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9th Aug, 2022

Jack Ireland
Jack Ireland
Job Title
Content Marketing Executive

In today’s working environment, there isn’t a ‘perfect personality’ which all employees should be striving towards. Every individual, no matter their personality, plays an important part in helping the company hit targets and create a positive work environment.

As an employer, it’s imperative to ensure that employees not only feel valued, but that their personality is considered, allowing them to shine in their role and enhance collaborative teams.

In this article, we look at different personality traits and how you can bring the best out of different employees in the workplace.

What are personality traits?

Personality traits are often defined as characteristics that reflect people’s characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. In the workplace, traits can be both productive and beneficial depending on the task and objectives.

Now more than ever, professionals are using the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI), a self-report inventory designed to identify their personality type, strengths, and preferences. Today, the MBTI, which ranges from so-called ‘analysts’ and ‘diplomats’ to ‘sentinels’ and ‘explorers’, is one of the most widely used psychological instruments in the world. Myers and Briggs believed that this indicator could help people understand themselves, select occupations that were best suited to their personality types and lead healthier, happier lives.

Another measure of personality in contemporary psychology is the OCEAN model, where personality is often divided up into the ‘big five’ personality traits. These personality traits are a set of descriptions of personal qualities, including emotions and how people function in certain situations.

Within your team, you may come across a plethora of personalities, but no two will be exactly the same. Employees will likely have a higher inclination toward one specific trait; the OCEAN model suggests that personalities usually contain a combination of the following:

  • Openness

  • Conscientiousness

  • Extroversion

  • Agreeableness

  • Neuroticism

Once you begin to understand these personality traits and apply them within your business, you can begin to impact the productivity and effectiveness of your team.

Create unique relationships

In 2019, a Harvard Business Review survey found that 58% of employees trust a complete stranger more than their own employer. For an employee to trust their employer, a relationship needs to be created which promotes value – this is often done by developing an appreciation of their personality.

Take the time to get to know your team, both in a personal and professional capacity. Once you’ve figured out the best way to speak to and delegate tasks to an employee based on their traits, the easier it will be to harness collaborative working and bring the best out of their work.

A healthy work relationship with employees helps to build a working environment that benefits all parties, alongside ensuring patterns of growth for the organisation.

Utilise strengths to help assign tasks

To get the most out of your team members, and their personalities, you need to ensure that they are in the best possible position to make a worthwhile impact on the organisation. Often this involves work that coincides well with their personality and strengths.

Once you’ve built a relationship with your employees, begin to assign tasks that utilise their strengths and, when necessary, slowly introduce them to new ones that will help them develop and grow as individuals.

As an employer, you’ll more often than not encounter a range of diverse personality types and working styles among team members, with most individuals being either outgoing (extroverts) or reserved (introverts).

If you have an employee who is introverted, having them lead meetings on a constant basis – or being at the front and centre of a campaign or strategy – may have an adverse effect on both the task and the employee. Some introverts – but not all – may prefer to assist rather than lead projects, or work independently without going through the rigours of presenting ‘boardroom style’ to colleagues and senior leaders.

Be understanding and accommodating

As all individuals differ, it’s essential that your company can accommodate a wide variety of personality types in the workplace. As a manager, understanding different personalities in the workplace can create growth opportunities for employees. It’s about being open, employees and managers can use what they know about personality types to create opportunities for adapting tasks, team-building opportunities and making sure employees are in the best position to thrive.

Ensuring you have processes in place to suit different types of employees will not only improve their productivity and willingness to be involved, but also enhance their perception of your organisation.

A simple employee satisfaction/feedback form has the potential to be accessible and open to employees of differing personalities. For those who prefer talking to someone, you could use monthly or bi-monthly one-to-one meetings to go through a list of questions, whereas a more reserved employee may opt to complete this as a written form. Having a range of different methods allows greater scope and engagement among employees.

The same can apply to breakout spaces and office layouts. It’s important to allow employees to thrive while they’re at work; if colleagues in your team need to collaborate on a project, ensure they have the digital or physical means to be able to do so. A breakout space is a great way for employees who prefer independent work to be able to fully focus on their tasks, without added distractions.

Rather than creating assets and materials with one sort of employee in mind, an employer should work to bring out the best in all employees, regardless of personality types.

Know your team

In the aftermath of the pandemic, most people are still experiencing hybrid working. According to the Home Office Life, 59% of UK workers would prefer to work in a hybrid model, so when the team does come together, it’s essential that everyone feels comfortable and able to be themselves. 

Office events, social gatherings and team bonding experiences were often seen as compulsory and ‘forced fun activities’ pre-pandemic, but as employees were forced to work from home during the many months of lockdowns, a shift in interaction began, with the introduction of virtual events coming to the fore. Post-pandemic, employees have an eagerness for each other’s company more than ever. 

Being selective about events that help teams bond, connect and unite is beneficial, but appreciating that not all employees are overly passionate about such events, is the most crucial aspect. It’s all about presenting options and allowing individuals to make a choice, no matter their preference. 

Give employees the opportunity to be themselves at work – it may create a greater level of employee engagement and satisfaction within their job. 

For further advice on how to attract the best candidates to your team, get in touch with one of our expert recruiters.