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PERSONALITY: The Impact of Personality on Workplace Accountability and Responsibility

I recently was working with an organization to clarify the responsibility of leadership in relationship to strategic thinking, project management and functional management.  We used the classic RASCI chart to detail who was Responsible, Accountable, expected to Support, Consulted and Informed on numerous tasks and responsibilities. The goal was to help leadership within the organization determine how accountability was understood and shared among departments, teams and other stakeholders.  While the RASCI illustrated where perceptions (the WHAT) were clear and/or unclear, it did not define HOW each of these elements would be accomplished.  As someone who has done countless RASCI charts, this was a new insight well worth exploring.


For example, a department manager might be Responsible for developing the departmental budget and Accountable for ensuring that the budget does not exceed the approved limits.  In addition the department manager might be expected to Consult and Inform the division head or executive director.  As we discussed the RASCI elements, it became more and more clear that the manner in which Consulting and/or Informing might be done could differ greatly based on an individual’s personality.  It also became clear that the giver and the receiver might be very different personalities, needing the information in a particular way or format that the other person wouldn’t necessarily recognize.

Enter in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), or any other personality tool (think DISC, Lens of Understanding or Communication Styles).  For example, an introverted department manager might consider emailing the extraverted division head the information as the preferred way to stay Informed.  Only one problem:  the extraverted division head wants to talk face-to-face with some give and take brainstorming.  The department manager sees his/her job of Informing as done, while the division head sees it as inadequate.  Likewise the sensing division head may want just the facts when being Informed, while the department manager is eager to share big picture possibilities when informing about outcomes.  The same could happen with Authority as the department manager makes the final decision based on its impact on the people (a Feeling preference), while the division head believes accountable decision making should focus on logic, facts and data (the Thinking preference)

The key here is to “bait the hook to suit the fish,” as we have said many times.  It’s not enough to know WHAT levels of accountability and responsibility are distributed throughout the organization.  It’s also vital to understand HOW each stakeholder expects the RASCI elements to be implemented.  If I’m expected to provide Support, what will that look like?  If I’m expecting to be Consulted, how do I want that to take place?  The WHAT (RASCI) and the HOW (MBTI) must work in tandem to provide a complete picture in order to yield the effectiveness I’m looking to accomplish.

Got you thinking about personality in the workplace?  Want to understand more?  We have just the guidebook for you.  Make sure to download our FREE 30-page Your Personality At Work guidebook today!



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