You want to work with high-performing people. The data predicts that certain personality types produce better results. So why not just test everyone? Hire the ENTJs (or whatever) and be done with it. You may have seen the recent HBO special, Persona: The Dark Truth Behind Personality Tests, which rather brutally points out the fallacy of such an approach. Even more common is the idea of ‘culture fit’—screening applicants for personalities that fit with your existing team.

This is not an invitation to be naive. You cannot include everyone and everything all the time. For example, if you’re committed to a culture that values gender equally, you cannot retain a manager whose behaviors create an unsafe environment for women. Requiring a basic standard of decency, however, does not require surrounding yourself with people of your preferred personality type.

In fact, the best performers often do fit the norm, and a range of different types is usually more effective as team. So how do you include quirky personalities—or people who are just different from you—in a thriving culture?

Know Yourself
We never suggest people attempt to be free of bias. You will have preferences. Certain types of people make you feel safe, alive and productive. Others may trigger you in some way, or just leave you more flat. The art of openness is about noticing your preferences and your triggers, and being okay with that.

Just to be conscious is super powerful. When you are aware of how you are responding to different personalities, you automatically adapt. On the Myers Briggs test, for example, I score high on ‘P’ which means I prefer to leave decisions open as long as possible and I notice that I don’t like it when I am around someone who narrows the options more quickly. I feel like I am getting cut off. Which makes me want to cut them off! Knowing that, I find I naturally stay engaged now whenever anyone triggers that response in me.

You might want to keep a log for a week or two of how you are responding to different types of people. Follow that up by asking key members of your team to do the same, and share your insights.

My Feeling My Responsibility
If homogeneity does not create a thriving culture, what does make the difference? What is important is how well people are adapting to each other. In a thriving culture people pay attention to what brings out the best in each other.

That happens when each takes responsibility for their own triggers. If there were one cultural norm that makes for a more open and inclusive environment, it would be this. When I own whatever arises in me in relation to you, be with it as my response rather than your fault, I find a way to reach you. My response to you is not held as right or wrong, just as mine. That leaves you free to be fully yourself.

Train People To Adapt
Leaders often think that, to create this sort of resilient adaptable culture, we need to adapt who and how they are. We need to become more empathic, strong, visionary, strategic—or whatever ideal may be in fashion. It turns out, however, the best way to train your people in this kind of personal responsibility is to train them how to bring the best out of you. They will try anyway, so it is remarkably effective to teach them to learn to adapt to different personalities by learning to adapt to you.

You can make your personality more visible, perhaps by writing and sharing an operating manual on how to bring out the best in you. You can offer tips and guidance in review sessions. You can speak appreciation when you see them taking responsibility in the way you are asking.

While it may seem counterintuitive, this is servant leadership. You are offering to your people the most potent training ground available: you and their relationship with you. Not asking them to practice on others. You are using the issues that arise around your leadership to grow the people and develop the culture.

The culture around you replicates according to how the key people work with you. Let go of trying to pick conducive personalities. Create instead a culture of self awareness and personal responsibility where a broad range of different types can thrive.