Damp Squib or Rocket? What Personalities are In Your Team?

What type of team do you work in? No doubt there are lots of different personalities within it, some you like, some not so much. Teams are made up of so many different types and I thought as it is November 5th, that it would be fun to create some personalities based on the most well known fireworks that we find in the selection packs each year. Of course this is not a real psychological test, it is just a bit of fun, however you might recognise some of these bright sparks in your team!

So in our box of glorious fireworks, just waiting for their own blue touch paper to be lit, we have the following.

The Sparkler – The team member has a terrific effervescent personality, they really light up the room. People gravitate to the sparkler, wanting to get close, finding their enthusiasm infectious, and motivational. Watch out though, their energy is short lived and they can burn out quickly, so make the most of their energy when you see it.

Roman Candle – Reliable, stable, strong and resilient, the Roman Candle has presence and gravitas, lending itself to situations where decisions need to made based on consideration and fairness. Under pressure this firework always delivers where others fail and can fill a room with positive energy, lifting people out of a slump and moving things forward.

Traffic Light – Bright and full of colour, the Traffic Light is always positive regardless of the situation. Open to change and sensitive to others, the Traffic Light knows when to show restraint, when to consider, and when to do drive forward. The traffic light gives direction to a team, and the manager who fits this profile really knows about leadership.

Catherine Wheel – Processes and rules motivates this tightly wound firework, going around and around different methods until either the right one is found or until it burns out. A natural networker the Catherine Wheel enjoys people, and likes to circulate with the right people. Under pressure this firework will often be up tight and can spin out of control and make people feel unsettled.

The Rocket – This firework is the most ambitious, working to targets and goals with a definite outcome in mind. Needing stability, they are progressive and take up a lot of space, being able to take on lots of new things and deliver on them. Always hungry for more, the rocket likes to show off and be the centre of attention, but be warned their focus is personal results not people.

The Volcano – The most volatile of the fireworks, the volcano likes to work alone and doesn’t like to be micro managed or interfered with. Often taking on too much, this firework can spread itself too thin and this is due to being motivated by security. It wants to be useful and everywhere! The Volcano hates change or shifts in the working patterns, this can lead to out bursts of emotion that can spill over into the team and create tension.

The Fountain – This firework is very playful and social and spends time on their appearance; they spread their influence in a positive way about the team. They consistent and deliver the same results over and over again, creating balance and harmony to the other members of the team. This firework prefers to stay in one place and could be accused of having little or no ambition, but used correctly, they can be the backbone and focus of the team dynamic.

The Air Bomb – Sees the big picture and is observant of everything that goes on in the team. The Air Bomb can drop on people at random and be perceived as quite interfering, especially in things they think they know about but actually don’t. The result can be disruptive and create problems for managers. However due to their high awareness of what is happening they tend to be quite in touch with what is happening.

The Blizzard – Results focused this firework is highly capable, technically skilled and talented. This firework likes people to know how clever they are. Talking in jargon and blinding people with science, this firework likes the lingo! The Blizzard blows in and can sweep people off their feet too with their charisma and charm, however people tend to stop listening to this firework as often they are so self absorbed that what comes out is just white noise!

The Damp Squib – This firework will always have something to moan or be negative about, they can suck the air out the room and really bring people down. When they have a personal problem, everyone has to know, resulting in team morale and productivity suffering. This firework needs careful management and support that involves warmth and space, to enable to work through their issues and come back, hopefully as something better.

The Taper – Not really a firework, but an essential part of the team; the taper connects everyone together, is the spark that everyone needs to get going. When motivated the right way, the Taper can really be the Manager’s best friend, looking out for the team and overall output of the effort. Beware upsetting the Taper though, as when things go wrong, or if they are put out, the Taper can become a jobs-worth or worse, militant, gathering people around and bringing them down. Tread carefully, you need the Taper more than you might realise.

The Guy – Not really a firework at all, but a symbol of something. In your team the Guy represents the culture by being everything the team represents, values and believes, as they might have worked in the business for long time and be what people describe as ‘the furniture’ or misunderstood ‘dead wood’. The Guy has experienced a lot and so can take the heat of high pressure. Due to their experience the Guy can be the ‘parent’ figure to the team, and in some cases the team prankster or even mascot.

Whatever type of personality you have in your team, try to recognise their own strengths and be sensitive to their limitations. Be open, honest and adaptable with each, critiquing only where constructive, and praising and thanking whenever you can. Belbin describes a team as “the way we interrelate at work” and says that teams can have a focus around tasks, people or the cerebral. Of course this set of fireworks is not a proper profiling tool, it is just meant for fun, but if you would like to explore the types of behaviour, strengths and weaknesses in your team, then get in touch with me Simon, at SerialTrainer7 Ltd and we can discuss specific profiling tools that might bring insight and development to your team. Thanks for reading and be sure to follow the Firework Code this November 5th. Have fun.

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