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blog | March 02, 2018

7 Types of Work Personalities (And How to Effectively Manage Each of Them)

As any manager knows, the workplace is full of individuals with a vast range of work personalities, and there’s certainly no one way to manage them. Each employee requires...

By Wayne Wedell

As any manager knows, the workplace is full of individuals with a vast range of work personalities, and there’s certainly no one way to manage them. Each employee requires a unique leadership strategy, and it’s up to you to figure that out. Take a look at 7 of the most common types of personalities you’ll run into in the office, and learn how to effectively manage each of them.

The Wallflower

Wallflowers are the introverts, or the individuals who prefer to be alone rather than in a group setting. Though some do aspire to take on leadership roles, many are comfortable doing their work in solace and leaving without having socialized much. Some wallflowers are hard workers, while others can get a little too comfortable in their quiet workspace and lose productivity.

For the most introverted workers in the office, providing a quiet, productive workspace will help raise their output. In addition, conference rooms and offices designated for low-key workers can be a helpful retreat for the wallflower in your office who’s starting to feel overwhelmed by a hyper-social environment.

The Achiever 

There’s always a couple of these workers. The achiever is someone who strives for excellence in everything that they do. They’re likely organized, reliable, and consistent in their work performance. It’s usually very easy to distinguish the achiever from other employees due to their strong work ethic.

Achievers won’t need as much supervision as other work personalities; in some cases, they work better on their own. Provide opportunities for them to advance their goals, encourage their opinions during team meetings, and push them with challenging roles and projects.

The Underachiever

Unlike achievers, underachievers are the workers who initially started out as an achiever but somehow fell into a slump. They have the skills and ability to get the job done well, they just do the work necessary to get by without punishment. They may socialize more than they work, but tend not to cause any workplace problems due to their low impact.

Make them want to get back to work. Many underachievers in the workplace have a lot of potential; they just haven’t been able to tap into the motivation needed to succeed. As a manager, it’s your job to bring these individuals back up to par; motivate them, inspire them, and get them excited about their work.

The Narcissist  

The opposite of a team player, the narcissist works best alone. Narcissists can be some of the hardest-working members of your team, but they can burn a lot of bridges along the way. These employees have no problem pushing past other members of the team in order to accomplish their goals, and are rarely seen outside of office hours.

To help create a healthier work environment, encourage the narcissists in your office to slowly interact more positively with other team members. Understand that they’re more productive on their own, but remind them that everyone is there for the same goal. While they don’t necessarily need to join in on the team culture, they do need to respect it.

The Energizer  

Highly engaged and always ready to participate in team activities, the energizer is the life of the party. These workers are always coming up with new ideas and extracurricular activities to partake in; unfortunately, their enthusiasm can often distract them from their main job objectives and responsibilities. They also tend to be gossipers and may get frustrated when other workers don’t share their interest level.

To be managed effectively, the energizer will need to have someone keeping them focused on the tasks at hand. Since their mind is always rushing towards innovation and team morale, it’s imperative to keep them in line with their basic job responsibilities, while also encouraging and recognizing their forward-thinking mind.

The Optimist  

The optimist is the person that everyone vents to. They’re always willing to lend a shoulder to cry on and know exactly how to empathize. This worker will likely be social and a great mentor for new employees unfamiliar with the work environment. Optimists might also ignore the reality of a situation and provide a dishonest, fluffed-up outlook.

Consider placing the optimist of your office with individuals who are more cynical or realistic in nature, such as the analyst or the narcissist. Too much optimism towards a project can be blinding, so these workers will need to be kept in check from time to time. Allow them to share their positivity, but remind them of the sometimes-harsh realities of doing business.

The Analyst

Much like the wallflower, the analyst is someone who prefers to do their work from behind a veil. Not usually the life of the party, analysts work best in positions that deal with data and metrics. These employees are steady, persistent, and produce quality work without needing a lot of recognition. Their work may take a little longer than others to complete, but don’t expect to find many mistakes, if any.

In order for analysts to succeed, they need to be put in positions that are data-driven. Create a workspace that’s remote but offer room for collaboration as well. Analysts often excel at double-checking and finding flaws, so allow them to hone in on their accuracy and attention to detail.

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