Team Building: Why Can't Rationals Get Along?

Rhonda Goetz

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When team members clash, disaster strikes. Project deadlines are missed, HR referees team members, the boss is angry for a week, and the raises everyone expects vanishes in the face of discord.

Which personality stimulates the highest stress levels in a project meeting? Hands down, it has to be the Rational. They love to be in charge and tell everyone what to do.


Rational personalities make up 5-7% of the population and create quite a stir for being such a small group. These personalities like to be in charge and you will find them in top corporate positions. Rationals have a take charge attitude about most things they do. Want to move the project forward? Bring in a Rational

Rationals are goal oriented and like to get things done. Delegation is a primary part of this personality. They are concerned with getting the job completed and tend to discount team member feelings. You will not find them worrying about whether the team works well together, just that the team works!

Although the Rational is the mover and shaker of the team, they usually are the most disliked. This occurs because this type of employee is usually insensitive to others and impatient. Their focus is on the project, not the people working on the project.

When a Rational feels they have lost control of a project or group, they will go into high gear to control things. Of course, in the process, they will not be kind or sensitive to others. Expect fall-out from the team when that happens.

As a supervisor, Rationals can be demanding and impatient with employees. They require excellence in everything and do not tolerate excuses. They will adhere to the rules if it serves their purpose. Their goal in life is to complete the task well.

Supervisors can get better performance from a Rational if they:

  • Include them in the decision-making process.
  • Outline their purpose within the group.
  • Remind them of their impact on others.
  • Encourage them to listen more.
  • Remind them that there is more at stake than the end result.
  • Place them into positions that utilize their strengths.

    Rationals in Brief

    Value to the Team: Rationals will take the first steps in a project. They are never reluctant to get something started!
    Major Strength: Goal-oriented and gets things done.
    Major Weakness: Insensitive of others and impatient.
    Communication: Initiates conversations.
    Emotional Response: Independent of the situation.
    Decision Making: Decides with goals in mind.
    Behavior Under Stress: Rationals, when faced with high levels of stress, will dominate the process and others.
    Being a Better Team Player: Rationals need to listen more. They are so fixated on the goal they forget that other's can contribute too.

    Rational Personalities

  • Walt Disney
  • Mark Twain
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Bill Gates
  • Charles Darwin
  • Aristotle

    For more on Teams and Personality, see the third article in this series: Team Building: Why Can't Idealists Get Along?

    Rhonda Goetz
    Chrome Zebra, Inc.
    Helping Employers Prevent Employee Lawsuits
    Online Human Resource Training

    Rhonda Goetz is the owner and CEO of Chrome Zebra, an online human resource training company. She also is an authorized harassment and discrimination trainer and online instructional designer.

    Find out how to improve your team's ability to work with each other.
    Get online training customized to your industry.
    Contact Rhonda for more information. Toll free: 866.241.9927

    Her online courses provide businesses with an alternate training method that saves time and money. Employees train at their desks or workstations, and can train anytime. Businesses no longer have to lose production time to large training seminars, or hire expensive consultants or be locked into a set training schedule. Online training is cost-effective as well.

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