Workplace personality types categorise staff into broad personality groups based on behavioural tendencies, communication styles, along with strengths and weaknesses. Understanding this is key to facilitate workplace high achieving workplace communication and collaboration.
What is a workplace personality type - Workplace personality types categorize staff into broad personality groups based on various behavioural tendencies at work.
Workplace personality types - The four types are: the analyst, the driver, the mentor, and the broker.
The strength and weakness of each - Analysts excel in problem-solving but can be too independent, ambiguous drivers can appear insensitive, friendly mentors might struggle as a people-pleaser, brokers are known for their social skills and can be easily distracted.
How personality type works - 30 years of studies from psychologists have shown personality types are the result of interactions between personality traits.
OCEAN’s relevance in the workplace - OCEAN uses “the big 5” to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of individuals with each trait in the workplace.
Other tests that businesses use - The three most common tests used by businesses are the Myers-Briggs personality test, Enneagram, the Jung personality test, and Clifton Strengths Assessment.
Employee happiness - Employee happiness also plays a significant role for success in teams and businesses.
Our take - Using workplace personality types is a great way for teams to get to know each other, work more effectively, and achieve great things together.
Ever found yourself in quizzes and online tests that claim to measure personality types? Most of these quick tests have very little supporting evidence. Personality traits, however, are proven and studied by psychologists.
The workforce consists of different staff and employees with unique personality traits, along with strengths and weaknesses that vary. When working in teams, being able to understand and distinguish different personalities improves workplace communications and relationships.
Especially with the surge in remote and hybrid working teams, asynchronous communication that relies solely on applications can be difficult. Therefore, mastering effective communication styles can be the gateway to optimising efficiency, building trust, increasing employee satisfaction and staff morale.
This blog will explore the different workplace personality types in the workforce, the theories and studies behind personality typing; along with the strengths and weaknesses associated with each personality trait. Lastly, we'll cover the best ways to collaborate with such individuals for optimising productivity and employee happiness.
Personality types - distinguished from personality traits - refers to the psychological classification of different types of individuals that embody certain tendencies.
Workplace personality types apply the same logistics to classify staff based on their traits and tendencies in workplace related skills and tasks. This is often used to establish a broad management template to best suited specific teams.
Below, are the 4 workplace personality types that broadly generalise the most common characteristics seen in the workplace.
The analyst - “Let’s get the job done and explore all possible options.”
The driver - “Let’s go! Let’s get it done right now!”
The mentor - “Let’s get the job done, but we need to prioritize the people first.”
The broker - “Let’s get the job done, I know who can help with this!”
An analyst is a neat and organized employee. Usually working in designated structures, analysts are typically critical thinkers, logical observers and tactical problem-solvers.
Analysts work best with challenges that require clear organization, discipline and analytical skills.
Stemmed from a strong sense of direction and organization, analysts tend to have little patience for following in others’ footsteps in project settings. Consistency is important for an analyst, hence unannounced changes that disrupt their ideal approach may cause conflict.
When working with an analyst, it's important to discuss changes in advance. By providing advanced notification before modifications, this allows the analyst to understand and accommodate changes - causing minimal disruption.
A driver is a high-energy employee, who considers themselves as a leader. They believe in pushing themselves and others to accomplish objectives in a short timespan.
The go-getter and result driven working style makes the driver a perfect team member to take on challenges and risks while motivating others to do the same.
When managing the driver correctly, they are extremely helpful to boost team morale and improve productivity.
Due to their energetic nature, drivers can also be seen as impatient, insensitive or domineering. Therefore, it’s important to ensure team members are not being pushed too much by the driver for maintaining healthy relationships amongst team members.
Mentors tend to be perceptive and versatile, enabling them to interact effectively with diverse people and cope with sudden changes in projects.
Mentors are equipped with carrying tendencies - group-oriented, friendly and compliant - making them the person personal to build positive relationships and atmospheres in teams.
Mentors may struggle under pressure and may lack toughness in the face of workplace conflict. The downside to mentors being “too caring” are potential cases of “people-pleasers” from fear of upsetting other employees.
While positive atmosphere are good to an extent, with a mentor in the team, it is important to empower them and encourage asking for help.
Most outstanding characteristics of the broker prevail in interpersonal skills. They are often outgoing, innovative, optimistic, enthusiastic and curious.
Their socially skilled and communicative properties make the broker the member in the team who you turn to for making new contacts and maintaining existing relations.
A good broker is a maker of opportunities, an excellent networker, and someone who likes to manage the “big picture”. Accompanied to the vision of the bigger picture, brokers tend to be less detail oriented and lose momentum towards the end of a project.
Communication really is key when it comes to the broker. By encouraging brokers to simplify their great ideas, it allows the team to get back to the topic while benefiting from sparks of creativity.
Read more about different personality types in the workplace.
Personality type is a system of categorising people according to their tendencies to think and act in particular ways.
Personality typing attempts to find the broadest, most important ways in which people are different and sorting people into meaningful groups.
As recently as 2016, research and refinement of the OCEAN model has been ongoing, demonstrating just how influential it is. Contemporary personality psychologists believe that there are five basic dimensions of personality, often referred to as the "Big 5" personality traits - OCEAN.
The acronym OCEAN stands for openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These categorises and spectrum are used by psychologists to measure people’s personality type by the traits they are composed of.
Not only is this one of the most widely accepted theories on personality typing, it’s also a test that companies can use.
This personality trait corresponds to characteristics such as imagination, creativity, and insight. People who are high in this trait tend to be more adventurous towards challenges, changes and new ideas.
Conversely, people low in this personality trait are often a traditional thinker and struggle with abstract thinking. Therefore, individuals with lower openness prefer routines, traditions, and familiarity.
Highly conscientious people have high levels of thoughtfulness, good impulse control, and goal-directed behaviours. They tend to be organised and mindful of details, plan ahead, think about how their behaviour affects others, and are mindful of deadlines.
On the other hand, individuals with lower conscientiousness may procrastinate before getting things done or miss deadlines.
Extraversion is a personality trait characterised by excitability, sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness, and high amounts of emotional expressiveness. Employees scoring higher on extraversion tend to draw their energy from others, making them feel energised and excited.
Due to this reason, extroverts thrive in in-person interactions; making it a problem for remote and hybrid working. Learn more about how introverts and extroverts are impacted by zoom fatigue here.
This personality trait includes prosocial behaviours and attributes such as trust, altruism, kindness and affection.
Workers high in agreeableness tend to be more cooperative, while those low in this personality trait tend to be more competitive and less trusting.
Neuroticism is a personality trait characterised by sadness, moodiness, and emotional instability. This trait is also correlated with mood swings, anxiety, irritability, and sadness.
Therefore, individuals low in neuroticism tend to work perform better under pressure and stressful situations, in oppose to ones scoring high neuroticism.
Read more about OCEAN.
Research on communication by LePine and Van Dyne has revealed a significant correlation between communication and agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, and neuroticism among individuals asked to perform a group decision-making task.
Employees scoring low on openness tend to have very strong views on what is right and wrong. As a manager, they will usually communicate very clearly how things should be done and when they should be done by, which is extremely helpful for transparent task distribution.
Employees scoring high in openness tend to prevail in areas such as creativity, mental imagery, openness to new idea and constructing abstract concepts.
Team members with a high score in conscientiousness might have strongly held beliefs and communicate in a direct way. High will people are usually very determined, making it more difficult to change their mind on something.
On the contrary, employees with lower conscientiousness tend to be more tolerant and willing to listen, which can make them approachable and easy to talk to.
Employees higher in the extraversion spectrum tend to prefer to talk through a problem with others in order to arrive at a solution. Some people might find this motivating and inspirational, whereas others might withdraw, finding them distracting or overbearing.
On the other hand, individuals with lower extraversion scale might be better listeners and will always try to understand before commenting
An employee who is high in agreeableness tends to communicate in a warm and supportive manner. They are also open-minded and receptive to new ideas, making them easily approachable.
In this sense, they often make good managers and mentors, as people feel like they can talk to them and know they will be heard.
On the other hand, employees with agreeableness tend to make decisions quickly, and while some people might like their proactivity and no-nonsense style.
Employees who are placed high on the neuroticism scale may be temperamental or easily angered, and they tend to be self-conscious and unsure of themselves.
When communicating with high neuroticism workers, they are likely to communicate in a more measured and relaxed manner. This can make them easy to talk to, however, others might struggle to spark action and sometimes a seemingly unmotivated or unengaged attitude.
This test shows a person’s psychological preferences based on 4 spectrums: extraversion (E) or introversion (I), sensing (S) or intuition (N), thinking (T) or feeling (F), and judging (J) or perceiving (P).
Followed by the test, sixteen distinct personality types that arise due to how these preferences interact with each other. The sixteen personalities types are: ESTJ, ENTJ, ESFJ, ENFJ, ISTJ, ISFJ, INTJ, INFJ, ESTP, ESFP, ENTP, ENFP, ISTP, ISFP, INTP and INFP.
The system then explains what the traits mean, the strengths and weaknesses of the test-taker’s personality type, as well as the environment where they work best.
This test provides personality assessments based on interconnected human traits. There are nine Enneagram personality types, each dealing with a particular human trait.
The nine are respectively idealist, caregiver, performer, creative, thinker, loyalist, adventure, protector, and peacekeeper.
Using enneagram types at work, it opens up the possibility for empathy, compassion, and understanding as a team. Creating a team that works well together, one that performs better, has better communication, and enjoys more purpose-filled work.
The Jung Personality test measures one’s preferences for dealing with and relating to people, processing information, making decisions and organizing their life.
The results provide an overview for different personality and behaviour. This test is similar to the Myers-Briggs personality test, measuring extraversion vs. introversion, sensation vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, judging vs. perceiving.
The Clifton Strengths Assessment was developed by the Gallup Institute in 1999 with the objective measure of personal talent that could be administered online in less than an hour. The assessment consists of 177 statements that measures on 34 distinct strengths and create Role-Specific Reports.
The 34 spreads under the category of 4 big four domains of strength - strategic thinking, relationship building, influencing, and executing. With this test, employees can find out what they naturally do best or what they might need help from others to accomplish.
Understanding one’s personality can help an employee modify behaviour at work, play to strengths, improve on weaknesses, interact with co-workers more effectively and ultimately lead to career success.
Employee happiness is also a substantial factor for success of individual teams and companies as a whole. With a welcoming corporate culture, it establishes a platform for employees with different personality types and strengths to thrive in productivity and achieve their potentials.
Employee happiness determines whether they are loyal members and followers of the company; it’s a powerful tool for building strong reputations for the brand through employee’s engagement with the public and potential customers.
In a study conducted by Swarthmore, in the state of less fear and anxiety, workers tend to make better decision. This is because employee happiness is greatly correlated with employee morale and motivation to achieve; in turn resulting in better decision-making and collaboration for the firm.
Teams will take up more responsibility for their role. Moreover, happiness is contagious, when the team is happy and gets together well, projects will run smoothly, innovations and creativity will crease, and tasks will get done.
To better prioritise work-life balance, businesses should encourage managers to measure productivity and progress of projects instead of time spent in the office. So useful methods of measuring productivity is by utilising OKRs and KPIs.
When big decisions are made that affect the workforce without their input, employees tend to feel left out and forgotten. This, in turn, leads to overall unhappiness and a lack of motivation.
Workplace communication is vital if an organisation wants to be productive and operate smoothly. But, they face a significant challenge: different workplace personality types can clash and hinder this essential communication.
By understanding workplace personality types, the strengths and weaknesses of team members can be identified. In turn, managers can better their leadership styles, resulting in happier employees, improved employee satisfaction and business success.
Ultimately, successfully utilising these tools can result in positive feedback loops in your company and substantial compounding changes - facilitating collaboration and efficiency to achieve the best possible results.
That’s why, at Omnifia, every new employee takes the Clifton Strengths Finder and adds their top five strengths to their “manual of me” on our intranet. That way, teams work more effectively together as they know exactly how to interact with one another.