The Short Guide to Managing Different Personality Types

Introverts versus extroverts. Thinkers versus feelers. Type As versus Type Bs. Drivers versus amiables. This list of personality dichotomies goes on.

In the workplace, and everywhere else, some personalities work better together than others. That’s just the way it is. Sometimes, opposite personalities attract and develop a good working relationship. Other times, similar personalities gravitate toward each other to produce great results.

So how can you cultivate an environment in which all people, no matter the personality type, are united toward a common business goal?

Here’s my short guide to managing different personality types in the workplace:

1. Invest in a personality workshop.

Nothing beats bringing in a seasoned personality expert to lead your team in a half-day training. A few years ago, we invited a consultant to teach the Copart Marketing Team about the DiSC profiles. Afterward, the team reported a better understanding of their peers — and how to better work with personality types like and unlike their own.

2. Respect your team members’ unique differences.

From the results-oriented problem solver, to the life of the party people-pleaser, and the peace-making team player, to the detail-oriented perfectionist, acknowledging and appreciating the differences among your team will go a long way in helping you be a successful leader. It will also help you groom your employees into true team players.

3. Look for opportunities to help your team members grow.

Although it’s important to acknowledge and respect differences, it’s also important to find ways to help each of your team members grow, both personally and professionally. This means taking people out of their comfort zones and pushing them past any self-imposed limitations. Personality should never be a justification for maintaining the status quo.

4. Recognize and reward according to personality type.

Along the lines of respecting unique differences is ensuring that the recognition you give your team members jives with their individual personality types. Some of your employees may crave effusive verbal praise. Others would prefer a simple thank-you note quietly slipped under their keyboard. Seek to discover how to best reward your team members according to their unique personalities.

Being able to effectively manage different personalities requires you to first understand the nuances of different personality types. Then, you (or a certified personality professional) can enlighten your team so that they understand, and come to respect, the beauty of individual personalities as well.

Further reading on personality types:

DiSC Overview
The Myers & Briggs Foundation