A few words about myself

Pathway: Indie Game Development

Unity (2D), art direction and story-telling are my strengths, while I also enjoy animation, visual scripting with tools like PlayMaker and learning to program. I am hopeful that Co-Creative Design & Development can branch my skills out into 3D games and modelling. During our MA in Indie Game Development and short game jams/rapid ideations, I have built games as part of a team and solo. I have extensive experience working in small groups, collaborating, managing a project, and organising workload during my career.

What is a team?

A team is trust? “There’s no team without trust,” says Paul Santagata, Head of Industry at Google” (Delizonna 2017).

A team is a group of people with the same goal? “The notion of team entails shared accountability: good or bad, the outcomes should be attributed to the entire team rather than to any individual” (Agile Alliance 2015)

A team is communication? “It is estimated that listeners will filter out or change the intended meaning of what is heard in 70% of all communications. Source” (GitLab 2021). GitLab teams “communicate respectfully and professionally at all times” and follow “Effective & Responsible Communication Guidelines” (GitLab 2021).

A team is a place of psychological safety? “The brain processes a provocation by a boss, competitive coworker, or dismissive subordinate as a life-or-death threat. The amygdala, the alarm bell in the brain, ignites the fight-or-flight response, hijacking higher brain centers. This “act first, think later” brain structure shuts down perspective and analytical reasoning. Quite literally, just when we need it most, we lose our minds” (Delizonna 2017). A team cannot perform together if any team member feels unsafe, and is losing their “perspective and analytical reasoning” (Delizonna 2017).

I have worked on my own and as part of a team during my career, and yet I have never asked myself, what is a team? This is a question I will ask myself again, at the end of Co-Creative Design and Development.

The Big Five

During the first week of Co-Creative Design & Development, we were asked to take a personality test of our choice and discuss the results. A close friend of mine is hugely introspective and has forced me to take several personality tests over the years. Generally, I’ve found my results change with those years. The person I am now is, of course, not the person I was at 20. I think self-awareness, introspection, and evaluation of ourselves are crucial life skills, but I think personality tests should be considered with a pinch of salt. Studies state both that personality tests are helpful and that they are not. I agree that personality tests are valuable but “poor predictors of criteria such as job performance and are difficult to justify as a basis for making high-stakes decisions about individuals” (Morgeson et al 2007).

The Big Five Results

Fig 1. The Big Five Personality Test [Screenshot]
Fig 2. The Big Five Personality Test [Screenshot]
  • Openness – How open a person is to new ideas and experiences
  • Conscientiousness – How goal-directed, persistent, and organized a person is
  • Extraversion – How much a person is energized by the outside world
  • Agreeableness – How much a person puts others’ interests and needs ahead of their own
  • Neuroticism – How sensitive a person is to stress and negative emotional triggers

How can I fit into a team?

Openness:

I’ve always had a love of learning and new ideas, so I expected high scores for openness. My open personality will support the team to think of new ideas and embrace out-of-the-box thinking.

I will be careful not to overwhelm everyone with my ideas, as I can be very enthusiastic about trying new things and sometimes a tried and tested method is better.

Conscientious:

Again I expected a high result; I am persistent and organised, I think I expected this result to be higher. While working in a team, I should be mindful that I might push my organised lifestyle onto others. Some people work at their absolute best while being spontaneous.

Extroversion:

I have always struggled with social anxiety and anxiety in general, and I wear out quickly in the company of other people, especially in large groups. This has been something that has changed the course of my life, why I favour distance learning education and why I’ve always struggled to speak up in large groups.

Extraversion is sometimes considered an ideal, and there are many beautiful things about being extroverted, but I feel being introverted is also a strength. I consider my time carefully, and preciously but I can enjoy events and sharing interests with strangers. I also think that I am a strongly empathetic person, which means that I care a lot, but I can quickly become overwhelmed and forget to also take care of myself.

The Power of Introverts

Are extroverts more likely to succeed? Kichuk’s and Wiesners 1997 study abstract states “Successful teams were characterized by higher levels of general cognitive ability, higher extraversion, higher agreeableness, and lower neuroticism than their unsuccessful counterparts”.

My first thought is, it’s just a personality test; how someone works in a team is, in every case, unique. Personality traits like kindness, self-awareness, empathy and so on are more critical to success than extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism?

My second thought is; many exceptional people and leaders are also introverts. Our inherent bias towards rewarding extroverted behaviour, like office outings to the bar, explains the predominance of ‘successful people and teams’ with high extroversion. Introverted behaviour, like preferring to head home early and read a book, is less likely to lead to promotion but more likely to enhance knowledge and skills. “But now here’s where the bias comes in. Our most important institutions, our schools and our workplaces, they are designed mostly for extroverts and for extroverts’ need for lots of stimulation. And also we have this belief system right now that I call the new groupthink, which holds that all creativity and all productivity comes from a very oddly gregarious place” (Cain 2012).

Susan Cain (2012) The Power of Introverts

“Now in fact, some of our transformative leaders in history have been introverts. I’ll give you some examples. Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Gandhi — all these people described themselves as quiet and soft-spoken and even shy. And they all took the spotlight, even though every bone in their bodies was telling them not to. And this turns out to have a special power all its own, because people could feel that these leaders were at the helm not because they enjoyed directing others and not out of the pleasure of being looked at; they were there because they had no choice, because they were driven to do what they thought was right” (Cain 2012).

Agreeableness

While I generally aim to please and find conflict stressful, I also hold high expectations of myself and others. I keep strong belief’s about right and wrong, and I am not willing to compromise those ideals. I deeply care about people, their goals, and their happiness, which can mean I’m an excellent team member and an overbearing one. I have to be told sometimes that I am not responsible for everyone’s happiness, but most of the time, I still feel that I am.

I am also a sincere and serious person, most of the time. I have also been accused of being too honest and too direct. I try to reserve my honesty for the right time and place, and I will be mindful of this during our co-creative design and development module.

Neuroticism

I can be too hard on myself. Sometimes I can be self-depreciative and withdraw into my own thoughts. I am aware that I can be sensitive. I spend a considerable amount of time evaluating my communication with others. I used to work in business and administration and customer service, resolving complaints, and I understand where not to take things personally and how to turn a conversation around.

Forming a Team

Team Rock-it, who are preparing to “protect the world from devastation” (Team Rocket), are formed from students from different cohorts, pathways and backgrounds. We all have clearly defined subject and skill strengths in different areas and a willingness to form a team (whatever that is) together.

List of Figures

Fig 1. The Big Five Personality Test [Screenshot]

Fig 2. The Big Five Personality Test [Screenshot]

References

DELIZONNA, Laura. 2017. ‘High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It’. Harvard Business Review [online]. Available at: https://hbr.org/2017/08/high-performing-teams-need-psychological-safety-heres-how-to-create-it [accessed 27 Jun 2021].

‘GitLab Communication’. 2021. GitLab [online]. Available at: https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/communication/ [accessed 27 Jun 2021].

‘GitLab Communication’. 2021. GitLab [online]. Available at: https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/communication/ [accessed 27 Jun 2021].

MORGESON, Frederick P. et al. 2007. ‘Are We Getting Fooled Again? Coming to Terms with Limitations in the Use of Personality Tests for Personnel Selection’. Personnel Psychology 60(4), 1029–49.

KICHUK, Susan and WIESNER Willi. 1997. ‘The Big Five Personality Factors and Team Performance: Implications for Selecting Successful Product Design Teams’. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management 14(3–4), 195–221.

CAIN, Susan. 2012. ‘The Power of Introverts’ [online lecture].TedTalks. Available at: ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4 [accessed 24 Jun 2021].

‘What Is an Agile Team?’ 2015. Agile Alliance | [online]. Available at: https://www.agilealliance.org/glossary/team/ [accessed 27 Jun 2021].