Have you ever worked with a flaky youth pastor, or an uncaring care pastor? Has your church, business, or organization left precise tasks to someone who settles for “good enough?” They aren’t necessarily bad people as they are in the wrong roles or are attempting to live up to an unrealistic set of expectations.
Your flaky youth pastor may just be the next visionary leader in the church. Visionaries are rarely organized or schedule. Do you fire him and get a boring youth pastor, or do you staff around his weaknesses?
Your uncaring care pastor is quick to size things up, yet impatient with the process of counseling others. Since those in need probably won’t quickly shape up, the uncaring care pastor needs to be reassigned to a project where he can charge the hill rather than stroll through the meadow. What if you knew what you were going to get before you made a hire? What if you looked at the best staff you had and determined what personality traits they had, so you could determine who to add to your team? What if your small group had better insights into each other and became more understanding of each other?
How high is your XQ?
Time Magazine asked this question in their June 22, 2015 issue. The answer actually goes back for years. Yet, people analytics is not as commonly used as it should be, especially in the church world. The new trend toward studying Behavioral DNA is significant for hiring the right people, leading them, and helping them to understand each other.
Human-resources professionals in major companies are now looking for the X quotient in hiring, promoting and even terminating employees, according to Time. The article coined the term “XQ” or “X quotient” simply because there is no other way to quantify it. Maybe that’s the point.
In order to fight employee turnover, increase productivity, and raise customer satisfaction, companies and organizations are turning to expensive, time consuming solutions like Cattell’s 16 personality factors, the Hogan Personality Inventory’s seven scales, StrengthsFinder, or the Caliper Profile’s 22 traits. Online resources such as Infor claim to analyze over a million job candidates a month. Why does this matter? Can’t you just go with your gut? People analytics will help you in an important range of team dynamics.
1. Adding new staff or team members.
Whether finding qualified candidates is feast or famine, more than a strong resume is required to find the right fit. People with the right schools, degrees, and experience may or may not fit the bill. The metrics from People Skills, who I’m certified with, point to the core of who the person is, how they go about things, and how they will fit with the current members of your team. While anyone with determination can work hard to fulfill any role, eventually that person will burnout and will probably take the team down with them. If you put a highly relational person in a cubical with a computer for data entry, they will last for a while, but they will either wander away from the cube to find people or they will find another job, even lower paying, where they can interact with others. Behavioral DNA has much to do with job satisfaction and performance. Having this info at the beginning of the interview process will help you to select the right candidates and can confirm some things you are probably already sensing.
2. Improving staff and team interactions.
John Maxwell says, “People don’t see things are they are. We see things as we are.” If I am a very driven, performance oriented person, then I see people who are highly relational as being slackers. I think: “Why can’t they just cut to the chase? Why can’t they make a decision? Why do we have to have another meeting about the same thing, again?” But, they aren’t like me, nor I them.
The person I’m looking at is probably looking back at me saying, “Why doesn’t he take time to really get to know people? Why does he only care about the work and not the team? Why doesn’t he take time to make sure everyone is on the same page before charging forward?” It’s two sides of a coin. Well, actually, it’s 16 sides.
By taking your team through people analytics, they will gain a better understanding of themselves as well as why other people on the team bug them. In fact, Behavioral DNA gives teams a language to filter and interpret other people’s behavior. They begin to view personality differences in a more amiable way. While there are certainly people with personality disorders, personality differences are a far cry from disorders.
3. Setting people up for success.
A quote often attributed to Albert Einstein goes, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Putting right people in the wrong roles is a recipe for disaster. But, the right people in the right roles is magical.
If someone has the personality of Attila the Hun and is given a role to precisely detail the steps of a process they invented, it won’t work. You need a detail person to document the process, and you need to allow Attila to charge the next hill. If you take someone who doesn’t want to rock the boat and put them in charge of innovating something, it will never move forward. The innovation will rock the boat, which is exactly what they are trying to avoid. There are many more examples. Think about the folks who are thriving in their role, then think about the folks who are withering in theirs. What’s the difference? It could be misapplied people analytics.
Whether you lead a staff, a team, or a small group, the X quotient is significant to the effectiveness and harmony of the group you lead. An understanding of their X quotient will help determine the appropriate role for each person and the way they go about it. As the Time article says, “A meticulous thinker is no better or worse than a big-picture mind, but it’s pretty clear which one you would like to have doing your taxes.”
4. Use People Skills.
A friend of mine, Vicki Barnes, developed the People Skills inventory about 25 years ago. By validating the findings with other well-known people analysis tools, she developed an easy, affordable solution for human resources professionals, non-profit organizations, churches, and even small groups. The one hour staff, team, group, or volunteer training offers a great alternative to lengthy online profiles and assessments which essentially provide the same information.
By Allen White Do you have a group member who tends to get along with everyone else? They don’t rock the boat, and certainly don’t tip the boat over. They are loyal and steady. You can always count on them. Yet, you don’t always know what’s going on inside of them, because they wouldn’t want to trouble you with that. The group member we call the Peacekeeper. In this series of posts, we are looking at the different personality types of group members and how they affect the dynamics of groups. Based on Vicki Barnes book, The Real You, we have identified four core types: the Producer, the Planner, the Promoter, and today will will consider the Peacekeeper. We see Peacekeeper behavior in several people in Scripture. The Apostle John would certainly fit in this category. He was the disciple whom Jesus loved. John had a warm that resonated with others. He also took the longest to write his Gospel. While Matthew, Mark (writing for Peter), and Luke put our there Gospels in the first half of the first century (give or take), John’s Gospel didn’t appear until nearly the end of the first century. (Scholars can debate away, but this is what they taught me in Bible college). Another example of Peacekeeper behavior is Abraham, formerly known as Abram. When Abraham had to go down to Egypt as recorded in Genesis 12, he was worried the Egyptians couldn’t resist Sarah for her beauty and would kill him to get her. Abraham instructed Sarah, “Hey, let’s not make any waves in Egypt. Instead of telling them you are my wife, just say that you are my sister instead.” Sarah went along. Now, this caused quite a bit of trouble later in the story when the Egyptians found out the truth. But, Abraham saved his neck. When Abraham and Lot were living together with all of their families and herds, it became clear they needed more space. Rather than telling Lot where to move his family and herds, Abraham gave Lot a choice. Of course, Lot chose the best land. Abraham, being more passive, really didn’t care which land he had as long as Lot was happy. Now, none of us are limited to our core personalities. Abraham’s faith grew. God declared Abraham to be the father of many nations. When God called Abraham to take Isaac to the mountain and sacrifice him, there was no hemming and hawing. The next morning, they got up and went. The Peacekeeper shows mercy and compassion. They are more likely to see all sides of an argument. Now, by seeing all sides, they sometimes have trouble taking sides or making a decision. I have a dear friend who asked me what color she should change her carpet to. I later found out she had been asking this question for more than a decade. The last time I visited her and her husband, they had moved to a different house. I said, “Well, you didn’t need to change the carpet after all.” Being a Peacekeeper, her response was, “Oh, Allen.” If she’d been a Producer, the carpet would have been changed immediately, and she would have knocked my block off for saying something like that. If she had been a Planner, she would have studied carpet types carefully, and the science behind mood and its relation to color. If she had been a Promoter, she would have chosen whatever bright color she felt like. Peacekeepers are natural mediators. They are slow to form a prejudicial decision. When Producers like me want to fire up their bulldozer and “git ‘r done,” the Peacekeepers are a good people to check in with before the Producers start running over everybody. Quite a few years back, another dear friend of mine and I were choosing a restaurant to take a group of seniors to up in the Mother Lode near Sonora, California. There was an Italian restaurant there I had been wanting to try, but my dear Peacekeeper friend suggested something else. It was more of a coffee shop with an extensive menu. We went her way. At one point in the meal with about 40 of us gathered around a huge table, I heard her say quietly, “Isn’t this nice. Everyone found something they really liked.” She was a Peacekeeper extraordinaire. While Peacekeepers are great listeners and mediators, they can be easily overwhelmed, yet they won’t let you on to that. They may appear calm on the outside, but you may be rocking their boat like crazy on the inside. When it’s all said and done, we should all strive to be more like the Peacekeeper. In fact, as we mature and grow as a person, all four of these personality types should even out in our lives. But, only if we grow.
By Allen White Do you have a detail person in your group? You know. The one who catches typos and corrects any inaccurate dates? This is the Planner. Out of the four core personality types: Producer, Planner, Promoter and Peacekeeper as articulated by Vicki Barnes in her book, The REAL You, the Planner personality is concerned with systems and order. If the Planner had a motto, it would be “A Place for Everything, and Everything in Its Place.” Planners choose careers from homemakers to attorneys to accountants to engineers. They tend toward perfectionism and are concerned about every detail. If you want to make a Planner’s day, then give specific appreciation to the details of what they did. Rather than making a general compliment like, “You led a good Bible study,” you want to get specific, “I really liked how you brought out the cultural background of that passage. It really put that Scripture in a whole new light for me. They will be thrilled. Planners will follow the rules and probably add a few of their own. They may be determined to go through every question in a study guide, which is not really necessary. Just so they can sleep at night, the group leader should inform everyone that there are too many questions to possibly cover in one lesson, so we have selected a few key questions to discuss. The group is welcome to explore the rest on their own. Luke the Evangelist, who authored the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, represents the Planner personality. Luke was a Gentile believer and does appear in Scripture until the middle of Acts when the pronouns change from “they” to “we” (Acts 16:10). Yet, Luke wrote a Gospel. In fact, he was the only Gentile and the only non-eyewitness to do so. This is where his Planner characteristics come out, “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:1-4). It’s not that Matthew or Mark had done a terrible job. It’s not that the Holy Spirit was absent from the inspiration and revelation necessary to pen Scripture. Luke, as a Planner, needed to thoroughly investigate things himself and share the conclusions with his disciple, Theophilus. While Peter couldn’t sit still long enough as a Promoter to write himself, Mark wrote on his behalf. Paul, the Producer, didn’t need to rewrite the Gospel. He was too busy breaking new ground. Luke took the time for careful research. He was a Planner. Planners are going to, well, plan. They will plan an event. They will write an instruction manual for the event. They will write a dissertation on the manual for the event. They need to be given reasonable expectations and a deadline, then get out of their way. Planners tend to be the least spontaneous of all of the personality types. They prefer to make a plan and stick to a plan. It will frustrate them to hear a constant flow new ideas, when the plan has already been set. Scraping the plan is even worse. If they’ve worked hard and something has shifted, you need to take time with them and give them plenty of detail for the change. Otherwise they will feel very unappreciated. They can be accused of being nitpicky and critical. This mindset can often lead to negativity and depression. Typically, Planners have low self esteem, so build them up. Planners wrestle with the mixed motives of belonging and contributing. They are pulled between thinking and feeling. They grapple with relationships and tasks. What they pour into a task demonstrates their regard for relationship, but they may become so absorbed in a task that the relationships are set aside. Planners are wonderful gifts to groups and teams. The Promoter will get a great idea. They always have ideas. The Producer will be ready to execute, but will be short on the details. The Planner can turn the Promoter‘s vision into reality and help the Producer improve on what they are doing. The Peacekeeper is the most concerned that everyone is ok. For more information on People Skills workshop on Personality Types, CLICK HERE. To read more in this series: Producer: What if the Apostle Paul Was in My Group? Promoter: What if the Apostle Peter Was in My Group? Peacekeeper: What if Father Abraham Was in My Group?
By Allen White Group member’s personalities certainly have an impact on the dynamics of the group. For about 20 years, I have taught Vicki Barnes’ The Real Youpeople skills training. Based on a study of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Vicki’s own research, this training gives great insights into group dynamics as well as team relationships. (If you’d like me to lead one for your team, email me: email@example.com). Over the next few posts, I want to explore the four personality types plus one bonus post. We’ll be looking at the Producer in this post as represented by the Apostle Paul. From here we’ll examine the Planner, the Promoter, and the Peacekeeper plus the bonus. A producer is known for being bold and drawn to action. The Apostle Paul is a great example. He was definitely a dynamic leader both for and against the church. A producer’s biggest concern is power and results. I’d say Paul certainly had results. Paul says of himself, “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.” (Romans 15:20). He didn’t set out to thoroughly research and write his own version like Luke, which is very much Planner behavior. Paul wasn’t impetuous like Peter, our Promoter. He also wasn’t trying to avoid rocking the boat like we see with Abraham. Paul wanted to break new ground, fish or cut bait, poop or get off the…you get it. In a group, the producers concern will be over pace and results. They won’t have a lot of tolerance for long winded stories or discussions that go round and round with no clear conclusion. Now, please understand that even though this describes producer behavior, it is not license for bad behavior. Producers can learn patience just like everyone else. A producer’s motto is “get to the bottom line.” In a group, the bottom line can be reaching the end of the study, taking on a group project, making a hostile takeover of another group so your group can grow. Ok, maybe not that last one. Producers typically have the highest self-confidence and the lowest self-esteem. Their persona will be to charge any mountain, but their minds they are only as good as their last accomplishment. When a producer has a setback, they will try to “slogan” themselves into a positive attitude: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” (Thomas Edison) or “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” (Og Mandino). Now there is some truth there, but as a group leader, realize that a producer with a devastating setback is feeling it more deeply than they let on. Now, this isn’t permission to start delving into their wound. They probably won’t open up and share. But, their pain can certainly be exhibited in other behaviors like escapism, over-working and certainly irritability. Producers will help the group get things done. Sometime producers will get things done at the expense of speed bumping the relationships in the group. They will plow through a lesson to get to the finish, but may not pause long enough to discuss a heartbreak in one of the group member’s lives. If you want something done, put the producer in charge, but maybe not in charge of the prayer time. Like all of us, producers can learn and grow to become more like Christ. Jesus is working in them, even if it feels like you might be dealing with Attila the Hun. Remember, Saul who became Paul on the road to Damascus. Becoming a Christian doesn’t give us a personality transplant. After all Dr. Billy Graham has shown tremendous producer behavior. Remember when he was challenged about his trip to Russia years ago? Someone told him Russia wouldn’t accept the message of Christ. Dr. Graham replied, “They will when I leave.” The ambitious producer nature of Paul’s personality accomplished much for the spread of the Gospel. What can the producers in your group help you accomplish? For more information on my workshop, CLICK HERE. To pick up a copy of Vicki Barnes, The REAL You: Making Sense of Relationships: CLICK HERE. For More Posts in This Series: Planner: What if Dr. Luke Was in My Group? Promoter: What if the Apostle Peter Was in My Group? Peacekeeper: What if Father Abraham Was in My Group?