How you manage a project and how your project team works together can be greatly affected by the different ‘thinking styles’ among all of the various team members. As we know, not everyone is like-minded. Indeed, there are four main thinking styles:
- left-brained cerebral
- left-brained limbic
- right-brained cerebral
- right-brained limbic
To make it easier, let’s give each of these types a name, as indicated in the following graphic as we dive into each one of these separate thinking styles. Each of these styles brings critical thinking skills to a project team.
Analytical thinkers tend to be logical and fact based. They prefer quantitative data and precision. People who have analytical thinking styles help the project team make logical, well thought-out decisions.
Sequential thinkers are good at organizing and planning. They prefer solving problems pragmatically. People with sequential thinking skills help get the team organized and push for implementation. They are naturals at project management.
Holistic thinkers are good at seeing the big picture. They prefer exploring new possibilities and ideas. The people with holistic thinking traits help the team brainstorm new ideas, synthesize information, and solve problems intuitively. They help the team get outside the box.
Interpersonal thinkers are good at creating enthusiasm and maintaining morale in a group. They help move the team through the stages of team formation. People with interpersonal thinking skills promote conciliation, pick up on conflicts, and help to get them resolved, and maintain relationships within the team.
There are 16 specific styles within each of the four categories. Some people’s thinking style strengths are concentrated in one category. Other people have strengths in more than one category.
In a team environment, it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the thinking styles of each individual and the group as a whole. For example, if there is a deficit in the analytical category, then the project team leader will need to work harder at making sure that decisions are made with facts and data and not just gut feel. The MT decision matrix tool would be a good analytical tool to use to augment the analytical approach of the group.