Alex, who is 16PF and FIRO qualified, designed a development day where the focus was on facilitating the group in their own learning about the 16PF and FIRO approaches. His aim was to equip the managers with the basics, and then let them discover the practical applications of FIRO and 16PF through personal self-reflection and peer-coaching. Crucially, his philosophy was to place the learning in the hands of the managers themselves.
The day was divided roughly in two, with the morning session focusing on 16PF, and the afternoon session on FIRO. “This group of managers have a great work ethic and have been working with each other for some time now,” Alex explains. “With the 16PF, I focused on the Global Factors to give them quick access to the insights it could give, and they picked up very quickly how the Primary Factors fed into them. What was great was that rather than spoon-feeding them the detail, they figured this out for themselves.” For Alex, this is all about empowering the group to make their own links – balancing push with pull.
The day involved a run-through of the basic concepts of each tool. “More than any other psychometric, the 16PF is a genuinely holistic view of personality”, says Alex. “The managers had a real lightbulb moment when they understood the idea behind traits – and that those parts of your personality outside the midrange are most noticeable to others.” They quickly built on this learning, using their 16PF profiles to see their leadership style clearly, and realize its pitfalls.
“The 16PF measures behaviors, so it’s applicable to the everyday – how we relate to specific people, how we lead teams, how we can support each other in the future,” comments Alex. “The group really got on board with it, realizing its depth as well as its practical applicability. The 16PF helped them articulate things they knew about themselves, but couldn’t express before.”
Alex used a range of tools from OPP, as well as ideas of his own, to bring the concepts to life: posters, props, collage, examples of real people – and the Exploring Your 16PF Profile books, which he describes as “amazing for the price – so accessible, tactile and funky to use, as well as relating to the business context”.
For the FIRO session, the focus shifted to the deeper insight the tool can give into those elements of personality we communicate, and the corresponding elements we need from others. Alex wanted to help the group explore what was going on inside, and how it drives behavior in the outside world – what they want to receive from others, but didn’t always reveal. This type of discussion was quite personal and therefore very impactful – but Alex made sure that the group was ready for this, with the right level of trust. The group had worked together for over two years, and carried out regular peer coaching, so the FIRO work was a good fit with their ethos.
“FIRO really enabled them to understand the journey they had come on. We used Lencioni’s model to talk about openness, trust and vulnerability, and the group were particularly interested in the idea that greater trust between them and their teams engendered greater credibility for them.”
L&D Manager, Waitrose
“FIRO really enabled them to understand the journey they had come on. We used Lencioni’s model to talk about openness, trust and vulnerability, and the group were particularly interested in the idea that greater trust between them and their teams engendered greater credibility for them.” This credibility helps managers get what they want from their teams, convincing their staff of the legitimacy of their approach and getting everyone to pull together towards common goals.
Towards the end of the day, the managers started to make their own connections between the 16PF and FIRO approaches. For example, one participant was struck by how his combination of high Perfectionism (16PF) and high Expressed Control (FIRO-B) must come across to others.