The workplace is full of many things — staplers, mostly-full coffee cups, sticky notes that people sort-of use — but it is not full of robots. Employees come in all shapes and sizes, and each one has their own style and flair that they bring to work and that impacts how they want to be treated.
To be an effective manager, it’s important to know the different work personality types in your organization. Just like knowing your own Meyers-Briggs type or Enneagram number, it will help you understand how your team members work best with others and what enables them to be the most productive. Each type requires a unique approach when it comes to leading and managing.
Power up your workday
Reach your goals faster with time tracking and work management.
Types of employee personalities in the workplace
1. The analyst
This is the type of person who thinks practically and makes logical decisions. In the workplace, even if they have limited experience, they know how to problem-solve even the most complex issues and get the results your team needs with limited effort. They’re not perfect and make mistakes like anyone, but the analyst is really good at learning when they fail and surpassing expectations the next time around.
To best manage an analyst, it’s a good idea to give them space as they work but to make sure you’re challenging them as they go along. It’s easy for analysts to become bored at work, so making sure you’re keeping them busy is essential. Analysts also make great managers and can even advance up the ladder as they grow.
Recommended roles: Accounts, quality control, businesses analyst
2. The cheerleader
We all know a cheerleader. They’re the first to volunteer, last to speak, and the most active person on the random company Slack threads. While they appear to be a bit over-enthusiastic and opinionated on the surface, they never fail to be consistent, reliable, positive, and organized. They turn in work before it’s due and represent your company the way you wish everyone else did.
They’re the model student of the business. This is why they often turn out to be great leaders. Their energetic and contagious attitude towards every part of life seeps into everything they do. If you take the time to get to know them, odds are, they will end up being one of your closest friends.
To best manage a cheerleader, just be sure to supervise them enough — at a distance, though. They don’t need a lot of management, but you may have to step in from time to time to let them know they’re going a bit too far.
Recommended roles: Operations manager, marketing manager, sales
3. The silent tornado
Sometimes, the best ideas come from the quietest of people. The silent tornado is just that — a force of nature often overlooked in a professional atmosphere because of their quiet demeanor. Their insecurity is their biggest hurdle, as it causes them to second guess everything they do.
But, if you give them the extra encouragement they need, the silent tornado won’t fail to excel at whatever they do. Frequently, they just need to be given their moment of the spotlight to voice their ideas and know they have the time and space to process information the way they need to.
To best manage a silent tornado, ensure they have a safe, quiet space for them to work. Give them enough freedom to work at their own pace and encourage them to share their ideas whenever possible.
Recommended roles: Creative team member, field researcher, HR
Easily manage your unique team
Time and team management that's customizable for each person.
4. The hype man and woman
When you have a hype woman on your team, you know projects will always be exciting. The hype man and hopy woman are overly ambitious energy machines. They tend to have almost too many hobbies and, in the workplace, like having numerous projects going at once. If their time isn’t being spent on something work-related, you can bet they’re researching a topic that’s been on their mind for the past few days.
While they share some qualities with the cheerleader, they differ in the fact that the hype man and woman tends to get distracted very easily. Because they’re so full of energy, they tend to need a bit more direction to know where they should be going and what they should be doing.
The best way to manage them is by giving them enough direction. These people are typically not suited for leadership roles since they have numerous irons in the fire at one time and prefer to be in a more fire-from-the-hip kind of role.
Recommended roles: Creative direction, design work, client relations, sales
5. The thinker
Not unlike the statue itself, the thinker spends a lot of time pondering and considering ideas while at work. Unlike the statue, though, the thinker is a great worker, with the caveat that it may take a little longer to see their results. Typically not the biggest talkers, the thinker likes to spend more time with data and metrics over small talk with colleagues. You can bet that whatever they’re working on will be exactly what you asked for once they’re done thinking it through.
To best manage a thinker, put them in a place where they’ll be dealing with mostly facts and figures. They easily succeed in a remote environment, but do also need some collaboration to thrive.
Recommended roles: Development, IT, strategic planning
6. The forest fire
This is one to be wary of. A forest fire is a talented and hard-working individual that knows precisely what they want and is willing to do anything to make sure it happens. As a result, they’re more likely to not play well with others to get there, burning down bridges to move up the ranks.
This isn’t to say that they’re not a valuable asset, though. If managed well, a forest fire can aim its intense power towards their work and produce amazing results for your business. But, be mindful that their intentions are typically self-serving in the end.
To best manage a forest fire, find a way to make sure they’re interacting with those in the workplace in a positive way. They’ll typically work best on their own, but make sure to keep them in-line and aware that your business operates as a team.
Recommended roles: Purchasing manager, Brand rep, VP
How to encourage different personalities to work together
Once you’ve got the management thing down, now you need to figure out how to encourage your unique team to work together. Sometimes teams just totally mesh and are entirely in sync while others only butt heads.
Here are a few quick ways you can encourage your team members to work together, regardless of what kind of personality type they are.
1. Dedicate some time to hiring
First, make sure you hire the right people by personality type to make sure they fit into the team. Successful onboarding of new hires is also important.
2. Emphasize the team over the individual
When tensions rise, it can often be hard to remember what your team’s common goal is. It’s best to remind them that everyone on the team (including yourself) are all working towards the same thing. A great way to do this is to be transparent with the team about the business.
Share updates on projects and congratulate the team for completing ongoing tasks. It’s also a good idea to share benchmarks with the team. This will encourage them to work together to meet defined goals as a unit, not as individuals.
3. Play to their strengths
No one person (other than Chuck Norris) is perfect. While someone on your team might be fantastic at presentations, it doesn’t mean that they should also be tasked with planning and budgeting. Use everyone for their top skills. Additionally, encourage your teammates to do the same.
If someone needs help with expensing something, direct them to the person who knows all about it. If someone else wants to design a poster for an office party, point them towards the woman who’s great at design.
4. Understand their motivations
Every person has different things that will motivate them. For example, while someone in the office may be motivated by the need for tacos “right now”, another may be motivated by a simple desire to just do a good job. Understanding your team’s motivations are key to leading them well.
A great way to figure this out is to simply talk to them. If you have one-on-ones with your staff, ask them what they like most about their job. Try to learn what gets them out of bed every morning and what matters most to them in life.
Everyone works differently and needs different ways of interacting with the team. Be sure you’re giving them tools like Slack so that they can communicate with each other no matter where they’re working. This is especially important if you manage a remote team, as your team’s culture will be entirely digital.
5. Be ready to take action
When you put different kinds of people together, blowups are inevitable. Yes, most of them can be avoided, but just because you all do daily meditation time together doesn’t mean your team is perfect.
As a manager, you need to be ready for this to happen. Be willing and able to step in and professionally diffuse tension. Office conflicts don’t tend to resolve themselves, so it’s essential to handle them the second they arise.
When mediating, make sure to hear each side out as an unbiased third party. Don’t take sides and don’t tell one or the other that they are in the right. Simply hear them out and come up with a course of action for each person to take to ensure workplace peace. They don’t have to love each other, simply work well together.