Employers take note: Successful work teams have complementary strengths and weaknesses

RethinkCare logo
RethinkEd logo
RethinkBH For Providers logo
RethinkBH For Health Plans logo

By: Louis Chesney

Whil sales and success industry page

Share with your community

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Everyone compares themselves to others on social media as if society wants us to possess similar traits and characteristics. Our attributes range from “what people think is typical” to “what they believe categorizes the ideal person” to “what they find problematic in someone.” The same general principle applies to our cognitive (and social) strengths and weaknesses. As we move from school to professional life, standardized intelligence and personality assessments place us in these three categories.

Where our assessment scores fall on the continuum indicates whether the institution sees us, either a prospective student or job candidate, as typical, ideal, or problematic. This approach makes the selection process more efficient by reducing the number of applicants to consider. However, because standard assessments are biased toward neurotypical modes of processing and interacting, institutions need to move away from this mindset to avoid missing out on the unique strengths of neurodiverse individuals.

If we focus on the illustration below, you will notice the two people on each side of the graph have identical average IQs. However, if we look more closely, each person has a different profile of mental strengths and weaknesses. In his book, The End of Average, this observation is what Todd Rose, developmental scientist, calls the jaggedness principle. The jaggedness principle says all of us have multiple dimensions of strengths and weaknesses that are weakly related to each other. Therefore, we should not simply regard these two people as average because it may prevent us from seeing their unique strengths. Also, we cannot assume that each person will perform at the same level in all situations and that another person with a higher IQ would perform better in every dimension.

Chart comparing same IQ score of 2 individuals with different characteristics

Jaggedness” as it applies to IQ. (Mary Jo Madda)

Which person shows a more contrasted profile of mental strengths and weaknesses?

Whose neurodivergence deviates more from a constructed “average?”

Various studies show that successful work teams have members with complementary strengths and weaknesses. Namely, one person’s strength is another’s weakness. The person on the right who faces challenges with vocabulary can perform better than expected when provided with a supportive colleague or literacy tool. Such supports will make it easier to arrive at goals with symbol searching ability. When we think of competitive sports, teams are composed of players with complementary talent profiles for a reason.

Companies that respect the jaggedness principle allow employees to use their strengths to meet objectives set out for them, perform their roles optimally, and produce high-quality work. As a result, companies can hire and retain a more comprehensive array of high-performance employees. To illustrate, JPMorgan Chase, DXC Technology, Ernst and Young, and other autism-friendly companies like SAP and Microsoft reported employees who were 48% more accurate and 92% more productive, and 30% more effective than their counterparts. Let us follow their example.

To learn more about the new RethinkCare platform, request a demo.

Share with your community

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Sign up for our Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter on the latest industry updates, Rethink happenings, and resources galore. Simply follow the link to the footer and enter your email.

Related Resources

NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — RethinkFirst, the leading software and solutions provider in behavioral health, today...
Podcast
  About this Podcast Episode On this episode, Angela and Kristin discuss setting realistic expectations...
NEW YORK, Oct. 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — RethinkFirst, the leading software and solutions provider in...

Learn more about Rethink

African American male and Caucasian woman working on laptop drinking coffee
RethinkCare logo

Take care of your people with RethinkCare’s evidenced-based solutions that support the well-being your entire employee base in all aspect of their lives - from personal to parenting, and professional

For Employers ›
School learning with diverse middle school students
RethinkEd logo

Build strong school communities and healthy, safe learning environments for all your students with RethinkEd’s evidence-based strategies and technology solutions across SEL, Special Ed, Behavioral & Training

For Educators >
Doctor helping girl with psycho pedagogical intervention
RethinkBH For Providers logo

Start, grow and manage your practice with Rethink’s workflow automation and evidenced-based clinical best practice tools that help you optimize outcomes and operations

For Providers >
African American women talking while seated
RethinkBH For Health Plans logo

Support your members and your provider networks with Rethink’s solutions that support autism care management across your network while offering unique value-added services to your members.

For Health Plans >
logo rethinkfirst white

Together We’re Powering Potential

Transforming the Behavioral Health landscape requires scalable platforms that address a broad range of mental, emotional, and wellness needs. At Rethink First we are proud to work across the continuum of care to help individuals and the people they care about live healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives.

New call-to-action

The leading behavioral and mental health enterprise platform to support working parents, caregivers and their families.

For Employers ›
New call-to-action

Award-winning solutions empower districts and their educators to improve outcomes and wellness for all tiers of students and to build healthy and safe learning environments.

For Educators >
New call-to-action

Fully integrated workflow automation and evidenced-based clinical tools help behavioral health organizations optimize outcomes and operations.

For Providers >
New call-to-action

Patent-pending clinical solutions and member engagement services streamline autism care management processes and support outcomes for health plans, providers, and members.

For Health Plans >