Understanding personalities within teams

Saumya DesaiWe are incredibly happy to be able to welcome our first student blogger to the site – Saumya Desai is studying ICT at FedUni, and is on the Golden Key Executive Committee as well as representing our Clubs and Societies on the Student Senate!


Understanding personalities within teams

Southern & Australian Uni games are approaching and some of us will represent FedUni as a player, coach, team manager or captain of various sports teams. Through sports we learn and develop leadership skills which can be helpful in various areas of our life.UNIGAMES_AUSTRALIAN_CMYK x 618

One of your roles as a leader is to bring out the best in your team members which can be applied not only in all team sports but also in any organisation, project team, group assignment or any time we have to deal with teams. Some understanding of the players and their personalities is necessary to achieve this aim. While first impressions can be important, more accurate judgements will come if you wait until you get to know them better.

There are many systems which psychologists use to analyse and classify the personalities of people. More than likely you will not have access to psychological testing. For this reason some basic personality types seen amongst team members follow. To help in this illustration a range of names or labels have been used; however these are only for illustrative purposes and are not scientifically based. Most team members will have characteristics of more than one type.

1. The Extrovert

Extrovert– The Extrovert is outgoing, sociable, friendly and enjoys being a team member.
– Usually keen to be liked by his peers and will follow the general direction of the team.
– This person will sometimes do silly things to impress others.
– Can be best managed through individual discussions and using senior team-members to influence him/her



2. The Prima Donna

PrimaDonna– The Prima Donna needs attention, and if conditions are not as he/she wishes, finds it hard to control emotions.
– This type of person rarely copes well with injury or when decisions go against him/her.
– This person is one of the hardest people to handle in a team and you will need to decide how far you are prepared to go to accommodate the Prima Donna before drawing the line.



3. The Plodder
Plodder– In most teams there will be players who are blessed with little natural ability but who practise hard to use what they have.
– The plodder tends to be conscientious and reliable.
– This person is very easy to coach and appreciates a captain who is logical and well-organised.


4. The Dominator
Dominator– The dominator is very assertive and aggressive.
– Enjoys competition and plays the game hard.
– Will often be a natural leader and therefore you may benefit by getting to know him/her and by discussing strategies and tactics.
– If you have the support of the dominator then this team member will be an excellent ally; however as an adversary he can be destructive.


5. The Thinker

Thinker– The thinker will usually be well-educated and interested in the tactics of the game.
– This person may be outgoing or reserved, with average self-confidence.
– The thinker can be a useful source of information and he will appreciate the chance to discuss game plans and strategies.



6. The Worrier
Worrier– The worrier tends to be a nervous type of person who sees the worst side of most situations.
– This person may team up with a serious thinker or plodder and is also likely to become the scapegoat for the more extroverted members of the team.
– The worrier needs to be helped to focus on the positive aspects of performance, something which can be time consuming.


7. The Introvert
Introvert– The introvert is the type of person who likes to get on with his own game.
– This team player doesn’t see the need for mixing socially with other players and can often be found sitting alone.
– It doesn’t bother him/her that others think that this person is aloof or a snob.
– You can waste a lot of time and energy trying to socialise this player.
– The easiest way to handle him is to explain the basic social requirements necessary for team harmony and then allow them the right to have time by themselves.

Winter, G. (1992). The Psychology of cricket. Sydney. Australia : Pan Macmillan

All of these descriptions can apply to any non sport-related situation as well – Which of these best represents you? Remember you will be a mix of a few!
What is the personality make-up of your team? How can you use this knowledge to get the best out of them?

– Saumya


Micro-volunteering – Become a Volunteer Hero, 16.4 minutes at a time…

(image via zazzle.co.uk)

At FedUni, as part of our Leadership and Volunteering Awards Program, each year we recognise students who are ‘Volunteer Heroes’ – those who contribute over 100 hours of volunteer work to their communities, and attend at least 3 Leadership Development workshops on campus. For many people, 100 hours seems an unachievable amount of time, especially when it has to be balanced with course requirements, paid work, family and ‘me’ time. Spread over the course of a whole year, however it works out at approximately 16.4 minutes per day, or just over quarter of an hour.

(image via action.sierraclub.org)
(image via action.sierraclub.org)

As one of my New Year’s resolutions, I’m taking on the challenge of giving 100 hours back this year, and although some of that will be taken up with projects/fundraising etc, (I’m completing the Oxfam Melbourne Trailwalker this year for example), I’m definitely going to need some activities I can fit into my lunch break. Volunteering doesn’t have to be a major commitment; here are some micro-volunteering ideas to get you started…

Online Micro-Volunteering: This is one of the major emerging volunteer trends of the past few years – several websites have popped up allowing you to ‘donate’ a small amount of time for the benefit of others. asku_logoIt could be task-based – translating a press release, proof-reading, raising awareness through your social media channels for example, or virtual – answering questions, clicking links etc, which convert to charitable donations. Here are some of the websites which allow you to volunteer at your desk, or even on your phone:


Small Acts of Kindness: ‘Do a good deed every day’ is a bit of a cliché, but it works – pick up some litter around your neighbourhood or workplace, donate some old clothing to an op-shop or donate some blood! www.volunteerguide.org/minutes has some great ideas on how to make a difference in a short amount of time.

Help a mateHelp a Mate: You might not think of it as volunteering, but helping out someone in need is important, whether you know them or not! Use your specialist skills – if you know about computers, car maintenance, or cookery, why not use it to help out a friend? Alternatively, you could offer to take their children out for the afternoon so they can enjoy some free time or even just pop round for a chat and a cake with an elderly neighbour.

These are just some of the ways in which you could make a big difference in a small amount of time. If you have any other ideas or websites to add to this list, or want to share some of the things you do to help others, please don’t be shy – comment below!

– Luke