Written by Darla Palmer-Ellingson
If everyone were the same, they might be easier to manage. The reality is, people come in several personality types, offering different viewpoints and skill sets that can add to a more vibrant workplace. Recognizing our human differences is not only the first step in a great management strategy, understanding different personality types can increase employee engagement and productivity.
Personality type theory was brought forward by Carl G. Jung in the 1920s. Extensive research was conducted by Isabel Briggs Meyers in the 1940s and 50s, which resulted in tools for assessing personality that are still in use today.
The tools start with a survey where participants state a preference to four questions regarding how information is perceived, decisions are made, structure is formed and their view of the world. The results determine one of 16 personality types. Understanding these types helps employers and managers blend and motivate teams for optimum performance.
Let’s look at 6 common personality types you might find in an office, and how they might be motivated:
These ambitious, determined employees are organized and decisive. They keep a to-do list, calendar, and set reminders to keep track of deadlines.
How to motivate a Judger
Tap into a Judger’s need for order and organization. Involve them in strategic planning initiatives and project management to raise job satisfaction.
A counter balance to a Judger, perceivers will be more adaptable to change, are more open-minded and spontaneous. One of their strengths might be be thinking on their feet, responding well to last-minute changes or an unexpected turn of events, but they might be less focused on details.
How to motivate a Perceiver
Have open conversations with achievers. If they have ambition to move up, help lay out steps in how they can achieve goals. Develop a status update system and help them stick to it. Help them recognize how taking these steps can lead to job success.
With lively and outgoing traits, extraverts are looking for a high level of interaction. Their quick-witted energy can be beneficial to team collaboration and brainstorming. Extraverts are always looking for ways to interact with their co-workers. In the office, Extraverts are the employees who thrive working on teams and brainstorming with others.
How to motivate an Extravert
Put an extravert in charge of leading the discussion on a team project. Challenge him or her to obtain input from all teammates, and focus on the specific work issue without going off topic. Providing high levels of team engagement will keep an extrovert’s productivity level high.
An introvert may prefer to work independently, and tend to be reserved and focused. Introverts might be hesitant to join in group activities.
How to motivate an Introvert
Providing a quiet workspace or a place where an introvert can get away for focused work, such as an empty conference room, will help an introvert’s productivity and job satisfaction. Do include introverts in group discussions to gain their unique insight and build their confidence.
A detail-oriented thinker is analytical, and loves data, information and input. Thinkers tend to be objective and rational, absorbing as much as they can about a topic and seeking new learning opportunities to expand their knowledge.
How to motivate a Thinker
Thinkers are motivated and will want specific goals and success metrics. Check in with them on their goals, but also ask them to consider other perspectives in measuring and achieving success in the office.
Feelers make a good teammate to thinkers on a group project because feelers with look at an issue from different personal views, not just the facts, showing empathy and warmth toward others.
How to motivate a Feeler
Feelers want to make a difference in the world. Show how a feeler’s work on a project helped toward company goals.
What personality type are you?
Take a four-question survey and learn more about personality testing on the Meyers and Briggs Foundation website.
Employers can incorporate personality test questions into a workplace onboarding process, and involve employees in reviewing results. Employees can gain valuable insight that can help them advance in their career. For example, a personality type might be open and flexible to new ideas while de-emphasizing details such as deadlines. Realizing this, an employee might choose to put more energy toward time management.
There are no right or wrong answers or “best type” in evaluating personalities. It takes all natures to make a robust workplace.