How Managers Use Personality

Modern workplaces can sometimes feel very disconnected.

The faster teams grow, the more difficult it can be to get to know everyone personally. When you are the one responsible for helping everyone work together toward a larger goal, there are a few difficulties that can feel especially daunting:

  • Creating and maintaining a well-balanced, holistic team
  • Knowing how to effectively delegate responsibilities
  • Resolving workplace conflict without prolonged, unnecessary stress

Anyone who manages a team knows how challenging it can be to balance everyone’s unique way of thinking, working, and communicating; it can feel nearly impossible to maintain a calm, efficient, connected work environment. 

Some managers respond to this difficulty by simply accepting that the workplace will be uncomfortable or challenging-and they refuse to adapt their leadership style to fit with others. Unfortunately, many of these managers are stuck in an unhealthy view of power and dominance, which can make work environments inefficient, uninviting, and fragile. By operating with this mentality, managers are certain to lose some of their best employees to workplaces that take the time to invest in their abilities. 

The best managers know that a team will work more effectively when people feel valued, connected, and reasonably challenged. When leaders make an effort to understand everyone’s unique strengths and growth areas, they can help build a well-rounded, happy team. 

Here at Crystal, we’ve developed tools to easily understand how different people work and communicate. Our new, Personality AI technology can quickly assess an individual’s personality and offer advice on finding energizing roles or responsibilities for them, which can make leading a team much easier. 

Though personality is often a less-considered factor in many workforces, making an effort to learn more about different personalities and how they best work together can make a major difference in effectively managing teams. By intentionally investing a little time and energy into personality, you can help your team feel motivated by and committed to their jobs.

Introducing DISC

At Crystal, we use a framework called DISC to better understand individual personalities. This classifies personalities into a few categories that we refer to as D (dominance), I (influence), S (steadiness), and C (conscientiousness). By categorizing personalities in this way, we can communicate with others in a way that helps them understand and relate to us. For example, a prospect who is an S-type (supportive and people-oriented) is unlikely to appreciate a data-focused, impersonal conversation. They may become bored or frustrated, missing the point of the discussion entirely. On the other hand, if they were a C-type (analytical and questioning), they would probably appreciate a discussion that focuses on specific, concrete facts and avoids involving personal feelings. To read more about DISC types, visit our Personality Hub.

Understand the diverse perspectives on each team

Every team has its own, diverse set of perspectives. Whether it’s a team of three or a team of three hundred, people are bound to have unique ways of interpreting the world. However, the cumulation of these different personalities and perspectives makes for a more well-rounded, capable team.

Build balanced teams

Because everyone brings different strengths and blind spots to a work environment, it’s important to hire a diverse group of people to help create a balanced company. You don’t want to hire an excess of assertive, strong-willed D-types, neglecting to consider the importance of people-oriented, patient, thoughtful S-types. Similarly, it’s important to bring in analytical, data-focused C-types who can help add reason and practical thinking to I-types’ creative, idealistic ideas.

As you hire different types of people, you should consider how their personalities will fit within the positions you have to offer.

Delegate the right responsibilities

People tend to thrive in roles that suit their personality. Though their roles can extend beyond what typically helps them feel energized, people will likely feel more comfortable and excited by tasks that allow them to engage with work in a way that comes naturally for them. 

Dominant D-types tend to thrive in roles that allow them to set ambitious goals and produce significant, measurable results. They may feel drained if required to work slowly and meticulously or invest a great deal of time in building very long-term relationships with clients.

Creative, innovative I-types do well in positions that allow them to meet new people and pursue new ideas. They will likely feel drained and overwhelmed if they need to constantly follow an unnecessary, detailed routine or work closely with detailed facts and data.

Supportive, people-oriented S-types tend to thrive in positions that grant them security, stability, and predictability. They are energized by group cooperation and loyalty. S-types may feel drained if they need to frequently be assertive and blunt or work at a strict, fast pace.

Analytical, independent C-types thrive in roles that allow them to work on their own, follow a routine/schedule, and demonstrate expertise. They may be drained by responsibilities that require them to carefully work through emotionally-charged issues or meet with large groups of new people. 

It’s important to help everything run as smoothly as possible by giving people responsibilities that allow them to succeed. When everyone is happy and comfortable with the work they are doing, the company culture as a whole will be positive and inviting.

Resolve conflict

Just as people have different skills and perspectives, they also have different ways of managing conflict, meaning that tensions with each personality type should be handled differently.

D-types tend to be headstrong and straight-forward; they openly communicate what they’re thinking. When resolving conflict with D-types hold your ground and encourage them to take responsibility for their part, but give them a chance to arrive at some conclusions on their own. Avoid micromanaging or controlling their actions.

When working through conflict with an I-type, try to maintain a positive, open mind. Because they tend to avoid causing offense, they may not always communicate how they’re feeling, so pay close attention to their facial expressions. Avoid escalating an argument beyond the specific issue at hand.

In tense situations, S-types will feel more comfortable when you maintain a calm, diplomatic approach, ask them clarifying questions, and reassure them about shared goals. Because they may feel uncomfortable disagreeing or arguing, don’t assume things are resolved simply because they didn’t push back. Instead, focus on helping them feel comfortable enough to open up.

Conflict with C-types should be approached with a logical mindset. Be sure to use data and evidence to prove your points. Avoid questioning their abilities or using overly emotional language.

Unnecessary stress and anxiety can be avoided by learning to address difficult situations in a way that helps others feel comfortable and understood. By investing time to carefully resolve conflict, managers can help the team stay focused and calm.

Put in the work

Though there is no “magic formula” to running the perfect team, there are certainly significant ways to optimize. Making an effort to really understand how your team works and communicates is an important step in the right direction. By showing up and leading with effective communication, you can prevent unnecessary frustration, stress, and conflict and keep your team working efficiently toward a larger, shared goal.

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