Unlocking Team and Leadership Potential through FIRO Certification

Posted 11 August 2023 by
Melissa Summer and Kevin Wood, The Myers-Briggs Company

4 min. read

In the ever-evolving landscape of HR and training and development, organizations are recognizing the significance of assessments in unlocking individual and team potential.

Among these assessments, the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation™ (FIRO®) assessment stands out as a powerful tool for team development and leadership growth. To fully harness the benefits of the FIRO assessment, HR professionals and trainers should look into getting certified to administer and interpret the FIRO assessment. 

Here’re some of the reasons why FIRO certification empowers professionals to maximize the impact of team and leadership development:

Created to improve team efficiency in high-stress environments

Let’s start with where the FIRO assessment came from: The US Navy hired psychologist Dr. William Schutz to create a tool that would help their teams work most effectively, even when they were in high-stress, war time situations where wrong decisions could cost people their lives.

Watch the FIRO explainer video.

He conducted research around what motivates people in their interactions with others, and what people needed from each other in order to work together best. From his research, the FIRO-B and FIRO Business tools were born. 

In-depth understanding of FIRO concepts & leadership development

FIRO assessments delve into fundamental interpersonal needs, shedding light on how individuals approach Inclusion, Control, and Affection in their interactions with others.

Obtaining FIRO certification equips HR and training professionals with an in-depth understanding of the FIRO model and its concepts. By grasping the intricacies of the assessment, certified individuals can interpret results accurately and offer valuable insights to team members and leaders alike. This heightened understanding enables them to customize development programs, ensuring targeted interventions that address specific areas of growth.

Leadership development is a crucial aspect of organizational growth, and FIRO certification plays a pivotal role in empowering HR professionals to design impactful leadership programs. By understanding the FIRO assessment's relevance to leadership styles, certified individuals can identify potential leadership candidates, personalize development plans based on their interpersonal needs, and nurture essential leadership qualities such as empathy, collaboration, and adaptability.

Want to see how you could use the FIRO tool for executive leadership teams? CEO Jeff Hayes talks about the use of the FIRO assessment within his executive leadership team in this video

Tailored team development strategies

With FIRO certification, professionals can craft tailored team development strategies that leverage the insights from individual assessments. Understanding team members' interpersonal preferences empowers HR and training experts to coach teams toward better interactions, strengthening the team's ability to navigate conflicts, delegate responsibilities, and achieve collective goals. 

FIRO-based team development fosters an inclusive and supportive environment, where each team member's contributions are valued, leading to increased engagement and satisfaction.

Learn more in this video as Dr. Koonz explains what you can do with the FIRO tool.

Increasing inclusion in teams and organizations

In the world of hybrid work and an emphasis on the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion, the FIRO tool can help managers and individuals recognize some of their behaviors around inclusion, as well as how much they themselves may want to be included and how much their behaviors show others that the individual wants to include them.

Learn more about the FIRO and inclusion

Skillful interpretation of assessment results

FIRO certification provides HR and training professionals with the expertise to interpret assessment results with precision and sensitivity. Armed with this knowledge, they can effectively guide team members and leaders through their FIRO profiles, helping them comprehend their interpersonal needs, and uncover hidden strengths and challenges. 

Skilled interpretation not only fosters self-awareness but also encourages open discussions among team members, paving the way for enhanced communication, collaboration, and overall team performance.

Learn more about the FIRO Certification Program.  

Educating others on the benefits of FIRO certification

While you may be ready to get FIRO certified, your manager or others may not be convinced of the benefits to the organization yet.

Below is a sample letter that you can copy and tailor to fit your needs if you’d like to share with others the many benefits that using the FIRO assessment can bring to your leaders, your teams, and your company.



Re: FIRO Certification Program

I’ve been thinking about our in-house training and development programs, especially regarding our strategic priority of [insert specific topic from organization’s people-development strategy].

Could I recommend a resource to help us achieve these goals?

It’s the FIRO® (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation) assessment—a personality assessment that focuses on the way people interact. 

First devised by Dr William Schutz in the 1950s to help US Navy submarine crews work better together, it’s now used by organizations for improving relations between team members and helping leaders find the best management style with their direct reports.

Here’s some information and a short video

To be able to use the FIRO assessment, we’d need to hire a certified practitioner or get a/an [insert name of organization] employee certified to administer it. 

I’d very much like to be considered for attending FIRO certification and becoming the FIRO practitioner within [insert name of organization], please.  

If this was approved, we’d be able to use the FIRO assessment in team and leadership development programs in the short and long term. This will:

On a personal note, I’d be thrilled to use this certification to help [insert name of organization] achieve our goals and continue my own career development. 

The next available dates are [insert next two available dates]. 

What do you think? Could we meet to discuss this?

Kind regards,

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