the ESTJ’s. They are naturally-bent leaders, and it shows in the hiring and promoting process. However, there are 15 other equal personality types in the workplace. They too have gifts and talents that are extremely valuable to the corporate world.

We are entering an era in which a flexible management style is imperative for drawing out the best our teams have to offer. A flexible management style results when a leader learns the personality type of each person he/she leads, draws out their particular gifts, and utilizes those gifts to produce superior results for the team.

We have learned that if we allow one personality type to dominate, blind spots are created through the lack of diversity on our teams. This leads to a sharper and often more diverse competitor taking market share.

We can’t afford that any more.

So we are seeing other personality types ascend to the top of the corporate ladder. However, I think we will always have more ESTJ’s in leadership because their natural gifts are so crucially beneficial.

Here are some tips on how to work with the ESTJ's on your team:

1. ESTJ’s are unlikely to experiment with new ways of doing things, but they are open to a new idea that is proven to work better.

ESTJ’s love creating order out of chaos. Once in order, they will follow whatever routines are necessary to enforce that order.

This often leads to them doing things just ONE way.

This can get boring to those who have a personality type that values variety or experimentation.

What’s worse is that a team that is not taking risks will stop growing. So ESTJ’s need to have their one way appropriately challenged with a proven new method.

Once the new method is proven, the ESTJ will see great value in you and your thought leadership.

Those of us who like to speculate on ways that something could be done better would do well to prove it to ourselves first, before presenting it to an ESTJ boss.

Another option is to announce ahead of time that you want to brainstorm a possibility with your ESTJ boss. Most ESTJ’s want to take action on ideas; they don’t relish “just talking about ideas for the sake of talking."

2. Since ESTJs do things by the book, you have to be careful when you challenge the book, because that can be viewed as a direct challenge to their authority.

So for me, the key phrase in point one that will help us with point two is “appropriately challenged." ESTJ team leaders want to be respected. They will defend their team hard against those who may want to harm the team through a cutback or some other threat. Since they are loyal to their team, they get rankled when they perceive that someone on their team is disrespecting or questioning their authority.

Challenging the rules or established routines that have saved the team from chaos in former days is often perceived by an ESTJ leader as a personal core challenge.

If you catch your ESTJ boss on a day when they are especially stressed, don’t be surprised if you are hit with an outburst of emotions.

Before you challenge the established way of doing something, make sure you’ve proven that it works, or at least ask to brainstorm a new solution.

Then make sure to ask the boss for time to discuss.

Be direct yet tactful with them. If you’re brainstorming, say something like, “I think I see a way to make XYZ even better. Would you be open to discuss it?”

If you have actually proven the solution, then it could be, “Jack and I may have found a way to make XYZ even better. We have run some experiments that show promise. Would you like to hear about it?”

Even though S’s on Myers Briggs love details, if your boss is a VP (or above) at a large company, don’t be surprised if they can fill in the details once they hear your bullet points. So let them know what the bullet points are and that you have details behind them.

3. ESTJ’s will micromanage or be overbearing, especially if they believe you are not working smart or, even worse, have a bad work ethic.

If you want to kill your chances of being promoted with your ESTJ boss, just let them see you have a bad work ethic and they will find a way to silo you. ESTJ's are hard workers. They respect and value a team that works hard as well.

If you are the type of person that does your best work as the deadline gets closer (See P is for Perceiver), then let your boss know about that. Specifically request that the project be broken down into smaller pieces, with hard deadlines for each of those pieces. Then let your boss know that you will get the highest inspiration about “an hour” before the deadline is due.

Let them see the magic you can do in that last hour so that they understand that you don’t necessarily have a bad work ethic the rest of the time.

ESTJ’s are incredible managers. They will fight for you and the team and stand their ground even through some tough resistance. Play to their strengths and you will see the dynamic between the two of you grow stronger.

Chew On This:

  • What does your ESTJ boss need to know about how you work best in order for the two of you to work more effectively?

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

*This blog is an amalgamation of a few different clients. No one single client is being singled out.

MBTI Bite: Three Tips for Working With Judgers (J’s on Myers-Briggs)

mbti-bite_-three-tips-for-working-with-judgers-js-on-myers-briggsAccording to Myers-Briggs, Judgers (J’s) are decisive, closure-loving, organizers who love to plan and love to be on time.  They tend to be more judgmental than their P (Perceiver) counterparts, but not always, and it is not the defining trait of those who have the J preference. J’s are typically the people who like to make checklists.  In fact, you can tell that someone really is a J if they do something that is not on their checklist, and then put that task on their list just for the satisfaction of checking another thing off the list.

Judgers love to make order out of chaos.  They typically are not quick to adapt or show a lot of flexibility.  When they find a routine they like, they stick to it.  Yes, they will eventually add some variety to it, but for the most part, the variety is just a tweak here and there.

Want another way to spot a judger?  Walk into their office.  If it is organized, they are probably a judger. Bonus tip: If things in the room are arranged symmetrically, yeah, you guessed it--they are a judger.

Judgers are rule-followers.  Not always, but usually.  They also tend to be comfortable with authority.

They find it hard to play when there is work to do.  They don’t mix work and play.  Work comes first, then we can relax enough to play.

As deadlines get closer and the work is not done, they are usually the ones getting nervous (This is why P’s can drive them nuts.)

They also feel much more comfortable once a decision is made than while there are still a lot of options as to how to make the decision.

You get the picture....probably some co-workers have already come to mind.  If you are in corporate America, about 60% of your co-workers are J’s.  The higher you go up in most companies, the higher that percentage goes up.

Even though I am a J, I must say we really need to increase the diversity of personality types in corporate America so we can cover our blind spots better.  But that’s another subject.

When working with J, keep in mind a few things that will help promote excellence across your team:

1. J’s value being methodical.

J’s plan their work and then work their plan.  They do so to avoid unnecessary stress.  If you have a task that needs to be done by a J, share that task with them as soon as you can.  They will develop, at the very least, a skeleton plan of what has to be done, and when.  Stronger J’s will develop a detailed plan.

Give them the chance to map it out.  It will serve you in the long run.

If there are members of the team who are not methodical or who wait until the last minute to get things done, a J will feel frustrated and anxious.

J’s develop the plans to limit the outside influences that can raise the stress level.  If someone tends to do work at the last minute, J’s often fear that something will come up that will lead them (and the rest of the team) to miss the deadline.

2. Be prepared... When in doubt, err by being over-prepared.

J’s value those who are prepared.  J’s cheered when Greg McKeown, in his book Essentialism, extolled the value of early and radical preparation.  Since J’s usually prepare well for their meetings and want to reach conclusion as fast as possible, those who do not prepare--and waste the team’s time due to their lack of preparation--are often frowned upon.

It is important for J’s to learn that their counterparts, P’s or Perceivers, often rely on the moment to put lots of things together at once.  If the P is also an N, then that is even more so. NP’s can see patterns and put things together fast, once the moment it is needed becomes clear.

For J’s, their desire to be methodical often blocks their ability to see things in the moment, unless they have a lot of experience or have prepared really well.

3. Avoid last minute changes.

Since J’s have spent time preparing and working out a plan, a last-minute change can  make them feel frustrated.  It means they don’t have time to prepare as they’d like.  Since they don’t usually possess strong “go-with-the-flow” skills, they will also feel anxious.  Strong J’s do not like to wing it unless they are extremely well versed in the subject.

If there needs to be a last minute change, then it is usually important that you explain why the change is better than what they’ve spent time preparing for.

It is also valuable to have some NP’s on the team who can map out what needs to happen in the moment, then the J’s can follow through with their strengths.

Chew On This:

  • What can you do to limit the amount of last minute changes?

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

MBTI Bite: Three Tips For Working With Extroverts (E’s in Myers-Briggs)

three tips for working with extroverts We extroverts vary greatly.  We can be loud, high energy, interrupt like crazy, and when we speak, we can start in one direction and, by the end of the paragraph, be talking in almost the opposite direction.

While many of the traits we possess are viewed as positives for a work environment, we need to understand that our introverted counterparts may, at times, find us overwhelming.

If you are an introvert, here are three tips that can help you work better with extroverts:

1. Let them verbally process.

I wish I could be as succinct as some of my introverted friends.  The reality is that as an extrovert, I process while speaking.  It is as I hear the words come out of my mouth that I can evaluate, and even change my mind on the fly.  On the other hand, most introverts mean what they say.

When working with an extrovert, pay more attention to their conclusion than to what they were saying initially. The conclusion is where they’ve landed.

You can help them to process verbally by--every once in awhile--repeating or paraphrasing what you heard them say.  This often helps them to get clear.

Just remember that you will get your best ideas from your extroverts if you encourage the verbal processing, and give them space to discuss information and ideas before committing to a plan.

As implied, extroverts excel in group work.  They need interaction with others.  Provide more of that for them, and they will shine.

2. Give non-verbal cues.

Extroverts do respond to non-verbal cues, so be aware of your body language when interacting with an extrovert.  For example, you can encourage an extrovert just by leaning in, using positive tones of voice, or smiling more.

3. Give public praise.

Studies show that brains of extroverts are wired differently than introverts.  We require more to get stimulated, and we look for more external motivational and reward cues than introverts do.

On the whole, save the criticism for one-on-one times, as negative feedback can often deflate extroverts.  But if you praise them for what they do right, you will see them come alive, increase productivity and be more successful.  This is especially true if the praise is given in front of co-workers.

Chew On This:


  • What will you do to help the extroverts on your team succeed?


Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

MBTI Bite: 3 Tips for Working with Feelers (“F’s” in Myers-Briggs)

Work With Feelers When I was starting out in the business world as a Feeler, I thought I needed to “overcome” my sensitivity and emotional-side in order to make sound business decisions.

I tried hard to become like the Thinkers I admired (“T’s” in Myers-Briggs) and freeze my emotions to come up with “objective reality.”  That just did not work for me.  I felt empty when I did not embrace the emotions I felt and others were feeling in the room.

What I once thought was a weakness, I now see as a core wiring that helps me make effective decisions and bring good to the marketplace.

Having coached in the corporate world for years, I have heard Feeling clients say that they needed to develop: thick skin, the ability to make the “hard decisions” that people don’t like, and to work successfully with those who don’t give emotional cues.

If you are leading a team where some members are Feelers, remember:

  1. Feelers want harmony.

Feelers are sensitive to people’s emotions.  They want everyone to get along.  They want to be liked, believed in, and viewed as competent.

Thinkers often freeze their emotions in order to get to “objective reality.”  Feelers embrace emotions in order to have the emotional data pieces to make a sound decision that enhances harmony.

As a conversation moves impersonally, a Feeler can translate an attempt by Thinkers to be objective as Thinkers being cold or uncaring.  This can trigger a fear in the Feeler that those impacted will not be treated fairly or will be not be considered.  This fear can color how they view the logic the Thinker is presenting and can lead to strong resistance.

A great way to help a Feeler is to make them aware that you (if you are a Thinker) have a tendency to freeze your emotions in order to discern what is true.  This freezing of emotions is not done because you don’t care about people but rather it is because you are trying to arrive at truth.  Once you arrive at truth, you want to make sure that the truth is communicated in a way that brings harmony to the team and that is especially where you will love their insights and guidance.

  1. Pepper what you say with emotional terms so that they can connect to you.

Feelers use emotional cues to stay connected with those they communicate with.  If every once in awhile you include what you feel about the facts you are describing that helps the Feeler to track better with you and not to assume that you feel cold.

If you sense that they are feeling resistant or defensive or keep coming back to the impact on people before you are ready to discuss that piece, assure them that you are still looking for what is best for the overall team and you want to make sure everyone is treated well regardless of choice.  Then say what doing that feels like for you (i.e. you can say, “It would be gratifying to me to not only come up with the best solution, but also that the impact on all is received well.  You just want to handle it one part at a time.)"

  1. Separate out the behaviors from the person.

When offering criticism to a Feeler there is a danger that the Feeler may translate the criticism as an attack on who you believe they are.  So make sure to first stress how you see them and then go into the criticism.  Then come back to the how you see them as you attack the behaviors that need to be addressed.  Always be sincere in how you see them or else it could feel like you are buttering them up but only to cushion the blow.

So you could say something like, “I believe in you.  I value you.  I have seen you contribute in valuable ways like when you did XYZ.  I want to talk about something that will make things even better.  Are you ok with us diving in there?” Get buy-in and make sure that they sense that you are on their side.  Then go into whatever feedback you sense is appropriate and then go back to what you said before, “I am saying this to you because you are already valuable this will take you to the next level and I want to see you there.”

I have coached Feelers who are in fields that most people would not expect them to rise to like in areas of Strategy, Accounting, Engineering, Statistics, etc.  Bringing their ability to pick up what others feel has been a tremendous blessing to their businesses.

Chew On This: What benefits does your company gain from the Feeler personality types?

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

10 Characteristics of High-Performing Teams: Part 2

High Performing Teams This is the third part of a three-part blog series on high-performing teams. The first article was about how to turn your team into the team that everyone wants to work for. The second article went into detail about five of the ten characteristics of high-performing teams.

High Performing Teams (HPT) are the teams everyone wants to work for.  They get so much done, and have a lot of fun doing so.

Many of us want to see our teams as already being HPT’s, but if we are honest, we can see where our teams fall short and then develop strategies to help them get there.

As previously mentioned, in the last post we discussed the first five characteristics:

  1. Open & Clear Communication
  2. Defined Roles & Responsibilities
  3. Mutual Trust
  4. Effective Decision-Making
  5. Coordinative Relationships

In this post, we will discuss the last five:

  1. Clear Goals
  2. Participative Leadership
  3. Managing Conflict
  4. Value Diversity
  5. Positive Atmosphere

Clear Goals

Is your team clear on what their goals are?  What percentage of their time is spent actually fulfilling those goals?  If that percentage is below 80%, what needs to be deleted, delegated, diminished, or delayed so that the team can stay focused?

Also, are the goals set up in a S.M.A.R.T. format?  If the goals are not tangible and clear, there will be debate as to whether or not they were achieved.

Finally, please be sure to activate each team member’s core values in order for them to fully commit to those goals.

Participative Leadership

When watching HPT’s in action, it is often hard to tell who the leader is. Members of HPT’s tend to push each other to bring out the best in each other and give ideas as to how the goals should be achieved. Often times teams vote on the course that should be taken and then all members of the team align to achieve it.

Managing Conflict

HPT’s resolve conflicts quickly and efficiently. They don't allow for resentment to build between team members. Other team members smell tension and they will encourage the tensions to be resolved.

Usually team members attack the ideas while affirming the team member who suggested the idea but sometimes egos can get frayed and conflict occurs.

Conflict is dealt with directly and honestly. They do everything they can to attack the problem and not each other.

Value Diversity

The best teams that I have seen have a good, balanced mix of Myers-Briggs types. As such, they cover each other's blind spots really well.

They also have people on the team of different backgrounds and levels of experience. This diversity assures that the best options are executed.

Diversity is a major reason why high-performing teams are very effective decision-makers.

Positive Atmosphere

High-performing team members contribute everything they can to maintaining a positive atmosphere.  Typically they become really good at energizing team members, communicating transparently, and staying flexible while generating options to lock on the solution. These teams know that they are going to succeed and that belief contributes to the positive atmosphere.

How does your team measure against these 10 characteristics?  Where do you want to start to advance these characteristics across your team?  Do you want to strengthen a strength or contain a weakness?

If you have the right team members, your team can become an HPT.

Chew On This: What does your team need most to become a high-performing team?

Ryan Bailey is a Leadership Coach who advances excellence across leaders and their teams.

10 Characteristics of High-Performing Teams: Part 1

High Performing Team In my previous post, I outlined five principles for turning your team into a team that everyone wants to work for.  In the next two posts, I will break down 10 characteristics of High Performing Teams (HPT).

I delivered a workshop on HPT’s in New York to the top sales group of a company.  On a white board were listed the 10 characteristics of high performing teams.  Those characteristics are:

  1. Open & Clear Communication
  2. Defined Roles & Responsibilities
  3. Mutual Trust
  4. Effective Decision-Making
  5. Coordinative Relationships
  6. Clear Goals
  7. Participative Leadership
  8. Managing Conflict
  9. Value Diversity
  10. Positive Atmosphere

The members of this 40+ team were asked to go up and put a check mark next to the top three characteristics that they believed the team already did really well.

This time there were four characteristics that did not get a single check from more than 40 people.

The leader of the team stopped me and asked her team, “What would it take for those four areas to reach the same level as the top 3?”

The conversation that followed was phenomenal as the team articulated real suggestions and gave the type of feedback that normally teams only divulge in a strictly confidential interview-style 360-degree-review.  All feedback was received really well and it served as a rallying cry that propelled the team closer.

Let’s break down the first five characteristics of high performing teams in this post and then we will cover the other five in the next week's post. .

These characteristics are not in order.

Open & Clear Communication

On high-performing teams, people say what they mean.  They express their opinions, preferences, and disagreements.  Those of us who are more feeler-types on Myers-Briggs may say it with more tact than thinker-types often do. But sometimes, because of our tact, we are not as clear right away as our thinker-counterparts are.

Being open and clear is a skill that can be developed.  Those of us who are extroverted often need to verbally process first, then we can get clear.  Those of us who are introverted usually think before we speak.

You know you are being open if there is no marketing to what you are saying.  That is you are authentic and can be pinned to your position.  There is sometimes a sense of risk that I feel when I am being open, but that risk quickly goes away as I sense others drawing closer to me.

The communication is only clear when everyone can repeat back what you said or better yet, paraphrase it in a way that gets to the heart of what you said.  Make sure on the major points that you ask your team if they understand what you said.

Defined Roles & Responsibilities

If you asked your team to write a job description for how they actually spend their time, would it match the one you would write as to how they should be spending their time?

As the book Essentialism stresses, everyone needs to know the most core part of their role.  They need to go all in there.  What percentage of your direct report’s time is on what is most essential?  Find ways to increase that time if it is not where it needs to be.

It is important that everyone knows each other’s role and what they are specifically responsible for.  If this is not clear, there is going to be some grief and heartache especially from the Judgers (see Myers-Briggs type) as they see people crossing boundaries.  Moreover, you probably won’t be producing superior results without this kind of clarity.

Mutual Trust

Trust comes from understanding how each person is wired, that includes knowing their core driver.  It also comes from repeated experiences where you can experience the other’s integrity.

I have seen team members, especially those who are being on-boarded on to the team, move to trust quickly with an understanding of each team members’ Myers-Briggs type and the one-pager that I mentioned in the previous post.  You want a tool that helps people really get one another quickly and you will see trust soar.

You will know that it is there because you will sense the team fighting for one another and you will sense that the environment is positive and comfortable even though team members push one another to get the best out of each other.

In the cases where someone has acted without integrity or where there are misgiving between team members.  Good effective conflict resolution that always includes ownership and forgiveness will also improve trust.

Effective Decision-Making

According to Bain & Company, the qualities of effective decision making are:

  • Quality - “How often do you choose the right course of action?”
  • Speed - “How quickly do you make decisions compared with your competitors?”
  • Yield - “How often do you execute decision as intended?”
  • Effort - “Do you put the right amount of effort into making and executing decisions?”

If you track the decisions you and your team have made a year or two ago, how would you say you and your team are doing?

What can you do to improve in any of those four areas?

Becoming a team that makes consistently effective decisions will increase productivity.

Coordinative Relationships

As result of the four characteristics listed above is that teams know how to communicate and coordinate tasks and responsibilities in a way that they outperform.  They know when they are coordinating tasks how to support one another throughout the process.  There is a sense of intrinsic accountability that will come through.  Sometimes it needs to be formalized but for the most part the team members’ tasks are not only in their wheelhouse but out of desire to accomplish their goal with excellence.

Chew On This: Out of the 5 characteristics listed above, which one would you most want to strengthen?

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

Turn Your Team Into the Team Everyone Wants to Work For

Team I sat in a board room with a business leader as we waited for his five direct reports to show.  As they walked in, the energy of the room was electric.  There was lots of humor and a real sense of camaraderie that only comes from having high levels of trust.

My job was to observe and at the end of the meeting give feedback that would advance excellence across the team.

As the meeting started, the leader who brought me said there was only one agenda item, which was: how to double their division in less than five years.

As they dove in, it was obvious everyone loved being on that team.  They were different personalities who’ve learned to leverage each other’s skills and talents.  They jumped in with various options.  Sometimes those options were ripped apart but they always tried to find the good in what someone suggested.  At one heated point a member of the team challenged another member.  She said something to the effect of, “It doesn’t feel like you are all in right now.  I’ve seen you come up with better.  Get in!”

The member nodded his head, sat up, and focused.  When he came up with a really good suggestion, she loudly said, “Yes that’s it... It’s awesome when you are all in.”  He smiled back and they kept going.

This team doubled the size of their division in four years, not five.

This is what is known as a high-performing team.

Everyone likes to think that their team is a high performing one.  However, high-performing teams have four characteristics.  They are a group of people...

  • …with specific roles and complementary talents and skills.
  • …who are aligned with and committed to a common purpose.
  • …who consistently show high levels of collaboration and innovation.
  • …who produce superior results.

These teams are found in the companies everyone wants to work for.  These teams are alive and energetic.  The get a lot done and they don’t waste time.  They want it.  They fight for it.  They don’t stop until they blow out their goals.

What if I told you that you can turn your team into a high-performing one?  

Step 1: Assess the team you have.

Do you have the right people in the right positions?  How do you know if you do?  You need people who are qualified to their roles.  They have the skills to fulfill their role but they also are fully committed.  Commitment often shows up by the amount of drive they have.  Are they hungry?  Do they want to succeed?  Do they want the team to reach its goals?  Where is their heart?  I would take someone with heart who had adequate skill over someone who had no heart and had expert skill any day.  The one with adequate skills will grow and become better.

As you assess your team, are there members who are floundering and probably could be in a role that suits them better?

On one team I worked for, after we completed a team Myers-Briggs map, a member finally understood why she was feeling like a square peg trying to get into a round hole.  She talked with her boss and they found a role she was better suited for.

Step 2: Discover the holes or blind spots on the team.  

Now of course we don’t see our own blind spots.  That’s where an objective outsider and/or tool can really help.  For the team from the above point, when we charted the Myers-Briggs team map we saw that the team needed to bring in a team member with a certain two-letter type.  Fortunately for them they were considering someone for promotion onto that team that fit that type.

Diversity on business teams is a must.  The greater the diversity on the team the higher the chances that blind spots are covered.  When they learn to leverage each other’s strengths, poetry happens.

There are other things to look at as well when selecting the right team members but we will have to save that for a future post. Once you have the right team members, you move onto the third step.

Step 3: Increase the emotional intelligence of the team.

Did you know that 58% of all job performance is directly based on emotional intelligence (EQ)?  What this means is that someone’s IQ and skills got them the job, but the promotions come from increasing EQ.

Unlike IQ, EQ can be increased.

A tool I love to use for increasing the emotional intelligence of individuals and teams is the EQi-2.0 Assessment.

This tool will give you 30 strategies specifically tailored to you that will increase your EQ.  It is one of the best-bang-for-the-buck strategies I can give my clients. (If you're interested in taking this assessment or learning more about EQ, email

As the team works together to support and encourage each other to increase their collective EQ, watch how the bottom-line rises as well.

Step 4: Get your team to understand one another. 

Teams need to know:

  • How to successfully work with one another
  • What energizes one another
  • What frustrates one another
  • What stresses one another out
  • How to tell if another member on the team is in the grip

There is a one-pager that I give to the teams that each member tailors until it completely fits them and then they all receive copy of each others.

Clients who are serious about advancing excellence across their teams tell me how they quickly glance at it before one-on-one’s or even in small group meetings.  Some keep these one-pagers up on their laptops for quick access to review during a meeting so they can connect better to those whom they are working with.

I also encourage clients to know what one another’s core drivers are.  You can discover what your team’s core driver in this previous blog post.

As teams get to know each other well, they trust each other more.

They know one another’s strengths and challenge areas.  They focus on the strengths and contain the challenge areas.

As trust increases they become grateful for how each member is different and is able to compliment them.

Step 5: Collaborate like champions.

High-performing teams collaborate really well.  Since they believe in one another they also push each other when they don’t sense they are getting the best from one another.  They are relentless in the pursuit of truth and they will attack what seems off.  They do not attack each other personally.  They attack the ideas and look to sharpen and refine them and grow them.

When there is conflict, they seek to understand the other first and they ask for permission to share their side.  They let one another know that they are for them and not against them.  They are quick to own whatever was wrong about what they did and they are also quick to forgive.

In my upcoming posts I will break down 10 characteristics that make up high-performing teams.  This will give you more meat to apply to the principles above.

Chew On This: If your team was a team “that everyone wanted to work for,” what difference would that make to your goals?

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

MBTI Bite: 3 Tips for Working with Introverts

Introvert I used to think that in order to be a top business leader, you had to be an extrovert.  However, after working with some introverts, I now know that is not true.

I am currently working with a Senior Vice President of a global Fortune 1000 company who happens to be a solid introvert.  What I love about him is how he takes in information, processes it, and then makes succinct statements that are really powerful.  None of the fumbling-around-verbally-processing-sometimes-sticking-my-foot-in-my-mouth that I, as an extrovert, can do.

If we are at a function, he does engage others, but after awhile he starts to get people-d out.  He tries to smile and be gracious, but it is obvious he needs his alone time.

As an introvert, he really shines when he has a solo project to work on.  I have worked with him through his last five promotions.  The higher up he moves, the more he is working through others to get the work done.  However, we noticed that he becomes a little bored and at times drained through the constant meetings required to keep his direct reports updated and their work refined.

One of the things revealed in a coaching meeting was that he needed one critical solo project to work on, while fulfilling his other duties.  Since we have implemented that, there has been no more boredom, and he handles the direct reports with his one-on-one’s feeling less drained.

How To Work With Introverts

As is implied in the above paragraphs, there are a few things to keep in mind when working with introverts.

  1. Give them time to process – As introverts listen, they formulate their answers in their heads and then they speak.  They may pause before responding.  One way to maximize their ability to process in this way is to favor email over discussion.  This is not to say that they would not profit from face-to-face meetings, but sometimes they would rather take in the details and chew on potential responses ahead of the meeting, especially if they are J’s (Judgers on Myers-Briggs).
  2. Protect their alone time – Are you noticing that an introvert’s calendar is getting filled with meeting after meeting?  Try giving them a chance to take a significant break to process what they’ve been taking in and also recharge their batteries.  Please don’t disturb them during this time as they want to be fresh for the next round of face-to-face meetings
  3. Give them a solo project to work on – Yes, introverts can work in a team and collaborate well, but they tend not to like the office gossip or the small talk.  They want to get into the work, perform their role well, and move on to the next meeting.

When working with an introvert, be sure to give them one solo project that matches their gift-sets.  If they are being “forced” into constant group work, you could start to see discouragement set in.  Even in group work, make sure they get some time to work alone on their own on a piece of the project, and then allow them to come back into the larger team.

Introverts are rising fast in the marketplace.  Those who are rising leverage their strengths, learn to work with their constraints, and communicate their needs to their team members so that all are aware of how to work with them successfully.

If you are leading a team with introverts encouraging them to do the same will increase their engagement.

Chew On This: Do you know which of your team members are introverts?  How can you help them to shine?

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.