Personality Matters in Small Group

Who you are affects how you lead a group. The better you understand yourself- your personality, preferences, strengths, and weaknesses, the better you’ll be able to help your group thrive.

I remember being on a leadership team in college with 3 others students. Two of them talked things out loud- like me. So, we would spend a lot of time in meetings throwing out ideas and brainstorming together. And then there was Bob. He didn’t talk very much and I found I had a hard time trusting him. I felt like he wasn’t contributing and I even accused him of “holding back” in meetings. At some point I wondered if I was running into a personality difference instead of a “group investment” issue. I asked Bob would help him connect in meetings and he gave me some ideas. He needed the rest of us to stop talking so much, and to make space for him to think, and give him a chance to talk. Pretty soon Bob began to share some amazing ideas and make helpful contributions. From this, our trust as a leadership team grew exponentially. Understanding and respecting our personality differences truly saved our leadership team!

I think there are many groups out there frustrated, or stuck, or just not clicking because they’re not aware of how personality plays into their group dynamic.

Where would you say you are on a scale for each of these:
Like details………………..…………….Boo details
Mornings- Yay………………………….Night- Yay
Like Brainstorming…………………Just the facts

Each of these represent parts of your personality. One side isn’t better than the others. Some people make decisions through facts and figures and others through personal relationships. Both have value and are needed. As you figure out your personality- lean into it. Instead of spending all your time wishing you had someone else’s personality- spend all your time developing your own. Develop your strengths to become the best you that you can be.

Staff your weaknesses. One of the best things I’ve read in a leadership book is the importance of staffing your weaknesses. Understand what you’re good at- and do it. But, then to figure out what you’re not so good at- and get others to do that. I’m not great at weekly group details like dinner sign ups, etc. I try to find someone in each group who would be good at that and let them do it. It saves me stress and it helps someone else feel good that they can contribute.

How to value personality differences in group:

  • From day one in group talk about how everyone in group is different and that we want to value those differences. Bring it up from time to time.
  • Acknowledge to the group when you do something that’s personality related. If you’re going to explain the details of a game you might say, “Guys, I like going over all the game rules before we start- please stick with me here if you’re not someone who likes that.”
  • Ask people to contribute to group in ways that you are weaker.

How to figure out your personality:
There’s all kinds of tests out there. Check out the links below to give you an idea of a few. If you have a test you love, feel free to share it in the comments below.

1. 4 Animals Test (This is super fast and easy. It may not be perfect, but it’s a great place to start.)
Click this link for the 4 animals test.

 2. Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator (This is probably the most popular and widely used personality test.)

3. Strength-Based Leadership (Once you buy the book, you receive a code to take a test and discover your leadership style.) 
You can buy the book here. 
Strengths homepage here. 

4. Enneagram (This is a really interesting one that not many have heard of. Download the free app and pay about $1.00 to get more in-depth results.) 
Click here to find the app.
Click here to go to the website. 

5. Looking for even more? (Can’t vouch for these at all, just sharing the links.)

It takes all kinds for a successful journey:

Look what happens when these guys figure out how to value each other’s differences:justice league

Everyone has a part to play: scooby doo


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