The Dynamics of Team Performance

Create a high performance team by using your team's profile to highlight areas for training and development.

Learning Objective 1

Why is it important to understanding your team member's profile?

Between 1928 and 1931 psychologist William M Marston wrote theories on human behaviour that lead to Dr. Thomas Hendrickson developing the Thomas Personal Profile Analysis (PPA) during the early Sixties. The PPA determines typical patterns of behaviour in the workplace based on the DISC profile. DISC stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. Over the years the DISC profile has been modified according to more recent studies into human behaviour.

Since 1981 Thomas International, a London based psychometric company, has adapted and updated the DISC profile. (

Today the PPA is quite extensively used in business to assist people to better understand both themselves and their colleagues. Companies around the world use the PPA for team building, talent management, career planning and leadership development.

The DISC profile assists in highlighting areas such as high or low dominance, high or low influence,  high or low steadiness and high or low compliance. Each person has in his or her personality an element of dominance, influence, steadiness and compliance. Some elements in our personality are stronger than others and when we are relating to people in the workplace, there are areas where the potential for negative conflict is higher than others. For instance, a high dominance person could become frustrated with a high compliance person.

The table below briefly summarises the characteristics of each profile. It is important to remember the PPA does not take into account a person’s background, culture, education etc., it is purely used as a guideline tool for self- improvement and work enhancement.  

In a team, understanding each other’s profile assists us in recognising areas of potential conflict, then modifying our behaviour to avoid unpleasant and negative situations occurring.

Each profile has strengths and limitations.

A team profile is strongly influenced by the nature of the team and values set for the team. In setting an ideal team profile,  the team members should discuss what factors they feel their team should have (or develop) in order to assist them be successful . 

This is an example of how an ideal team profile and an actual team profile can differ.


From the PPA characteristics, Thomas International determines who in the group would best be suited to other dynamics required in a team, such as those listed below, which also play an important role in team performance.  Team members will have one or more of these factors:-

  •  Anchor
  • Pioneer
  • Specialist
  • Motivator
  • Analyser
  • Innovator
  • Concluder
  • Supporter
  • Networker

Once each team member is profiled and then an actual team profile is compared to the ideal profile the team members agreed to. This comparison highlights team strengths, balance and limitations.  This profiling then enables management to identify areas for training and development within teams.

In the above example the bar chart compares the ideal team factors (blue) to the actual team. The pioneer, innovator and networker are limiting factors in this example.

In this module you have:-

  • Discovered why your team is not working as a team and explored solutions.
  • Discussed new strategies to improve team performance.
  • Evaluated the value of team building.


Thomas International Training Manual 2009



  • To assist in recognising areas of potential conflict and modifying behaviour accordingly
  • To get ahead in your personal performance
  • To allow negative situations to continue
  • You do not need to understand your team member's profile, it adds no value to you