By understanding each team member’s personality, a supervisor can guide employees toward roles that play on their strengths, help them overcome their weaknesses, resolve conflicts involving them in a way that satisfies all parties involved and customize coaching plans to each employee’s specific needs. One way for supervisors to get to know their employees at this fundamental level is to conduct personality test group activities. There are many different kinds of personality test group activities employers can conduct based on their resources and ultimate goals, all of which center around helping the employer and the employees understand the personalities at play in their workplace.
Myers-Briggs is just one of the many personality classification systems devised to understand individuals’ motivations, fears, perspectives and reasons for behaving the way they do. Using archetypes first identified by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, the Myers-Briggs system recognizes six distinct personality types, each composed of a combination of four of the following traits:
- Extroverted or introverted.
- Sensing or intuitive.
- Thinking or feeling.
- Judging or perceiving.
To determine an individual’s personality type, she completes a questionnaire known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) that determines which of the two traits in each of these binaries she presents more strongly. For example, an individual who tends to be introverted, processes information at face value rather than dissecting it for deeper meaning but when making decisions, considers all special circumstances and relevant details and tends to make such decisions quickly and stick to them would be classified as an ISFJ, because her strongest traits were introversion (I), sensing (S), feeling (F) and judging (J).
One of the most valuable Myers Briggs exercises a supervisor can conduct is roleplaying. In this activity, employees are tasked with acting out scenarios, such as speaking with an irate client after an error occurs, firing an employee, onboarding a new hire or conducting an interview, as their colleagues watch. Rather than sticking to specific scripts, employees work through these imaginary scenarios as themselves, navigating them as they would if they were facing them for real. As they watch the scenarios unfold, other team members identify the personality traits driving each participant’s actions and discuss how these personality traits can be strengths and weaknesses in various real-life workplace scenarios.
Another one of the popular MBTI exercises workplaces use to understand their teams’ personalities is an activity known as Kangaroo Court. In Kangaroo Court, individual employees are appointed to the following roles:
- Defense lawyer.
- Prosecuting lawyer.
- Jury members.
Then, the defendant is “tried” for a real or hypothetical incident that occurred in the workplace. As the employees work through the mock trial, they are to note their statements, actions and reactions, as well as those of their colleagues, to develop a better understanding of all the personalities in the workplace and how they interact. Among Myers-Briggs exercises, Kangaroo Court is particularly valuable because it develops employees’ critical thinking, leadership and analytical skills as well as helping them understand themselves and each other.
Another one of the personality test group activities employers use to conduct MBTI exercises is an activity known as “I Agree.” With I Agree, the activity leader creates a poster that lists multiple opinions. For example, a poster might state “workplace romances are:” followed by statements like “unacceptable,” “satisfying” “inappropriate” and “perfectly normal.” Employees then vote on the statements they agree with, which reveals information about their personalities.
While working through Myers-Briggs exercises, it is important for the activity leader to take close note of how each participant engages and correlate his actions with MBTI traits. Employees might not be able to note every interaction while in the midst of the activities, which can mean missing the very information the exercises were designed to collect.