Have you ever wondered why you just can’t seem to get through to some of the different personalities in your workplace? Why, even though your intentions are good, are your words often misunderstood by the same handful of coworkers? Sometimes, all it takes to fix a conflict is to understand the other person’s mindset better.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, as each human is one-of-a-kind; it may be hard to understand their motivations and behaviors fully. However, to have a healthy work culture, strong communication, and overall successful organization, it is essential to understand your colleagues and their working styles.
Understanding personalities in the workplace
Working efficiently with different personality types is beneficial to sustain a strong team and healthy work environment. Each person can bring something different to the table, whether a strong work ethic, creative innovations, or the ability to take action, and more. It is important not to underestimate these different strengths and contributions. Understanding different personalities in the workplace and avoiding the pain points brought on by these differences is made easier through personality frameworks such a DISC.
Personality models, such as DISC, are great tools to bridge that gap and aid in more positive interactions in personal and professional scenarios. These frameworks allow users to understand the inner workings of themselves and others and approach different scenarios within the workplace with ease. While there are various personality tests out there, DISC is often thought to be the best suited for determining work personality types given its ability to predict conflict resolution, communication and leadership styles, and work-related behaviors and tendencies.
What are the different personality types in the workplace?
Typically, the more assertive and driven co-workers will be D personality types. These people prefer to be in roles of authority or leadership where they can do the decision-making or in positions where they have the freedom to solve problems, be risk-takers, and create tangible results themselves. Their strengths lie in their ability to make firm decisions, effectively lead groups of people, and comfortably take on responsibility. Unlike many people, confident, assertive personalities are usually comfortable facing necessary conflict﹣a gift that they can use to benefit others. DISC Type D personalities are very confident and blunt when communicating, which may be seen as rude or insensitive. DISC Type D personalities would benefit from practicing empathy, active listening, and including others in their decision-making to have more successful interactions.
When communicating with a D-type personality, it is essential to remember that they value precise and intentional conversations. In other words, keep it short, simple, and to the point. Try not to talk about the problems, but rather focus on the solutions as D-types are more concerned with the “what” rather than the “why.”
Creative, personable, and expressive types are usually I-type personalities in the workplace. These people thrive in social settings, and therefore enjoy teamwork and collaboration. They are energized through their big, creative ideas and use their charisma to inspire and motivate other team members. Their strengths tend to lie in thinking outside the box, building personal connections with a diverse group of people, and encouraging others toward a goal. Enthusiastic, optimistic personalities can inspire others to be more creative and open-minded, helping the people around them move toward growth. Since DISC Type I personalities are easily excited and spontaneous, they sometimes react quickly and could benefit from spending more time listening and thinking things through.
When communicating with a DISC Type I personality, it is good to mirror their friendly and personable approach. Because they value the approval of others, it is also important not to make them feel too isolated or unheard. They are people-people and need to feel valued as well, which may be achieved by listening to their ideas and helping them to set reachable goals for themselves.
Usually, the most supportive personality types at workplaces will be the S-types, who often put the well-being and happiness of others before their own needs. S-type personalities can typically get along with anyone and are agreeable by nature. These people are highly collaborative, patient, and prefer to let other's lead the way and take control. Their strengths tend to lie in their ability to build strong, lasting connections with other people, provide a stabilizing presence in challenging situations, and use low-risk or proven solutions to accomplish tasks. Without firm and detailed expectations, S-type individuals may hesitate to take action. When they do take action, it is deliberate, thoughtful, and predictable. These values carry over into their personal and professional interactions, as they are usually considerate of others, reliable, and helpful.
In conversation, DISC Type S personalities are likely to feel more comfortable when met with the same calmness and kindness that they use themselves. They will not respond well when a quick change is forced upon them, so be sure to give them plenty of heads up to any changes in their current routine or duties. They also need to know they’re doing the tasks right, so prioritize giving them regular assurances or support.
Most often, the conscientious, analytical personality types will be C-types. These people display personality traits such as being detail-oriented, introverted, and a perfectionist. Because they are introverts, they'd rather work alone than in large groups and prefer written communication rather than face-to-face meetings or calls. Their strengths often lie in their ability to remain realistic, carefully consider the details of a decision, and identify specific issues or errors. Detailed, thorough personalities can spot critical issues, even small, complex mistakes, which can help prevent problems from growing into something bigger. Due to their tendency to over-analyze, they should not be given too strict or unrealistic deadlines. Offering enough time to complete tasks, along with plenty of structure and routine, will guarantee success for these individuals.
DISC Type C personalities are more trusting of most similar people; in conversation, avoid being too casual or personable and be sure to present them with lots of data and facts. Stay on topic, be precise, and they will respond much better to what you are saying.
5 Benefits of understanding personalities at work
Taking the time to understand the different perspectives and work personalities in the office will ultimately help create a more positive and efficient environment for everybody. Knowing and understanding the different personalities is beneficial in the workplace and in personal relationships and interactions. Benefits of understanding personality types include:
When you better understand the people around you and communicate with them in a way that will resonate, you will inevitably work better together. Some people may prefer to build a personal connection and socialize before getting to business, while others may prefer direct and to-the-point conversations. Through this understanding, you will begin collaborating in a way where everyone can contribute with their unique strengths. Whereas before you may have experienced trouble getting through to someone in the office environment, with this better understanding you will be able to avoid miscommunication and speak to your colleagues most effectively.
Better conflict resolution
If you understand how someone handles conflict and how your personality handles it, you can navigate otherwise sticky situations with newfound ease. Once you have understood the different perspectives someone may have, you can take a step back and see the conflict from another angle. While some people prefer a direct, logical approach to working through tension, others prefer to approach conflict gently. Once you understand your personality, you may become more self-aware of how you handle conflict and where you could improve or be more empathetic. Considering differences concerning conflict resolution can help you avoid worsening interpersonal issues and handle challenging situations with care and empathy.
Develop empathy for coworkers
Building an empathetic culture starts with your communication with team members. Simply put, empathetic communication is a way of adapting your style to communicate with others the way they like, rather than the way you want. By intentionally adjusting your communication in meetings to align with your team’s personality makeup, you’ll improve your team’s productivity and comfort in any discussion. When approaching situations with empathy, it is essential to ask what the other person wants from the interaction, why they want it, and how they interact. Doing so will help guide a smoother and more productive interaction.
Each workplace has its' own unique mix of different types of people. These differences can bring about tension, conflict, or miscommunication when two people disagree or handle such disputes differently. When you can understand personality types and the tendencies and the preferences that go along with them, you are better equipped to avoid such issues or handle them in a productive way that satisfies all. Understanding and appreciating that each person may see things differently is helpful because it gives perspective and allows for more inclusivity and less judgment in the workplace.
Understand your own career goals
When you discover your personality type and learn more about your strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and stressors, you can better understand what roles and tasks are best suited for you. Perhaps you are a natural-born leader with the ability to remain calm in times of stress, or maybe you are the peace-keeper and thrive in supporting roles that allow you to help others and stay off the center stage. Either way, having this knowledge is helpful to determine what steps you should take to meet your professional goals.
How to identify personality types at work
While certain traits and characteristics may help you identify employee personalities, frameworks such as DISC are the best route for efficiency and accuracy. DISC is best suited for the workplace because it is easy to understand and use.
A quick way to understand someone’s personality type is by identifying what quadrant of the Personality Map their personality is in. Here’s a good way to think about the personality map:
Those on the top portion of the Personality Map, D- and I-types, tend to prefer fast-paced, quick conversations, while those on the bottom, S- and C-types, often prefer to build trust throughout a more extended discussion.
Those on the left side of the Map, D- and C-types, tend to be more formal and straightforward, while personalities on the right side, I- and S-types, are more likely to be casual, empathetic, and conversational.
To help identify what quadrant someone’s personality may be in, you just need to ask them two simple questions:
Are you more casual or formal?
Do you tend to be big-picture-oriented or detail-oriented?
D-types will likely answer “formal” and “big-picture-orientated.”
I-types will likely answer “casual” and “big-picture-orientated.”
S-types will likely answer “casual” and “detail-orientated.”
C-types will likely answer “formal” and “detail-orientated.”
Although you can identify someone's personality type based on actual interactions or email styles, taking personality tests will ensure that everyone's personality style is correctly determined. From there, you will be able to discover actionable insights and advice for managing different personalities.
Personality types in the workplace: Key takeaways
Working with different people can prove challenging at times, but understanding the individual personalities of your colleagues and how to work with different personality types can make a huge impact. Personality assessments are a cost-effective, beneficial, and reliable way to cultivate empathy, better communication, and higher performance and productivity in the workplace.
You can begin to better understand the different personalities and communication styles at play on your team using Crystal’s quick and free personality test.
Want to learn about your personality and what comes naturally to you?