4 workplace personality types and how to manage them
The workplace often comprises of a colourful, diverse and at times challenging fusion of personality types. Some may possess the natural ability to lead yet are reluctant to learn and grow, while others have the desire to learn, yet lack confidence and assertiveness in project management.
We take a look at 4 different workplace personality types, and how to interact with them in ways that will motivate them to contribute to your organisation in a meaningful and innovative capacity.
1. The Introvert
What introverts may lack in social confidence, they make up for in integrity, dedication and practical logic. Although they may be quiet and sensitive in nature, they also possess great one-on-one social skills, even if their desire to communicate may not be easily detectable at first. Their downfall is that they are reluctant to change – particularly when it involves working directly alongside large groups of individuals or adapting to office or team restructures.
Therefore, when office or team changes inevitably occur, they need to be eased into accepting these changes. Introverts generally prefer working alone, and as such tend to replicate this behaviour within their environments. One way that businesses could accommodate this character type is by allowing them to work from home or removing distractions within the office and allowing employees to work through projects without too much interaction.
Given their quietly empathetic and observant nature, introverts gain tremendous amounts of satisfaction from helping others, and although they value their peace and quiet, they should be placed within an inclusive setting where they are accessible and able to assist those around them.
2. The Perfectionist
There are two types of perfectionists - the adaptive and the mal-adaptive. Although both types possess similar traits in showing a continuous desire to improve, which can be a huge asset for themselves, their team and the business, there are key differences in attitude that need to be taken into consideration when managing them.
- Adaptive perfectionists: Although these individuals have high standards and tend to be keenly aware of their perfectionism, they have a positive attitude towards an unpredictable challenge that may present itself, without judging themselves too severely in the process because they know where to draw the line to ensure that they get the best results for their clients and themselves, but without spending too much time second-guessing their projects so as to be counter-productive.
- Mal-adaptive perfectionists: While this personality type possesses strong traits such as accuracy and attention to detail, they often struggle to find the good in their own work, or that of others, and can be highly critical. Mal-adaptive perfectionists have a fear of failure which drives them to re-do tasks over and over again. Their anxiety that their work isn’t good enough often places undue stress and pressure on those working with them, which can be detrimental to productivity. Managers need to support and guide mal-adaptive perfectionists in directing their energy towards delivering results rather than wasting too much time being self critical. This can be done through making them self aware of the cost implications of their hesitance to sign off projects, and how it is perfectly acceptable to learn from mistakes and improve. However, it’s important to be sensitive and empathetic when communicating these guidelines to them.
One thing you can know for certain is that you can always rely on any perfectionist to be thorough and accurate when undertaking a task. This trait, if utilised correctly, will ensure that you can trust any project you bestow upon them to be in safe hands!
3. The Daydreamer
Most managers will have somebody in their team who is brilliant one moment and perhaps a bit absent-minded the next. A day-dreamer’s productivity drops quickly when they are distracted, so they are well-suited to positions that ensure regular change or different challenges. Of all the personality types, day-dreamers can be the most challenging to manage, as it’s difficult to keep them on track without constantly micro-managing them.
The best way to manage this is to give them a task to work on alongside somebody with more focus, as a day-dreamer will often try to please the person with whom they are working, thus increasing their motivation. Wherever possible, give them flexibility around the tasks they choose and the time of day they can work on them.
The benefits of having a daydreamer in your team include less linear thinking and more creative ideas, as they are often confident individuals who are happy to share their ideas, helping other team members to build on the stimulus. It’s also important to note that day-dreamers in creative roles often get most of their inspiration and ideas from outside the office and even the distractions they encounter whilst undertaking a project. For this reason, aim to implement a results-driven model, whereby you manage their results rather than the means they use to deliver them – i.e. strict deadlines that must be delivered.
4. The Analytic
In general, analytical people tend to be driven by a need for detail and information often supported by data. They will opt for logic over emotion, and will always look for rationalisation over their decisions. Their skills lie in problem solving, so they are well-suited to roles which give them the opportunity to use these skills regularly. They can add great strength to a team by providing a levelling opinion, and critically interrogating plans and ideas to ensure ideas are sound. Many analytics are very straightforward and honest, which can be refreshing in a business environment!
On the downside, such a drive for detail can make it difficult to make decisions. Sometimes analytics can lose the ability to see the ‘wood for the trees’ and want to examine all possibilities. They can also be very habitual and resistant to change, which can present teams with problems when working in a progressive environment.
Analytics tend to work the least well with creatives, as they seek to solve problems quickly, while a creative person may struggle not to veer off on a tangent. Therefore, when managing teams, HR and managers need to work together to consider the personality mixes and how they fit together. One way of doing this would be to encourage adoption of a learning culture by defining success as raising the bar, thus seeking a measurable increase on the emergence of deep thinking across the organisation in a way that champions collaboration and sharing of knowledge between all parties.
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