Understanding personality types in the workplace

March 10, 2011


The workplace is sure to bring an array of people, each with distinct personality types.

Take the good, the bad, the ugly, we all have different styles of communicating. As a manager or co-worker, having an understanding of personalities will help you understand how to make an efficient and happy work environment. You can learn how to motivate others and know what motivates you. It is crucial to understand that how you relate to others may be different than the people you work with and everyone is different.

There are two major components to every personality: empathy and ego drive.

Ego drive is the proactive dynamic behind human behavior. People with high ego drive are more apt to take risks when faced with job obstacles. They are more focused on results and place less emphasis on relationships. People with low ego drive value the process and relationships it takes to achieve results.

Empathy is emotional and intuitive insight to perceive the needs of others. People with high empathy emphasize their personal relationships and take note of their social skills. When it comes to achieving work goals, individuals with low empathy look more to their tasks and take pride in self-discipline.

How do empathy and ego drive play into the 4 personality types?

  1. Driver: These are the initiators. They’re focused on beating the competition and tend to have high ego drive and less empathy. We depend on these people to get the job done.
  2. Motivator:  We appreciate the motivators because they are the talkers who push us. They appreciate recognition and have both high ego drive and an empathetic nature.
  3. Supporter: We love these individuals because they love to help us. They understand others’ needs thoroughly with high empathy and have less emphasis on themselves with low ego drive.
  4. Thinker: What company doesn’t need the analyzer? They improve business processes to get the results we need. Thinkers tend to be focused on facts with less empathy and be patient introverts with low ego drive.

Having looked at these, you can probably identify what type you are and the different types that compose your workplace. Each personality type is important and when together, make a well-rounded practice. With a deeper understanding of others’ strengths and qualities, you can begin appreciating that while people have their differences, everyone has a value and should be treated so.