10 Workplace Personalities (And How To Work With Each)
Updated February 28, 2023
There are many types of people who make up a workplace staff, and different employees have unique personalities along with differing strengths and weaknesses. It's important to understand the distinct personality types that staff may have and how to get the most from each type. An effective office also needs to incorporate staff with unique personality types efficiently to encourage teamwork and increase staff morale.
In this article, we discuss the different workplace personalities and offer tips on how to work with each effectively.
What is a workplace personality type?
Workplace personality types are a way of classifying staff to better match your approach to them to their needs as an employee or coworker. While no two people are exactly alike, and most employees will have some elements that fit into multiple categories, understanding broad personality types and how to get the most out of each can provide a template for working with your staff to make them happy and effective.
Related: Personality Assessments for Jobs
Why is it important to understand workplace personalities?
Employees with different workplace personalities may have substantially different approaches to work, including their preferences in how they're treated or assigned work to how they treat others and approach their assignments.
The more you can understand the distinct personality types in your office, the more accurately you can tailor the way you approach daily operations to match your staff members. Understanding workplace personalities and tailoring your approach to each personality can help make employees more likely to remain at your company, improving employee retention.
10 workplace personality types
There are many types of personalities that may exist within your staff, and each employee possesses their own unique characteristics that affect how they operate. Using workplace personality categories may be an effective way to make broad assessments of your staff members, however, and may provide a framework you can customize to get the best results from each employee. These are some of the most common workplace personalities:
1. The analyst
An analyst is a neat and organized employee, who prefers to work within a designated structure. They have determined their best working methods and like to maintain them. Consistency is important to an analyst and unannounced changes that disrupt their ideal approach to the day may cause conflict.
When working with an analyst, it's important to discuss any changes to their routine in advance. By providing advanced notification before any modifications of their responsibilities or procedures, you provide time for the analyst to determine their preferred approach to accommodating the changes, so it can be minimally disruptive.
Related: All About the INTJ Personality Type
2. The climber
A climber is an ambitious member of the team who is often eager to advance their career as quickly as possible. This can be beneficial around the office, as they are often willing to take on additional work in order to make a positive impression. It may be important to monitor other staff members' reactions to a climber to ensure they are not generating discomfort from other employees who may feel the climber is too self-interested.
While employing a climber can be beneficial to the company when they pursue their advancement ethically, it is also important to monitor how the climber is attempting to go above and beyond expectations so that they don't undercut other employees, which can lead to conflict that may harm overall productivity.
3. The illusionist
Identifying an illusionist requires you to be diligent and observant of your staff, as their goal is to portray themselves as a preferable personality type. An illusionist excels at making it appear that their contributions to a project are larger than is actually the case, by giving their responsibilities to others and seeking shortcuts with their own work, then claiming responsibility for the final product.
Having an illusionist on your staff can damage morale, as other employees may have to work harder to pick up the extra work. By tracking the work each employee is doing, you can identify when a staff member is not doing their fair share and attempting to shield that fact. By addressing this and improving their performance, or removing them from the staff, you can maintain overall happiness for your staff and raise performance levels.
4. The individualist
Individualists are at their best when given the freedom to pursue a project on their own. Even if an individualist is working as a part of a team, they will often prefer to handle their specific responsibilities in their own way. Individualists also often prefer a hands-off approach to management, allowing them to work how they prefer and you to judge them based on the results of their work.
An individualist who understands how they operate at their best can be a tremendous asset to a company, as they deliver high-quality work without requiring a great deal of management's time. If an employee prefers working solo but their results are not meeting standards, you may offer closer oversight or time working alongside a more experienced staff member to help them develop their skills until they can meet your standards with their preferred approach.
Related: Best Careers for ENFP Personalities
5. The motivator
A motivator is a high-energy employee who often considers themselves a leader. They believe in pushing themselves and others to accomplish as much work as possible. Sometimes this can lead to the motivator overstepping boundaries and offering motivation the recipient did not ask for and does not believe is helpful.
It's important to manage a motivator carefully, but they can be extremely helpful. While it's important to make sure other staff are not being pushed too far out of their comfort zone, the motivator can be helpful in increasing the productivity of their coworkers.
6. The people-pleaser
A people pleaser puts a priority on being liked by as many people as possible. Within the workplace, this may mean the people-pleaser may help others regardless of how much work they have of their own. This can be beneficial, as it can generate positive relationships and allow them to help other staff, but it can also have detrimental effects if they take on too much, are overly insistent when coworkers do not need help or avoid addressing an issue because they don't want to cause a problem.
It's important to monitor how a people-pleaser interacts with other staff. If there are potential problems that the people-pleaser does not want to address for fear of upsetting another employee, it can allow the problem to grow into a larger issue. If you note that a people-pleaser is taking on too many responsibilities or encroaching on another employee's comfort zone while trying to help, having a private conversation explaining why they should be less obtrusive can keep all parties happy.
Related: 12 Types of Workplace Behaviors
7. The perfectionist
Perfectionists aim to deliver their best possible work at all times. This often means they show an acute attention to detail and can deliver impressive final products. However, focusing too much on perfection can lead to delays in delivery if their time management is not excellent, and their high standards may also cause unease for other staff if the perfectionist is obtrusive into their fellow employees' work and responsibilities.
When your staff includes a perfectionist, it's important to monitor them to make sure they do not unnecessarily pressure themselves and others. Offering positive reinforcement on projects can help put a perfectionist at ease, but you may need to address directly the value of understanding when a project doesn't need further work in order to help them find an ideal balance of quality and speed.
8. The performer
A performer is an employee who loves to be the center of attention around the office. They are often very talkative and quick to advertise their contributions when discussing a project. They often will also seek to garner attention in non-work conversations. The performer may be one of the more popular members of the staff, as they are often very gregarious, however, there is potential for some staff to be put off by their personality and talkative nature.
So long as a performer is maintaining positive relationships with other employees, they do not need specific instruction regarding their outgoing personality. If your performer's actions are causing tension among other employees, you may choose to speak with the performer about showing some restraint.
9. The worrier
If your office has a worrier, you'll recognize them as someone who often appears anxious about the work they are delivering. A worrier requires consistent validation to assure them they are meeting expectations and delivering satisfactory results.
When you identify a potential worrier on your staff, it's important to work to build their confidence. As a worrier reduces their anxiety, they may become more independent and produce higher quality work without second-guessing their actions.
Related: All About the INFJ Personality Type
10. The upward worker
An upward worker is an employee who has atypical behavior when interacting with staff who outrank them as opposed to their peers or employees who work at a lower level than them. When talking with senior staff, an upward worker behaves much like a people-pleaser, while interactions with others on staff may resemble a personality type like the motivator or the perfectionist, offering advice and criticism freely.
Often an upward worker can present problems for staff morale, with their peers feeling like the upward worker mistreats them, while the upward worker is also trying to curry preferential treatment. If you notice an upward worker, it's important to discuss the matter with them promptly to curtail the behavior and stress the importance of respecting everyone.
Tips for integrating personalities at your workplace
Here are some tips to help you get the most from integrating personalities in your workplace:
Get to know everyone on your staff to identify their broader personality types and individual traits that make them unique.
Set your employees up for success by allocating work to staff that aligns with their strengths.
Build teams that will work well together, such as splitting up two motivators so each can take lead on their own project team.
Serve as an impartial mediator when disputes occur to find compromise solutions between clashing personality types.
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