In every office, there is an array of different personality types. Naturally, through work, we are going to meet new characters and personalities. Some will inspire us; some will tickle us, whilst others will test us. Whilst some adhere to the traditional stereotypes of personalities you expect to find in the office, others blend together and make it harder to identify and build working relationships with them. When meeting new people, it’s important to consider these varying types of personalities, so that we can better understand them, how to work with them and how to drive them.
identifying the types of personalities you find in the office
Not only will understanding people’s personality types help you to drive their performance, it’ll help you to build quality working relationships with them. A stronger relationship = a happier colleague. A happier colleague radiates to the wider office and so the positive effect is exponential and totally worth the effort you put into understanding personalities and quirks.
According to Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, there are 16 personality types that lend themselves to Carl Jung’s theory of four dimensions of personality preferences. These four dimensions are:
- Where you focus your attention – Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)
- The way you take in information – Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)
- How you make decisions – Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
- How you deal with the world – Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)
Your personality type is based on a combination of four of the above eight letters. From this Briggs and Myers created the MBTI Personality Test. By taking this fun and easy-to-do test, you can quickly learn about whom you are, what drives you and what affects your morale. You can also run this test with your team, and if everyone is willing, you can share results so that everyone is more familiar with their colleagues and who they really are.
characters you find in every office
In every working environment, there are ‘characters’; some create positive working environments, whilst others may not. These relate to the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator; however are a lot more general and easier to understand. When we say ‘characters’ we mean ‘the overly playful’ type of office character rather than ESFP (the Entertainer– the spontaneous, energetic and enthusiastic personality type). Working with these types of personalities can be both testing and fun, so here are some to consider and how you can work better with them:
the ‘always too busy’ type
You often wonder if they need to go onto a project management or time management training course. These people whilst great for the office in terms of getting work done but can be hard to communicate with. They’re always deep into a task, and rarely have time to socialise or converse with others. They go above and beyond the working hours just to stay afloat, grafting 5 days a week as a minimum.
Be sure to keep an eye on their calendar if you need to speak to them. It might be that you need to schedule time well-in-advance to meet with them in order to allow them enough time to organise their workload. Keep meetings short, they might not actively show appreciation for this, but they won’t forget your straightforward and to-the-point conversation.
The complete opposite to our busy bee, the chatterbox loves to be involved and you wonder if they have any work to do with the amount of conversations they’re involved in. This can be distracting as they’re often chatting whilst you’re deep in thought. The trick is not to get frustrated and work out ways in which you can keep them motivated and focused.
First off, politely interrupt their conversation and ask for their help on a task. This pulls their focus off conversations and distracting others, and towards contributing to the performance. Alternatively, can you and the team work towards making the conversation topics more work-related? Perhaps the colleague is effective at communicating ideas, and so by changing conversation topic, they’re contributing to the wider team’s performance, rather than distracting them.
Pulling them aside and gently making them aware of the effect they’re having on the wider office can help too – but be mindful of how you come across!
Failing both of these, a ‘toilet break’ to gather your thoughts can always help you from distraction. Finding the perfect balance between good conversation and distraction can be tough. Be sure to think it through before broaching the topic.
When considering the types of personalities you find in your office, there’s always going to be Grumpy Grumperson. They are often one of the most talented people within the office, whilst always having a negative outlook on life and workplaces generally. They’re also dying to find a reason to complain, whether that is about work, a colleague or a general conversation. Heck, I’ve been involved conversation in a previous role where a colleague was called obscenities just for not wanting to contribute to Grumpy Grumpersons charity. They can be a drain on morale and energy, and so taking a separate tact when managing them is necessary.
Take time to speak to them, get to know them. Listening is key; watch how they perk up when discussing topics that inspire and motivate them. They’re passionate about something and it’s our jobs as leaders to find out what that is. Next, work out how you can incorporate these things into their daily work and boost their outlook. This can require some creative thinking, but that’s the fun part about being a leader, right?
the leader of the people
A blend of either personality types; Commanders (ENTJ), Campaigners (ENFP), Protagonists (ENFJ) or the Entrepreneur (ESTP), the leader is the one we naturally love to follow. We all have our own leadership qualities. Whether that be an in-depth knowledge of a topic, an ability to motivate anyone and everyone, or being fearless enough to try new ideas and inspire those around them, we can all be leaders in our own right.
These personality types naturally draw people towards them, create cult followings and use this without necessarily knowing in order to achieve both, their own, and the company goals.
You can work very closely with the leader in the office, but know that you’re often battling many others to get their attention and affection. The leader of the people is the type of personality that others want to spend time with, so ensure that your values align with theirs; talk about what interests them, incorporate your own ideas and ways of thinking and peak their interest. Gain their respect from your thought processes, hard work and motivation. By performing these acts, showcasing results and forward-thinking ideas, you will acquire their attraction and they’ll come to you rather than you to them.
There are plenty of other typical types of personalities within every office. Which are the common ones that you come across? Let us know in your comments or feel free to drop us a line on our Facebook and Twitter channels.