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  • Writer's pictureKathy Miles

Profiling Tools to Enhance Team Relationships and Performance

Profiling Tools

I have been asked many times over the years for my advice around the best profiling tools.

There are multiple profiling tools that are great for learning more about yourself and the people you work closely with. These tools have been designed to increase awareness and understanding that teams are made up of a diverse group of people, therefore different approaches to communication and management are needed.

Below I have given an overview of some of the most widely used profiling tools available:


DiSC is a four quadrant model based on the work of psychologist William Moulton Marston in 1928. The model and theory was further developed and built into an assessment piece first by Walter V. Clarke in 1956 and then by John Geier in 1958.

The model is used to determine the behaviour of individuals in their environment. Respondents are asked to indicate their preference between two options for a number of questions regarding their behaviour.

Once the scores are tallied, it leaves the individual with a ranking for each of the four quadrants, each with its own type of 'usual' behaviour, communication preferences and most effective way of working.

The four quadrants are:

  1. Dominance: This quadrant relates to control, power and assertiveness. A high "D" person can be seen as forceful, direct and opinionated. They like to talk and take charge of things. They want others to be direct, straight forward and show respect. They are keen to achieve a result and like things to move quickly. They value power, control, responsibility and they relish a challenge.

  2. Influence: This quadrant relates to social situations and communication. A high "I" person can be seen as friendly, persuasive and sometimes emotional. They want others to be warm, friendly, relatable, honest and in touch with their emotions. They want to be liked and they constantly seek approval, recognition and reward.

  3. Steadiness: This quadrant relates to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness. A high "S" person can be seen as steady, reliable, reserved, introverted and consultative. They want others to be relaxed, agreeable, cooperative and appreciative. They do not like difficult situations or change and will avoid any conflict/disagreements if at all possible.

  4. Conscientiousness: This quadrant relates to structure and organisation. A high "C" person can be seen as structured, cautious, obstructive and process orientated. They want others to provide them with a lot of detail. They also want people to be process orientated, accurate, direct, dependable and results driven. They want clear expectations, autonomy and results.

This tool can help with interpreting and understanding the particular behaviours of your team members or work colleagues. It also identifies the characteristics of each behaviour type, how to best approach them and what to be prepared for. By having this understanding of your own and others behaviour types, fewer misunderstandings will arise and conflict should be kept to a minimum.

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Belbin Team Roles:

Belbin Team Roles Inventory is a questionnaire developed by Dr Meredith Belbin to identify the role that each individual plays within a given team.

The theory describes nine team roles, each with a different pattern of behaviour and work preferences. Belbin's belief is that a balanced team of people with different capabilities and interests perform better as a team.

Respondents are asked to rank a series of questions by assigning up to ten points per question. The results are then tallied up and you end up with a profile where you have a score for each possible role. People will generally have one or two roles which they score higher in and this is their primary role.

Possible roles and a brief description of these are as follows:

  1. Plant: Creative, imaginative, unorthodox. Solves difficult problems.

  2. Resource Investigator: Extrovert, enthusiastic, communicative. Explores opportunities. Develops contacts.

  3. Co-ordinator: Mature, confident, a good chairperson. Clarifies goals, promotes decision making, delegates well.

  4. Shaper: Challenging, dynamic, thrives on pressure. Has the drive and courage to overcome obstacles.

  5. Monitor-Evaluator: Sober, strategic and discerning. Sees all opinions. Judges accurately.

  6. Team Worker: Cooperative, mild, perceptive and diplomatic. Listens, builds, averts friction and calms the waters.

  7. Implementer: Disciplined, reliable, conservative and efficient. Turns ideas into practical actions.

  8. Completer: Painstaking, conscientious, anxious. Searches out errors and omissions. Delivers on time.

  9. Specialist: Single-minded, self starting, dedicated. Provides knowledge and skills in rare supply.

There are no good or bad roles; each has their strengths and weaknesses. As a team, you can gain an increased understanding of other people's strengths and weaknesses as well as what roles they prefer to perform. This can then be used to encourage communication, build team bonds and motivate and reward employees.

For more information please visit

MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator):

MBTI is a personality inventory developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katherine Briggs in order to assist with understanding the theory of psychological types originally described by Carl Jung.

This questionnaire is based on four pairs of preferences, which are as follows:

  1. Extravert (E) vs. Introvert (I): This is how you prefer to direct and focus your personal energy.

  2. Sensing (S) vs. INtuition (N): This is how you prefer to gather and process information.

  3. Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F): This is how you prefer to make decisions.

  4. Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P): This is how you deal with the outer world.

Respondents answer a range of questions to determine their particular personality type. There are 16 different personality types (for example, ESTJ, INFP, ISFJ, ENTP etc).

These personality types once identified allow people to understand more about their strengths, potential difficulties, communication styles, relationships, learning styles, work behaviour, team role, leadership style, causes of stress and their leisure and recreational habits.

For more information please visit

Learning/Communication Styles:

The learning styles outlined by P.Honey and A.Mumford describe the way in which adults learn, communicate and process information.

The questionnaire associated with this model has been designed to be given to individuals or teams to allow greater understanding of the different styles and how best to approach each style.

Respondents are asked to agree or disagree with a range of statements. The results are then tallied up to identify the respondent's primary (preferred) communication style.

Possible styles and a brief description of these are as follows:

  1. Activist - Action orientated, likes to get things done, excited by new ideas, leaders, social people, extroverted, bored by details and procrastination, acts first without thinking through the consequences.

  2. Pragmatist - Also action orientated but need to understand the relevance of what they are doing first. Practical people, likes to get on with it, objective, decisive.

  3. Theorist - Logical, analytical people, likes facts and data, will look at statistics/previous records first, researches everything, note-taker, needs structure and systems to work at their best.

  4. Reflector - Thinking orientated, likes to listen and take things in and think about things and then they will act. Quieter people, great listeners.

If a person understands their own learning and communication styles, they are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and can work to develop these in order to communicate with others more effectively.

If a person understands other people’s learning and communications styles, they can adjust their style to ensure that their message gets across and is understood by all. By communicating so that everyone has the same understanding but in the most appropriate manner, there will be fewer misunderstandings and less conflict.

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