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Different Personality Types in the Workplace

When you go out into the world you meet all kinds of people with different motivations and personalities. Outside of the office, you can choose who you want to interact with, but in the office, it’s often a situation of “you get what you get.” Pinpointing your own personality type can help you steer your career trajectory in the direction you would like it to be going, as well. Along these lines, it’s important to understand how to work with different personality types as this can also help you to succeed in your career.

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Some personality types will get along wonderfully and others may come into conflict more often than not. If your conflicts aren’t able to be addressed properly, you could end up becoming miserable at work or worse. Some of your coworkers may have outgoing personalities and want to talk and socialize with you at work, while others will find this behavior rude and distracting.

When conflicting personalities escalate to a problem among colleagues the issues will begin to throw off the office productivity. All problematic situations need to be managed directly in order to keep your office from becoming disjointed. The first step in keeping your office in harmonious working condition is to identify the 5 different personality types that you might find in a typical workplace environment and proceed accordingly.

1. The Solo Player

These people are multi-taskers that like to handle jobs alone. They prefer to not work with a team, but will if they are assigned to one. However, don’t expect them to grab drinks with the team after work or to volunteer to be the leader. These introverts are usually highly skilled and fast workers. In order to manage a Solo Player, try to give them as many individual work assignments as you can and keep team projects to a minimum. Also, don’t try to force the Solo Player into socializing with others; it will come naturally or it won’t, and its nothing to bother yourself about. Be sure to recognize their achievements and to give them extra time to process feedback and negative performance reviews.

2. The Slacker

Whenever work comes up, the Slacker has a reason to miss out on it. If they’re not needed, they won’t be there; and if they are needed, they’ll probably show up late. They have a list of excuses a mile long and won’t hesitate to give you any of them. How many “grandmas who got sick” does the Slacker have, anyway? Working with the Slacker means you need to be very direct in your delivery if you need something done. If they try to bring up more excuses, let them know you’re aware of the number of excuses they’ve previously given and let them know the consequences if they continue this slacker behavior. This person might need to be micromanaged because their productivity requires plenty of check-ins to get any progress.

3. Your Best Friend

Not just Your Best Friend, he or she is everyone’s best friend. This employee is constantly gossiping by the water cooler, cracking jokes in the break room, and can be found at other people’s desks more often than their own. This person is extremely extroverted and has probably gotten to know everyone in the building; let alone just your office. The problem with the Best Friend is that he might not be spending enough time on his work as he is focused on talking to everybody. To manage this person, use their skills to your advantage and get them to build company culture and organize after-work events. This person will need regular check-ups on progress – a lot like our other buddy, the Slacker.

4. The Angry Guy

Or girl, this person is a ticking time bomb ready to go off on a moment’s notice. You have already pinpointed this person because you’ve previously seen him/her get angry a few times since you started working together. These people can be very bad for company morale and they need to be dealt with immediately. The Angry Guy might be affecting your brand if they interact with customers or clients, and they can do a lot of irreparable damage. Try to find out what is making the Angry Guy so angry. Once those emotions are released, a healing process can occur.

5. Debbie Downer

Nothing can go right in Debbie Downer’s life. Whether it’s their awful in-laws, a mean landlord, or a “lazy” coworker, Debbie just can’t catch a break. The one thing you know about Debbie Downer is that none of this is his/ her fault and everything just seems to happen to his/ her. To manage the Debbie Downer in the office, you need to be objective when they lament about how hard their life is. Try offering constructive feedback instead of pity.

6. The Narcissist

The Narcissist loves to take credit and blame others. The Narcissist does not have loyalty to any coworkers, just himself/ herself. To manage the Narcissist, you need to work closely with them and point out where they could be doing a better job. Watch and see if their team interactions and work are tolerable; if not it might be easier to cut your losses and let him/ her go if they really are too much of a liability.

There are a lot more personalities than 6 in the workplace, but these might be the hardest to work with and will need the most managing. At the end of the day, it is up to you to build your team and figure out who can be let go, wherever necessary. As long as all the roads lead to a happy, productive, collaborative workplace, you’re doing the right thing.