Personality Types in the Workplace

“What’s your type?” may seem like an awkward question for the office but, in the right context, it can be an especially helpful one. Do you know your workplace personality type? Knowing our personality type helps us appreciate our own strengths and identify ways to work smarter. They’re shorthand for describing your unique style at work: how you solve problems, what motivates you and how you do your best work.

The power of personality types in the workplace shines when it’s time to work with others. Knowing your own tendencies allows you to communicate effectively, work efficiently with others and use everyone’s strengths to their best advantage. Our staff has taken the Myers-Briggs personality test and shared our results with the rest of the team to better understand one another’s work styles.This particular personality test assigns each person a four-letter type (like INFP) and focuses on four dimensions of personality: Energy, Cognitive, Values, and Self-Management. Each dimension has two styles—one at each end of a spectrum—and each person falls closer to one end or the other.

As an introductory primer, here’s how the dimensions and styles break down, and how they apply to the workplace:

Energy Style: Extroverts Vs. Introverts

The energy dimension refers to the way you interact with people in your environment. Said simply, what gives you energy and what drains you?

Extroverts at work: Gaining energy from others
Their vision is more likely to be directed toward their experience of the outside world rather than the inner life of the mind. Extroverts are the social butterflies of the office, and are most productive and engaged when the mood is lively and interactive.

Introverts at work: Gaining energy from focusing inward
Introverts find energy, peace and refreshment from within, either in solitude or in the presence of a few trusted individuals. A busy workplace with a lot of chatter can be a drain on an introvert.

Cognitive Style: Sensors Vs. Intuitives

The cognitive dimension refers to your preferred manner of taking in information: on a sensory level or an intuitive one.

Sensors at work: Factual, practical thinkers
Sensors focus on facts and raw data they can perceive with their fives senses. They think literally and live in the present.

Intuitives at work: Abstract, creative thinkers
Intuitives see patterns, connections and potential in the world around them. They are future-focused and can be great visionaries on a project.

Values Style: Thinkers Vs. Feelers

Values style refers to how we approach decision making: through the filter of logic or personal implications.

Thinkers at work: Valuing logic and objectivity
Thinkers are analytical and rational, and tend to act decisively and definitively. They value truth and fairness above public opinion and believe the facts should speak for themselves.

Feelers at work: Valuing relationships and compassion
Feelers prioritize how decisions align with their personal feelings and values. They are generally team players and aren’t driven by tangible achievements. Instead, they like knowing that others are pleased with their work or feeling that they’ve been helpful.

Self-Management Style: Judgers Vs. Perceivers

Self-management refers to how we design our time and generally approach life: with order or spontaneity.

Judgers at work: Preferring structure and order
Judgers are the type that has a five-year plan and approach time head-on, making the most of every possibility. They find comfort in predictability and are natural self-starters.

Perceivers at work: Preferring freedom and flexibility
Rather than making definitive plans, perceivers prefer to continue putting off plans until the answer becomes clear. They can find decision making to be stressful and are more focused on the journey than the destination.

When we understand our personality type, we can better articulate our own talents and strengths. Being aware of how you prefer to operate allows you to play up the qualities your personality type offers and can help you make better choices in your career. And it goes without saying that understanding the personality types of your colleagues can help create a stronger and more effective team.

Have you used personality types with your organization’s employees? How has it helped your team? Let us know in the comments!