Leadership Tactic #79: Knowing Exactly What Kind of a Teammate You Are


I don’t think I’ve ever been excited about team dynamics until last Thursday, when I learned that there might actually be a formula to forming and maintaining an amazing team.

I’m going to write a little about this now and a little about this later. But if you don’t read another word, please take 10 seconds to click here and fill out this three-question Google Form (it’s also embedded on this page after the entry. It will assess exactly who you are in a team, and I’ll share the results next week. You don’t have to give me your name or contact info, but I’d love to have it in case I want to reach out to people in one of the categories.

Before I continue, I need to give full credit to Inscape-Epic, who invented the Team Dimensions test and assessment. It’s an amazing tool for teams, and I highly recommend you shell out the $20/employee and then talk about the results as a group.

So, the thing I’m really excited about is you can vastly improve your workflow process as a team. Not only that, but if you’re starting a new company, you could choose your team based on this assessment.

Basically, Team Dimensions claims that there are four types of people: creators (which means “creative types,” not people who actually want to create things), advancers, refiners, and executors. You can see longer descriptions of each category on the form below.

The key is that you want people in each of the categories, and you want to avoid overlap when necessary. For example, I’m a refiner who tends towards creators. Thus my instinct is to hone and refine ideas, but I’m also happy brainstorming ideas for a little bit. However, I share few qualities that excite the advancers. Advancers respond well to seeing how a few people feel about an idea, whereas the data I use to refine ideas must come from a greater pool of people. I want hard numbers, quantifiable data. So if you asked me to work with an advancer to poll people, it wouldn’t go well.

This knowledge could also be incredibly useful for startups. In a startup, you need each type of person on your team to optimize your product and workflow. I’ve experienced this most recently with Stonemaier Games, the company Alan Stone and I set up for Viticulture. Like I said, I’m a refiner/creator, and I have a hunch that Alan is too. Which is great when we brainstorm, because it’s a really focused kind of brainstorm. But we’re probably lacking in the advancer and executor categories. This doesn’t mean that we can’t actually execute a project; rather, it just means that we’d rather be refining than executing.

I think the results are going to be really interesting, so if you don’t think you’ll take the longer Team Dimensions test at the link above, just answer these questions by this Friday and I’ll discuss the results in two months.

5 thoughts on “Leadership Tactic #79: Knowing Exactly What Kind of a Teammate You Are”

  1. I stopped to think about these questions before I answered them, and I wasn’t 100% certain where I fell. And then, almost like an audio flashback, I heard myself say a very familiar phrase: Just get it done. I think that a lot when my employees (that are apparently brainstormers) come to me with questions and ideas. I listen and nod and try to help, but in my mind I’m screaming, “JUST GET IT DONE!”

    As much as I love managing, I do miss the part of diving in to a project and getting my hands dirty–working the numbers, figuring it all out and presenting the end result.

    Like most things though, I find that I’m a different kind of team player in other aspects of my life. But at work, I’m an executor through and through!

    • I’m glad you had a moment of such clarity! How are you different with friends or family when it comes to projects that involve multiple people?

  2. This was really tough to pick a category because at any one time, I can do two or three out of the four. What would be really interesting is to somehow cross-pollinate these results with an additional personality test. I.e. do INFP’s gravitate toward creator roles? I’m an INFP but I understand that sometimes my ‘P’ tendencies need to take a backseat and the ‘J’ needs to come forward to get things done. This is a problem sometimes because my natural tendency is to keep brainstorming, generating possibilities, etc. I think that’s really interesting that you need data in decision-making etc. I think this appeals to your ‘T’ aspect even though you said you are more ‘N’ than ‘S’ (I venture to say since you like data that you’re closer to the S side than you think, or maybe just slightly ‘N’). Obviously I’m big into Myers-Briggs 🙂

    • Jen–As we talked about the Team Dimensions profile at work, we saw a number of connections to the Myers-Briggs. For example, the creators and advancers were almost all extroverts, sensors, feelers, and perceivers (ESFP). The refiners and executors were almost all introverts, intuitors, thinkers, and judgers (INTJ). There was some slight variation, but it was almost exactly. I’m an INTJ, and my N is really low, so I definitely have some S in me.


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