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Dominant Personalities and Team Dynamics
by Michael Quist on 11/22/13 01:52:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

When creating a development team it is highly important to consider not only a person's technical skills but their interpsonal skills as well. Working closely together for years makes it essential to have a stable team dynamic. What should you be looking for when you are creating your team though?  Team dynamics are comprised of four different types of personalities; Dominance, Conscientiousness, Influence, and Steadiness.

In this post I summarize the Dominant personality trait; what benefits it brings to the table, the disadvantages it can cause, and what the end goals are for addressing tough personality barriers.

Advantages of Dominant personalities:

  • Open about how they feel
  • Stick up for what they believe in
  • Self-confident, speaks up about problems and addresses issues head on
  • Results oriented
  • Takes advantage of opportunities
  • Firm

Disadvantages of dominant personalities:

  • Overpowers passive or quiet team members
  • Overstep boundaries
  • Can be seen as forceful and/or aggressive
  • Challenging to change and improve communication
  • Perceived as impatient or insensitive
  • Extensive negative behavior can damage team dynamics, trust, and the overall work environment

Approaching a person with an overly Dominant personality can be intimidating but is straight forward. You are focusing on their strengths and making their weaknesses obsolete. I approach each person by telling them my expectation or desired goal for the conversation. This strategy is extremely effective with Dominant personalities because it address them in their own language, directly and objectively. During the conversation I set aside my own personal emotions and focus on my goals of the conversation.

When addressing any personnel issues you should have some basic and specific goals in mind. You are there to resolve the issues, and work with a person continuously over time. It is extremely important to understand that improving takes time and requires both parties to be committed to improve.

The benefits of addressing issues quickly and effectively allows you to reduce office politics while discussing critical or uncomfortable topics. Additionally, having this critical conversation reestablishes accountability and expectations which benefits the entire team.  In most cases Dominant personalities don't realize that they are being dominant. If all else fails speak from the heart, listen empathetically, and don't miss an opportune time to give someone feedback.


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