7 Personalities in the Office and How to Manage Them

A quick guide to managing the different personalities in the office.

Thinkers

A.k.a. Analyticals

Analytical people are rational creatures. Their decisions are based on facts and they tend to really dig down deep into a project and learn about it thoroughly. They value objective assessments, which is why every decision they make will be backed by verified information in the form of hard data.

How to manage Thinkers

For managing analytical people you must explain the reasons behind making a new decision. If you can logically show them why this change is necessary then you will most likely have their support.

Feelers

A.k.a. Amiable people

This category of people can be very sensitive. Their utmost concern is how other people on the team are feeling, which in turns means that social gatherings are important to them. Amiable people are natural team players, which means that they will support the decision made by the majority all the while trying to make sure that people who are not satisfied with it feel included. Compromise and inclusion are keywords here. This person is usually very agreeable with managers since they don’t like to be causing conflict. They are also quite passionate and warm people who look for other things than hard facts and data.

How to manage Feelers

Make sure that these kinds of people feel like you are part of the team - not just the boss. They might be very supportive of your decisions, but they will feel the most comfortable if they know that you really care for the team. Include the team in decisions being made and hear people out. Listening is important. Also, make sure to have some social gatherings to make people feel at ease.

Drivers

A.k.a Rising Stars

The Driver is a problem solver and go-getter - a real catch. But because these people are a catch, they might move on to better things in other companies when they outlive their growth in yours.They are very imaginative and initiative, which means that they will come up with a bunch of new ideas and ways of doing things better. However, one of their greatest weaknesses is that they are not detail oriented. They move fast and see the big picture.

How to manage Drivers

Manage these people the least of all - your valuable time is better spend on other people - but make sure that Drivers have opportunities for growth. Put them in charge of innovative projects, where their strengths will come to good use. Support their ideas and give them responsibility.

Extroverts

A.k.a. Joyriders

As the name indicates, Extroverts are outgoing. They tend to be very charismatic and like to be social. Their strong suit is teamwork and they can be a good energy boost in the office. On the downside, they might have the tendency to be disorganized and unfocused.

How to manage Extroverts

If your extrovert employee tends to lose focus, you of course will occasionally be required to remind them of why they were hired. But other than that, lean back and enjoy the energy they bring to the office and make sure they feel appreciated. Include them in as much teamwork as possible and see them thrive.

Judgers

A.k.a. Domain Masters

These people are concerned with to do-lists, plans and rules. They are structured, ambitious and tend to be decisive. A Judger might not feel at home thinking out-of-the-box, but could be a nice counterpart to these people in creative teams. (Read more about how to set up a creative team in this article.) This structured approach to working is a great asset to any business and the Judger’s disciplined ways will probably affect other people in the office and lead to a more productive workforce. 

How to manage Judgers

Since the Judgers are the least likely to break rules, they also need little management. However, if you - like many other companies today - need to be innovative, you might experience a great deal of resistance from the Judgers. Try to use their natural tendency to enforce the rules to the company’s advantage. There are always tasks that have to be done in a rigorous manner. This is where they will feel most comfortable. If you do invite them into a creative process, like a brainstorming session, make sure to let them know how they can contribute and where they should step back and let people cross the boundaries of “how things are done around here”. Their role in such a process is valuable - so make sure to tell them.

Slackers

A.k.a. Stowaways

This personality type is called the Slacker, which is exactly what they do. They show up to work every day, keep a low profile and do the bare minimum. They are competent enough but it seems they don’t really want to utilize the knowledge they have. They probably won’t bother you as the manager, but you keep finding yourself asking to see work that should have been done a long time ago. 

How to manage Slackers

This is a difficult type to manage and will demand every leadership fiber in you. You must motivate and engage them, which isn’t an easy thing to do. You must first find out what engages them, what excites them and what makes them feel at home. If you find a way to motivate them, you might find them to be very valuable employees.

Square Pegs

Similar to the Slackers the Square Pegs don’t produce satisfying work but they do make sure that people know that they are working hard. Despite the appearance of working hard, they are really incompetent for the job you hired them to do. Other people - probably you as the manager - will have to continuously redo their work, which makes you think whether they were really competent for the role you hired them to do in first place. 

How to manage Square Pegs

It’s simple enough - improve their skillset. Encourage them to take certain courses or train them internally. If they don’t seem to be improving then maybe you should see if there is another role in the company better suited their skillset. 

Some General Advice on Managing Different Personalities

Now you have a list of different personalities - the list could go on, but the point of identifying these personalities isn’t to put people in boxes, the point is to understand people. Why do they ask questions, or voice concerns and opinions the way they do? What are their strengths? How do they like to work? All of these different types of people have strengths and weaknesses, which also mean that in combination they can really make things happen.

“It can be said that if you want to get to the moon you hire a driver, but if you want to get back you hire an analytical.” (crestcomleadership.com). 

Play to people’s strengths, e.g. let the Judger take care of planning and let the Thinker handle the detailed research.

Aside from delegating responsibility, you should also think about the way you manage these people. A Feeler might need a more gentle approach with some personal talk, while a Thinker might find this a waste of time. Find a balance.

Asking about their preferences directly will uncover how people like to be managed, how and when they would like to work, how they want to receive feedback, how often they want to communicate, etc. Not everything will be possible to get perfect, but try to see if you can adjust to their preferences. Remember: Happy employees are productive employees.

"When we are positive, we show a 31% increase in productivity, 40% increased likelihood to get a promotion, 23% fewer stress-related symptoms, 37% higher sales—the list goes on and on." (Shawn Achor, Wrike.com.)

Even though a Thinker might find personal talk a waste of time, it’s still important to talk to them about more than work from time to time. Maybe it’s just a friendly joke, a recent sports event or anything else that you might have in common with this employee. This will not only make managing them on a day-to-day basis a lot easier, but it will indeed be helpful when you have to pick a battle and confront an employee.

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