As businesses adjust their work practices to include more work from home projects due to social distancing requirements, it’s imperative that companies understand the different personality types of their employees. Some personality types function well outside of a structured office environment, others do not. Some employees are excellent self starters, others need to be guided through the transition. Understanding your individual employee personality types can mean the difference between a successful transition and absolute failure.
Although tailoring projects to employee personality types might seem like a major undertaking, projects packaged to resonate with specific employee personality types is actually a simple process. The end result is a quantifiable increase in employee satisfaction with the new workplace structure, which culminates in increased employee production and reduced employee turnover. In order to accomplish this, supervisors must have an intimate knowledge of each individuals tendencies.
There are basically only four personality types that need to be identified in any team. In addition, the personality type of the supervisor must also be taken into consideration as it will also be a major factor in assuring a teams success.
The biggest challenge is identifying each employee type. In my DISCovery seminars, this is usually accomplished by asking all employees (including supervisory personnel) to complete a basic personality profile. This simple, one page, word association profile, is then extrapolated into a personality type. From there, each specific personality type is then advanced to arrive at a distinct window into the motivating factors of that individual.
The purpose of this article is not to provide personal employee profiles of the depth provided by my DISCcovery seminars but to provide the reader with a basic idea of how the different personalities require distinct driving motivators to achieve personal satisfaction and subsequent productive success.
The “D” or “Dominance” Personality Type is easily recognizable. Moving at 100 miles per hour, they are impatient, have strong egos and are extremely adaptable to change. Because they are so adaptable to change, moving from the office to a home based environment should be a seamless task for the “D” Personality Type.
Supervisors should be aware that “D” Personality Types tend to take an active, assertive, and direct approach to obtaining results. They desire; authority, challenges, prestige. freedom, varied activities, difficult assignments and opportunity for advancement.
Supervisors should also be aware that a “D” Personality Type must always win at everything they do. Simple key positioning statements such as “That’s a great idea”, “I’m asking you to do this because no one else has been able to complete this project in the time frame required” will go a long way in “motivating a “D” Personality Type to fully engage in the project. “D” Personality Types ALWAYS love a challenge to pit themselves against challenging time lines or other employees. Achievement metrics are an important factor in driving this personality type.
Supervisors should understand that although “D” Personality Types are fast, there is a price for their speed and that price is accuracy. Supervisors must understand this limitation and plan for further authentication of all “D” Personality Type production. Although “D” Personality Types will never be as accurate as other personality types challenging a “D” Personality Type to be more accurate should be positioned as a challenge rather than a criticism.
If the supervisor is also a “D” Personality Type, they must refrain from being placed in a “you versus me” box. Supervisor “D” Personality Types must ask themselves “do I want to win or accomplish the task at hand?”
The “I” Influence Personality Type are also pretty easy to spot because, they too move at 100 miles per hour. But, unlike their “D” counterparts who care little about what others think of them, “I” Personality Types are very people oriented. They tend to approach others in an outgoing, gregarious, socially aggressive manner. “I” Personality Types also tend to be impulsive, emotional and expressive. Although they are extremely comfortable with change, they will find it more challenging to work alone without the company of others. Accordingly, team projects, where the “I” Personality Type leads a group, will be successfully executed.
Supervisors should understand that “I” Personality Types desire social recognition among the group. Compliments of their accomplishments in front of the group in an online zoom type meeting will go a long way towards obtaining goals.
Although “I” Personality Types also like unstructured freedom of control and detail, like their “D” counterparts, they are fast but not always accurate. Accuracy checking should be delegated to either the “C” or “S” Personality Types. Supervisors should make sure that they provide the “I” Personality Type with room to maneuver but clear goals to arrive at the task assigned. In addition, the “I” Personality Type, because they are such people people, are the best personality type to assist others.
In addition, supervisors should take note that “I” Personality Types are eternal optimists. They sometimes require assistance in setting and meeting realistic deadlines and goals. Make sure they work in a friendly environment and they will be a steady producer.
The “S” Steadiness Personality Type moves at a much slower pace than the “D” or “I” Personality Type. If the “D” and “I” moves at 100 miles per hour, the “S” Personality Type moves at 45 miles per hour. Accordingly, they do not perform well under the stress of compressed timelines or rapidly evolving challenges. The “S” Personality Type is very loyal and very family oriented. They tend to prefer more controlled, deliberate and predictable environments. They value disciplined behavior and security of situation. They also desire status quo, identification with the group and a defined work pattern and areas of specialization.
Supervisors should be aware that the “S” Personality Type will be the procrastinator of the group. They must be provided with clear timelines and goals with continual follow ups to assure production meets specifications. Under the leadership of an “I” or “D” Personality Type, they can be a valuable team member. Although they are very patient and slow to change, once they understand the project and are provided with clear guidelines they will produce on a steady basis.
Since their greatest fear is loss of security, supervisors should continually assure them of their place on the team, how well they are accomplishing their tasks and their value to the company.
The “C” Conscientiousness Personality Type also moves at 45 miles per hour but for an entirely different reason. “C” Personality Types are perfectionist or master craftsman. They will not release a project until it is exactly as it’s supposed to be. They tend to prefer things to be done in the “Right Way,” according to the book or by accepted standards. “C” Personality Types are normally slow and cautious decision makers. Like their “S” counterparts, they desire security with no sudden changes, exact job descriptions, controlled work environments and reassurance.
Supervisors must understand that “C” Personality Types must always receive accurate data when being presented with an idea. In addition, because they are very sensible– thin-skinned, criticism must always be constructive and factual.
Since they are very intuitive and research every facet of a project, they are almost always right. It is often said that if you need something done fast, give it to a “D” or “I”. If you want it right, give it to a “C”. However, if you’re on a time crunch, supervisors will find it extremely challenging to assure the “C” Personality Type meets their deadlines.
One of the key challenges for the supervisor is the understanding not only of the tendencies of each team member but also the personality tendencies of the supervisor. Efficiently interfacing with your team is not limited to understanding what motivates each personality type, just as important is knowing when and having the ability to adjust ones own personality to better interact with each team member.
J Stephen Sadler
Best Selling Author, Speaker and CEO/Executive Coach of the Techmar Group, J Stephen Sadler assists organizations and families in facilitating organizational and familial change through personality awareness. His DISCovery seminars awaken participants to the discovery of their own personality types as well as the personalities of the people they work with, sell to, support and live with. Participants gain not only an awareness of their own personality traits but are also provided with invaluable tools on how best to identify and harmonize with those they interact with on a day-to-day basis
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