What is it about icebreaker introductions that always make people cringe? On top of being one of the least favourable aspects of meeting a new group, you don’t actually learn much about your coworkers, aside from their favourite colour or preferred flavour of ice cream.
When you work on a team—especially a creative one—understanding your coworkers’ strengths, weaknesses, and work habits can be immeasurably valuable. Knowing who to call on, when to reach out, and how you can support each other through long-term, challenging projects will help your team function like a well-oiled machine with far fewer mechanical failures.
But this poses the question: how do you go beyond icebreakers and dive deep into interpersonal understanding without putting people on the spot and amplifying the awkwardness?
Types and Archetypes
In marketing, we often assign creative archetypes to our clients’ brands to better understand what they represent, how they serve customers, and how they communicate. Some are caregivers, some are rebels, and some have a thirst for adventure! While every brand and its story are unique, using archetypes provides us with a simplified framework and understanding of the company to make informed creative decisions quickly and confidently.
Within our office—particularly as we return to working in-person with a growing team—we’ve found that using typology systems helps us gain insight into how everyone works without requiring them to recite their autobiography. There are loads of different personality typing systems—some more complex than others—and instead of feeling cringeworthy and forced like the ever-dreaded icebreaker questions, personality quizzes are really fun to complete and share!
Using Personality Quizzes at Work
When we say “personality quiz,” we don’t mean the ones on Buzzfeed that tell you which Frappuccino you are (but for what it’s worth, we’re an office full of Unicorn Frapps and Java Chips). Deep-level personality quizzes that measure your values, strengths, and creative thought processes can provide powerful insights into how you work. When you complete the quiz, you’ll receive a summarized report on your working style. By encouraging everyone in your marketing team to complete a test and share their results, you’ll learn so much about each individual—yourself included!
There are tons of personality tests and quizzes out there like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI), or the highly-detailed Lumina Spark Assessment, which was described by our Art Director, Sheena Case, as “The Myers-Briggs test on steroids.”
At UpHouse, we love using Adobe Creative Types—it’s practically an initiation exercise for anyone who joins our team. On top of being specifically tailored to folks working in creative fields, it has quirky animations, fun, abstract questions, and it only takes a few minutes to complete!
Sharing Your Creative Type
Tests like these have so much value beyond entertainment—they help to uncover hidden talents! By recognizing these gifts in each other and learning about our challenges, we’re better equipped to work together, combine our talents, and support each other. Above all, it reinforces empathy and understanding, and it encourages us to celebrate our uniqueness instead of trying to be perfect at everything.
For example, Sheena’s creative type is “The Thinker,” characterized by intense intellectual curiosity, a great knack for deep-level strategy, perceptiveness, and an ability to see the big picture. She loves collaborating with our Marketing Manager, Courtney Bannatyne, whose creative type is “The Visionary.” Visionaries are known for their endless well of ideas and dreams, with incredible intuition, charisma, expression, and a desire to help society for the better.
Visionaries can sometimes struggle to put their colourful ideas into action and stay on track, but Thinkers can help them stay grounded and realistic, offering structure and sound methods for carrying out a project. Their combined strengths complement each other, and by understanding the things they struggle with, they can provide support and encouragement where needed.
Having the tools and insights to know how to work together effectively is immeasurably valuable—especially as we get back to in-person work, no longer in isolation. Take an hour out of your workday, encourage your team to complete the Adobe Creative Types test, and share your results! You’ll learn about yourself, your team, and how you can approach your work with a plan that plays on everyone’s unique creative gifts.