It’s about the personality, not the role
There’s a never ending debate on where internal communications or the intranet team should sit within an organisation. Should it be in HR? In Communications? Should intranet teams sit in IT? It has been debated in conferences, workshops and even between the Intranetizen team. What can be agreed is that there is no perfect or clear answer; it all depends on your organisation. But that’s the problem, some organisations want to know the market trends, want to know what others are doing so they can implement it. We ask, is that really the best thing to do?
Taking this one step further, what about your developmental project team? Last March, we wrote about building your developmental intranet team. In Jonathan’s post he detailed all the department representatives you need to deliver a successful intranet project. Having the right mix is crucial but what about the people you actually recruit?
It doesn’t matter if you are trying to figure out where IC or the intranet team should sit (or even who should sit on your wider project team), don’t just pick a mix of departments, pick the people with the right personality to support your wider vision. What may work for one organisation will not work for the other.
It’s about the personality
In psychology, the Big Five personality traits are five broad dimensions of personality that are used to describe human demeanour. The Big Five factors are:
- Openness reflects the degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference for novelty and variety.
- Conscientiousness is a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; planned rather than spontaneous behaviour; organized, and dependable.
- Extraversion comprises of energy, positive emotions, assertiveness, sociability and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others.
- Agreeableness means being compassionate and cooperative.
- Neuroticism refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control.
Because the Big Five traits are broad and comprehensive, they are not nearly as powerful in predicting and explaining actual behaviour in individuals, but they are a step in the right direction.
What personality traits are you looking for?
We all want to have a line manager or a department that supports us, that challenges us and let us continually improve our intranet and internal comms initiatives. Same goes for a project team. So, what are the personality traits you need to find in others?
Depending on the scope of your initiatives, your team(s) may not see something tangible for weeks. There will be a lot of discussions about possibilities and opportunities but not a lot of hard evidence. Your team members need to have the imagination to picture in their heads what is possible. Sounds easy for a lot of us, but can be terribly difficulty for others.
Observant people may be your best friend or your nemesis. They can be highly annoying as they take longer to review even the littlest things. But, their role in your team is instrumental in picking up potential issues that could escape your keen eye. Make peace with their pedantic nature and take on their suggestions and comments.
Well really, do we need to say more? No one wants to work with stupidity.
This trait is very important and should be seen in your line manager, your team, project team and any other colleague you work closely with. We should have people with more integrity in our lives. You want to surround yourselves with people who are dependable and do what they say.
We need to have a massive amount of courage to be in the roles we are. But we also require the people around us, especially our line manager to have the courage to support us and to back us up in those difficult boardroom discussions. Similar to imagination, it takes a giant leap of faith to see the vision we are pitching become a reality.
It’s a well-known fact that people, a large amount of them, are resistant to change. The scope of an intranet practitioner is all about change; making things better. Determination in yourself and in your team will help you to ignore the blockers and keep on forging ahead.
Always try to avoid that over-promising black hole. Our team members, our line manager and even ourselves need to be given a healthy dose of reality every once in a while. A realistic but optimistic mind-set will help you to avoid the traps of other departments where they promise the world but deliver you a village.
No one wants to have to work with or for an unmotivated slacker.
This is not a comprehensive list, but this is our top list of traits that should be evidence in your line manager and team. If you have this winning combination in your line manager then it really doesn’t matter if you sit in HR or Comms or IT. All that matters is that you have a team that has determination in what your intranet can achieve and promises to do everything in their power to make it a success.
Let’s be honest here. You may not find someone with all of these characteristics. But if you do hold on to them and never let them go! Did we capture the most important traits? Let us know.