How to manage 3 personalities in your office environment


By liamarus, 19 September, 2013

Looking around any company, you will encounter many different people. With some, you will get on like a house on fire.  With others, you will constantly clash, but even at these moments, you need to acknowledge that it takes a variety of personalities for a company to be successful.  

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to managing the array of personalities in the workplace. But pin-pointing the types of personalities and adapting your management style accordingly can bring out the best in your team.

3 Recognisable personality types and how to manage them

1.    The Workhorse

The workhorse is the person you can rely on to get the job done. They put their heads down and you will see them again when the task is complete. They consistently go the extra mile to produce excellent work and their work ethic is extremely valuable to the team. Although they will become impatient with other personality types, their drive can motivate other team members to put more effort into their work.  

Their quiet nature often means they are placed in supporting roles and overlooked for promotions or other developmental opportunities. They probably won’t raise the issue but will feel the injustice of this as they believe that their hard work should speak for itself.   

As they are not likely to make a noise about how stressed they are, managers may give them many tasks and responsibilities, believing they can handle it when, in fact, this is just compounding the pressure.

Managers need to keep a close eye on the workhorse’s workload, ensuring that it is realistic while providing them with opportunities that will force them to work with others, take on leadership roles and develop their interpersonal skills so that they can become more noticed in the workplace.

2.    The Creative

The creative person embraces the bigger picture.  They think out of the box and can invent new strategies.  Their ideas are often contagious and they can inspire others to think in an innovative way.  

Creatives are also open to other people’s ideas and are great team players.  They think visually and have a clear picture of the end result, but may have trouble planning the practical steps to bring this about.  

Managing the creative requires a fine balance.  They need to be brought down to reality but beware that it is not done in such a way that it demotivates them:

  • Creatives become easily discouraged and so if they feel their contributions are constantly being met with a negative reaction, they will stop contributing altogether. Without their creative outlet, other aspects of their work may begin to suffer.

Be open to their ideas and guide their thinking along a practical route by asking how they suggest their ideas work within the constraints. Their creative thinking will probably mean they have hidden problem-solving abilities and with the right guidance, this ability may come to light.

3.    The Smooth Talker

The smooth talker is the person who is the extrovert and the one you will hear before you see. They are the ones who contribute in meetings and are great at getting others to buy into an idea. The smooth talker is a people person who enjoys forming relationships: their relationship focus means that their work ethic may suffer and while they are likely to make promises they cannot deliver on, they will also be able to talk themselves out of any bad situation.  

Managing the smooth talker can be difficult because you can find yourself won over by them. Managers need to be aware of exactly what the strengths and weaknesses of their smooth talkers are and take steps to ensure they meet their deadlines and take responsibility for their actions. Although the smooth talker may need to be reigned in, remember that their sales abilities are an advantage to the team so do not restrict them to the point that they feel stifled. They know many people and will easily be able to jump ship.

What helps a smooth talker is to give them a very clear goal. Explain that their natural leadership qualities will make them great managers but to get there, they need to achieve certain work ethic objectives.

by Kay Vittee

This article first appeared on HR Pulse.