How To Understand Different Workplace Personalities

By Connor Barry on June 6, 2022

Key Points:

  • Every work environment should have a diverse group of people with different personalities.
  • Remaining open-minded and collaborative allows you to better problem solve with different personalities.
  • Some companies will administer various personality tests that you can use to understand your coworkers better.

No matter where you work or your role, you’ll likely work with various people with different perspectives than yours. Therefore, it’s essential to keep an open mind and understand how your team members work and think for a collaborative and conflict-free work environment. There are various ways of understanding the different personalities in your office and ways to handle your differences.

Personality Tests

Before working with a new team member, see if the company administered any personality tests. Typically, most businesses will request a candidate to take a personality test before or after accepting the offer, which allows the company to understand how the person will impact the team. Whether aptitude tests, self-report questionnaires, or scenario-based tests, each test is based on figuring out different character traits and how they will blend with others in the business. Not only does it help companies understand competence, work ethic, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, etc., but it also helps companies figure out how to best use their employees’ strengths in working together. Some of the tests you may have heard of include Myers-Briggs Type IndicatorDISC ProfileStrengths Finders, and Caliper Profile. These tests will help you better understand their work style and how they problem-solve.

Work Styles

Every person has a different style of working. So much so that there are various books written on the matter, including Business Chemistry: Practical Magic for Crafting Powerful Work Relationships. According to the coauthor, Kim Christfort, a few working styles can affect whether you’ll get along with another coworker; there are pioneers, drivers, guardians, and integrators. Sometimes individuals can be a mix of both. So if you feel that there is work tension with a coworker about the execution of a project, it’s more than likely a difference in work style. Try to understand your coworker’s working style, communicate your working style with them, and find a way to work together. Below is a short description of each of the four work styles outlined in Business Chemistry.

  • Pioneers: This work style is about the bigger picture and doesn’t like to get bogged down in the detailed tasks. Complex processes and structure halt the Pioneer’s creativity.
  • Guardians: Enjoy clear expectations and roles and frequently likes to work autonomously. Preparation is critical for this work style!
  • Drivers: They are straightforward and want clear metrics to measure against. Plans and structure are ideal for the Drivers work style.
  • Integrators: Connection with their team is essential to an Integrator as they feel a supportive environment is a key to success.

It’s Not Personal; It’s Business

It’s crucial to understand that disagreements on projects in the workplace are not personal attacks. When working within a group that you don’t see eye-to-eye, make a point to understand their perspective and validate their viewpoint on the subject. Afterward, share your point of view and work together to find a solution that incorporates you both. Diverse backgrounds and experiences help develop creative problem-solving skills. So, ensure that different work styles are represented on each work project. Each individual can hone in on their strengths and confidently own their portion of the project. Overall it’s about problem-solving and working together, rather than who is right and who is wrong.

If you’re looking for more articles like this, see our other articles like How To Handle Difficult Conversations In The Workplace.

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