Organizational Wellness

How (And Why) to Identify Personality Types at Work

Jun 13, 2023
Last Updated Jun 13, 2023

Each of your employees has a unique set of personality traits, all of which play a role in how they interact with their team and execute their work. Some shine when it comes to people skills making them fit for customer-facing roles, while others have a knack for problem-solving behind the scenes.  

Understanding personality types can help you better manage your team and create an environment of collaboration and success. When you can recognize various personality types, you can use the strengths of each team member to get the job done. 

Personality assessments are the tool of choice for companies looking to assess the disposition of current employees and prospective hires. These simple analyses have people answer questions to measure their tendencies, producing personality evaluations based on a matrix of possibilities.  

Before diving into identifying workplace personality types, it's important to note that individuals can display multiple personality types. Not everyone fits neatly into one single persona or profile. The balance of traits can shift over time or in different situations. But getting a sense of the general personalities of individuals and departments can help guide management strategy. 

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  1. DISC

The DISC is a personality assessment that provides insights into an individual's behavioral patterns and preferences, allowing you to better understand how to interact with your employees.

The term "DISC" stands for Dominance, Influence (sometimes referred to as inducement), Steadiness (or submission), and Compliance (or conscientiousness). Each of these four traits represents a distinct personality type, and individuals can display varying degrees of each quality. By understanding the balance of features in an individual, you can gain valuable insights into their work style, communication preferences, and decision-making processes.

With a DISC assessment, the goal is not to label individuals but to provide a deeper understanding of their behavioral tendencies and preferences. This knowledge can help you develop effective management strategies and foster a more productive workplace.

Dominance

The dominance type is characterized by a drive for power, control, and career advancement. These individuals are typically direct, decisive, and results-focused. They may sometimes come across as competitive or assertive, but their strengths lie in their ability to lead and take charge in challenging situations.

To feed their desire to challenge the status quo, consider creating an environment that offers them plenty of responsibility and authority over projects. Since dominant individuals prefer working under pressure and thinking outside the box, you can give them your most challenging projects. Encouraging them to leverage their straightforward communication can build them into leaders as they motivate others to follow their vision.

Influence

People with an influential personality type tend to be extroverted and outgoing. They thrive on building relationships, being social, and gaining recognition from others. These individuals are typically charming, enthusiastic, and persuasive. Their strengths lie in their ability to motivate and inspire others.

The key to managing influence types is to provide them with plenty of opportunities for networking. To set them up for success, celebrate their ideas and empower them to continue brainstorming and sharing insights.

Steadiness

The steadiness personality type is characterized by a focus on stability, harmony, and a cautious approach to decision-making. This personality type is typically patient, reliable, and supportive. As the ultimate team players, they often excel in roles involving big-picture thinking and teamwork to solve problems. For some, their cautious nature might present  as indecisive or slow-moving, but their ability to maintain consistency leads to balance in the workplace.

Managing steady personalities requires a collaborative office environment that allows them to take their time and think through decisions. Providing clear guidelines and structure can help these individuals feel secure and empowered to help others in their own way.

Compliance

Individuals with a compliance personality type are typically focused on accuracy, structure, and a detail-oriented approach to their work. These individuals take pride in being precise, analytical, and systematic. This can sometimes mean that they are more rigid or overly cautious than other personality types, but it also means that they tend to complete tasks correctly and efficiently the first time. 

When managing compliance types, establishing a workplace that emphasizes order through clearly defined procedures and rules can help foster their success. It's also important to help them set realistic expectations that align with their skill set. This way, they can have the autonomy and support they need to get their job done without feeling overwhelmed by some of their more perfectionist tendencies. 

  1. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a psychological assessment you can use to identify employee personality types. The MBTI is based on the idea of Jungian psychology, and there are sixteen different personality types that individuals can possess. These types are based on four dichotomies: Extraverted (E) vs. Introverted (I), Sensing (S) vs. Intuitive (N), Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F), and Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P).

Each of the sixteen types has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. By understanding one's own kind and the types they work best with, individuals can learn how to communicate effectively and work better together.

MBTI is also useful in conflict resolution. Individuals with different personality types may approach conflict differently — some may prefer to address issues head-on, while others may need more time to process. When you know what each team member needs, you can work toward resolving conflicts in a respectful and productive way for all parties involved.

Extraverted (E) vs. Introverted (I)

Extraversion refers to how individuals interact with the external environment. Extroverted people are typically outgoing and friendly and gain energy from interacting with others. In contrast, introverts prefer quieter work environments where they can take time for reflection and solitude.

For example, an individual who falls into the E category may find they get energy from being around others, so during a lunch break, they might want to gather with their colleagues. On the other hand, an individual who is more of an I type could benefit from a quiet lunch alone to reflect and recharge.

Sensing (S) vs. Intuitive (N)

Sensing reflects how people view and interpret the world around them. People who are sensing tend to be practical, realistic, and detail-oriented. On the other hand, people who rely on intuition focus more on patterns and possibilities rather than facts or details. Sometimes, N types are more likely to be risk-takers who value taking a chance and learning from mistakes.

Say, for example, that your team is working on a marketing project. An individual who is an S may prefer to focus on the details of the task at hand, such as researching potential target markets or creating a plan of action. On the other hand, someone with an N personality might be more interested in using past experience to test out different ideas.

Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)

Thinking refers to how people make decisions. Those who rely on thinking tend to be more logical and analytical. Those who are feeling-oriented generally focus on the emotions of a situation and consider the impacts it may have on others.

For instance, if your team is deciding on a project timeline, a T individual may opt to focus on completing tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. On the other hand, someone with a more F personality might suggest giving the team more time to allow for any unexpected issues or delays.

Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)

Judging reflects how people prefer to organize their lives. Individuals who are judging tend to be decisive and like to have structure in place. On the other hand, those with a perceiving preference may opt for spontaneity or flexibility, as they enjoy making changes on the fly.

An individual who identifies as a J may find it helpful to plan their day in advance and ensure all tasks are completed in order of priority. On the other hand, someone with a P personality could benefit from having some flexibility throughout the day and being able to shift tasks around as needed.

Examples of MBTI Results

When employees take the MBTI assessment, they end up with a four-letter personality type that reflects the dichotomies described above. Here are a few examples of the sixteen types:

  • ISTJ (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging): These individuals are practical and logical thinkers who prefer to work alone. They value structure and organization and have a strong sense of responsibility.
  • ENTP (Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving): These individuals are highly creative problem solvers energized by new ideas and challenges. They enjoy engaging in intellectual debates and developing innovative solutions to complex issues.
  • ISFP (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving): These individuals are gentle and sensitive souls who enjoy peaceful environments and deep connections. They often find small acts of kindness more meaningful than grand gestures.
  • ESFJ (Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging): These individuals are outgoing and value social harmony above all else. They strive to create a welcoming environment for everyone around them and take great pride in providing emotional support for family and friends.

When You Know Your Employees, You Can Help Them Thrive 

Familiarizing yourself with who your employees really are can help you build a stronger workforce. Everyone has their own tendencies, habits, and goals. Getting to know what your employees need, personally and professionally, enables you to help them thrive. And when employees thrive, businesses thrive, because everyone benefits from workforce wellness

And there’s no one-size-fits-all wellbeing solution. Just like every personality benefits from a different management style, every wellness journey needs a different support.  Some employees will benefit from weekly yoga classes. Others will find value in nutrition counseling, HITT workouts, guided at-home meditations, or sleep tracking. 

With thousands of wellbeing partners, Gympass has the support for every wellness journey. For help building a program that supports your company’s unique needs, connect with a Gympass wellbeing specialist today!

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Gympass Editorial Team

The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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