Adapting to Different Personality Styles at Work

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This week I thought we could look at different personalities at work.

There are two main observations you can make to determine a person’s dominant personality characteristics:

First – you can observe how open a person is – how readily do they share information, including personal information – are they open or self-contained? This is the easiest observation as you can begin immediately looking for clues from the handshake, to how easily it is to strike up a conversation.

Second – you can observe how direct they are – some people are very direct – they tell you what they think very directly- other people hint at what they want or always seem uncertain about their opinion. This takes a little bit longer than openness because you have to talk to the person and hear how they answer questions. Direct people move quickly, make fast directions and take risks. Indirect people move more slowly, take lots of time to make decisions and they move more slowly.

From these two sets of observations, let’s look at the two most dominant personality types and how you can adapt to them:

First lets look at the Socializer – very open and very direct – for this type of person – they readily express their ideas, they talk quickly, are quite sociable. They like to buy things impulsively, especially new gadgets. They like to stand out, be different and be recognized for their accomplishments. At work, these people want to be the centre of attention so give them lots of praise, ask them what’s new, and generally get more excited and enthusiatic and these people will warm up to you.

Next let’s look at the Director – very direct, but not very open – they tell you what they think but don’t explain themselves fully. They are very demanding time wize and don’t like people to waste their time or be late. They are results focused and want you to get to the point quickly. They want to be in control and make decisions. To get along better with a Director personality, get to the point, give them options to choose from, focus on the bottom line and don’t waste their time. Also realize that this type of person can appear insensitive, abrasive and yet they are very unaware of how they frustrate others. Don’t hint – be direct and this person will respect you. This person smells uncertainty and can pounce on mistakes very quickly. If you do not react quick enough, they will assume you are weak and raise their voice even more.

We’ll look at two more personalities next week.

Remember if you are in Human Resouces, I will be speaking to the HR Professionals of Windsor this Thursday evening at Furlan Fogalar – visit for the link.