When an Integrator isn’t just an Integrator–Teamers and Dreamers

A while back I shared some hints for recognizing an Integrator, as well as some suggestions for flexing your own style to theirs. I hope you’ve been putting this information to good use! As a reminder, generally speaking, Integrators are empathic, diplomatic, and not likely to be competitive. They prioritize relationships, value consensus, and feel a sense of responsibility to others. They’re open-minded and trusting.

Business Chemistry was designed to be simple enough to understand and remember. That’s why we focus on just four primary types. But sometimes it’s helpful to get a bit more granular. And in this case doing so reveals that Integrators are not all equally easy to recognize, and in fact, there are two sub-types of Integrators. The Teamer is outgoing and more extroverted, while the Dreamer is reserved and more introverted. If there’s a Teamer in the room you’ll probably know it, but the Dreamer is more elusive.

If you’ve ever had difficulty recognizing an Integrator, this difference may be why.

The Teamer is best defined by their relationships with others. Not surprisingly, given their name, Teamers prefer to work on teams rather than alone. And they go both deep and broad with their relationships, prioritizing real connections with their coworkers as well as having large networks. Teamers feel a sense of responsibility to others and value loyalty in return. They are energetic and quite comfortable expressing their emotions.

The Dreamer is typically defined by what’s happening in their head and their heart, which makes them a bit harder to spot. They’re reserved, particularly around new people, listening and observing more than talking. They’re the most empathic type–often feeling others’ emotions and communicating in ways that take those emotions into account.  They strive for consensus in decision-making, don’t thrive on competing, and aren’t likely to be the one in charge of the group. Dreamers don’t see things in black and white but instead in shades of gray, and they tend to read deeper meaning into situations. If they make a mistake, they’ll spend time ruminating on what they could have done differently.

So how does this help you if you’re interacting with, or maybe managing a Teamer or a Dreamer? Here are some hints:

A Teamer…

  • is most engaged when working closely with others. Asking them to take on a lot of solo tasks probably won’t put them in their happy zone.
  • is likely to know a lot of people. Their networking prowess and relationship-building skills can really help a team connect with others.
  • might be influenced if you play on their sense of responsibility to others; if you want them to do something, emphasize that it’s for the good of the team or the organization.
  • can seem emotional, but don’t be alarmed. This doesn’t necessarily mean that emotions are running high, just that the Teamer is comfortable expressing emotions.
  • may expect you to display some emotions too, and this may be particularly important if you’re trying to demonstrate your own commitment to something (I’ve written before about displaying emotion as an indicator of commitment).
  • values loyalty, so be aware of whether they feel you’ve done anything to break trust with them.

A Dreamer…

  • is likely to be engaged by having some alone time to tackle more reflective tasks.
  • may experience a variety of situations and events as stressful. Ask how you can help them keep stress levels manageable.
  • has the “super power” of empathy. Ask for their help in gauging people’s reactions or their assistance in preparing messaging that will hit just the right way.
  • is probably not going to take charge or get involved in competing with others, and might possibly not be talking at all. But don’t mistake this for lack of interest. The Dreamer is likely observing, taking everything in, and processing its meaning, but you may need to ask directly if you want to know what they think.
  • isn’t easy to pin down. You may be hoping for a decisive answer, but the Dreamer doesn’t see things in black and white and is far more comfortable with “maybe” or “it depends”.
  • isn’t easy to fool. Good luck hiding your feelings from the Dreamer. If what you’re saying doesn’t match the vibe you’re giving off, they’re likely to notice.
  • spends a lot of time and energy reviewing their own mistakes, so you might focus less on pointing out their short-comings and more on helping them move past them.

Have you seen either of these sub-types in any Integrators you’ve come across?


Dr. Suz

Suzanne Vickberg, PhD (aka Dr. Suz)
Dr. Suz is the LCC’s very own social-personality psychologist, which means she studies how people’s thoughts, behaviors and preferences are influenced by both who they are and the situations they’re in. She uses Business Chemistry to help teams explore how the mix of perspectives brought by their individual members influences their work together. Follow her on Twitter @DrSuzBizChem

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15 thoughts on “When an Integrator isn’t just an Integrator–Teamers and Dreamers

    1. Thanks Lesley. I agree. There are certainly plenty of Dreamers who lead! (as well as our other more introverted types–Guardians and Scientists, who are more internally-focused Drivers). However, we do find in our sample of over 140,000 people that Dreamers are less likely to agree with the statement “In a group setting I am usually the one in charge.” Moreover, the c-suite leaders we work with are less likely to be Dreamers. So can they lead? Yes. Do they lead? Yes, but less often than some of the other types. Further, we acknowledge that there are lots of ways to lead, and what I’ve said above is perhaps in line with a more “traditional” definition of leadership. We’ve gotten very interested in the various mechanisms underlying these patterns (some of which have been explored by you and Susan Cain and others) and have embarked on a large study of aspirations among the Business Chemistry types. We’re asking people whether they aspire to be a leader, but also whether they aspire to be a mentor, an expert, a change agent, a stabilizing force, etc. One might argue these are all forms of leadership. We’re really looking forward to seeing and sharing the results!

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  1. To feed off of Lesley’s comment I also think that we have to be careful about how we use the words introvert and extrovert. Introversion and extraversion purely define how people get their energy. Do you gain energy by being alone or do you gain energy by being with other people? I think it’s absolutely just as possible for an extrovert to need alone time to work on tasks as it is for an introvert to feel comfortable leading a team. I once wrote a blog post on the differences between a shy extrovert and a confident extrovert.

    I actually feel like I do both of these things – dream and team. It depends on how many people I know in the room and how shy or confident I’m feeling that day. If I know a lot of people in the room, I’m likely to take charge of it, but if I don’t know them super well I’m going to lay back, see how things play out, and try to figure out how to fit into the scene.

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    1. Sounds likely that you’re a bit of an ambivert! And yes, the situation always has to be factored into things. No one acts the same in every situation. I am a Guardian & a Dreamer myself, and like you, my team often comments on my tendency to be reserved in an unknown group but quite talkative in a group of people I know well.

      In terms of the definition of introversion, that is definitely up for debate. We often think of “energy management” as the defining factor, but in fact it’s much more complicated than that. Paul Costa & Robert McCrae, who are among the foremost experts on personality psychology, actually measure SIX facets of the Introversion–Extroversion dimension: warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity level, excitement-seeking, and positive emotion. Often a person will score high on some of these dimensions and low on others. In other words, we’re complicated creatures. 🙂

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      1. Hi Chrystina, Google…Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D. Psychology Today – Fulfillment at Any Age “There’s More to Introversion than You Might Think– Inside Introversion’s Six Facets and How They Can Change Over time.” This is from a 2011 blog post but is a great overview of these facets. Cheers!

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      2. I finally got a chance to read up on this – it’s really cool to see all the complexities and to understand how they fit into people’s personalities. It’s also interesting to see how certain combinations of these facets could impact who you build relationships with and how people build relationships with you.

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  2. I’m an Integrator – Teamer; and my secondary profile is Pioneer. I can relate to the behaviors mentioned under both – Teamer and Dreamer.

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