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Managing different personality types

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​Recent research from multiple sources has shown that many people have left a role due to bad management/leadership. It is essential that people in leadership positions build relationships and trust with those in their teams. There are lots of factors to being what is considered a ‘good leader’ and one of those things is understanding and adapting your management style to different personality types.

A personality is individual to everyone. Some describe a personality as a set of particular traits, others the way in which we behave. One thing for certain – a personality influences the way we work.

So when it comes to managing different types of personalities, where do you start?

Personality tests

This is not only a great way for individuals to learn about themselves and be more aware of the reasoning behind certain characteristics they portray, it also helps managers by identifying the different personality types they have in their teams and in doing so can adapt their approach.

Most recognised and reliable tests include Myers Briggs, The Big Five and DiSC assessment. You can outsource this to a company who have specialists visit your workplace, run workshops, and conduct the tests. This can be a good way for team members and colleagues to explore other personality types besides theirs. This way they get exposure to different perspectives and ways of working.

As an example, The Big Five personality test (described as the most scientific test and backed by psychologists) uses the following 5 qualities to measure individual differences*;

  • Openness - How open a person is to new ideas and experiences

  • Conscientiousness - How goal-directed, persistent, and organized a person is

  • Extraversion - How much a person is energized by the outside world

  • Agreeableness - How much a person puts others' interests and needs ahead of their own

  • Neuroticism - How sensitive a person is to stress and negative emotional triggers

Personality clashes

It’s important to be aware of conflict in your teams. Personality clashes can come from differences in values, beliefs, and opinions etc. These issues may cause tension, changing the atmosphere of an office place and decreasing productivity. Being able to spot behavioural changes and address conflict swiftly, is a skill any individual in a managerial position needs to have under their belt. Understanding how individuals in your team are going to react to situations can help you manage the situation more effectively and could lead to speedy, positive resolution between staff. The last thing you want is ongoing friction between colleagues – especially if they work closely on projects etc.

Get to know your team

Find out what motivates each person and utilise the information to boost their productivity and enthusiasm. Work with them individually to come up with goals and objectives that align to their set of skills so they are more achievable. Build a working relationship with them so they feel they can open up to you and come to you with ideas and on the flip side, concerns. Trust is a vital part of any good relationship. Your team will feel more valued and appreciated if they know their manager cares and takes the time to adapt their management style to each persons needs.



*Taken from


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