Workplace Leadership: Dealing with Different Employee Personalities

A one-size-fits-all leadership style will only go so far when it comes to dealing with employees. The more people you have on your staff, the more likely you are to encounter different personality types. Fortunately, you don’t have to develop a split personality to work with different types of people. An awareness of various personalities and how to work with and guide them will help you develop a workplace environment that’s positive and productive. The following tips and insights can help you lead your employees in a way that instills trust, loyalty, confidence and good workplace morale.


Dealing with Different Employee Personality Styles

  • The Introvert. Quiet, shy people are often mistaken for employees who have little to offer at meetings or during projects. But when introverts are given an opportunity to communicate in ways that are more comfortable, you’ll generally find they have a lot to contribute. Introverts are more private, which means they prefer forms of communication that don’t require speaking in front of the entire staff. Provide written communication options, as well as email and one-on-one communication to tap into the knowledge and expertise of your introverts.
  • The Competitor. The competitive employee is always striving to do better than others or even his or her own personal accomplishments. This employee loves conquests, as well as access to management and executives. Tap into this personality by making this individual part of your goal-achieving team. Sales, account management and other competitive departments are a good location for this employee.
  • The Believer. Every team needs a cheerleader, and your believer is the person who will be on-board for every new project, goal and mission. Be careful in how you use your believer personalities. They’re effective for encouraging the pragmatists, but need to refuel their optimism by spending equal amounts of time with other believers.
  • The Pragmatist. The pragmatic employee isn’t necessarily a negative person, but he or she is more likely to be skeptical and hesitant when it comes to something new. This individual prefers to research all the possible pitfalls before deciding on the benefits of something. They’re also more likely to question things and people, which can be worked in your favor.
  • The Work-Life Balance Seeker. More people are seeking work-life balance than ever before. This personality type is likely to be as ambitious and gifted as your competitors and believers, but they are also highly efficient and use their efficiency to attain balance between work and life. The work-life balance seeker makes a good manager, particularly when working with people he or she likes.
  • The Toiler. Toilers view work as a means to an end, such as spending more time with family or going on vacation. Even though this individual is not likely to become a star executive, they are necessary to the ongoing functions of the business. Work with this individual to promote efficiency, and your toiler will get things done.

Bringing the Whole Team Together

A range of employee personalities can be overwhelming to deal with, but when you consider the variety existing in your team, you’ll find there are many ways to bring them together. Cohesiveness is vital to a team environment and, many times, different personalities complement one another to make a well-balanced team. As the leader, it’s your job to encourage the best parts of each personality to come out in full force, while tempering the personality aspects that the team needs less of.

The leadership sets the tone, which means you have the power to bring everyone together or allow personality differences to create an insurmountable gap. With consistent effort and genuine interest on your part, you can achieve the former. Start by learning about the personality types that exist in your workplace, and then consider each of them as you plan each day, week, meeting and goal.

Lucy Harper

Lucy Harper is an experienced blogger passionate about small business topics such as online reputation, social media marketing and strategies for productivity. She is part of the writing team at, a specialist media and advertising agency.