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Eureka: Personality types at the workplace Eureka: Personality types at the workplace
by Jay Gutman
2017-11-10 10:34:33
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There are three different personality types you can encounter in the workplace: emotional personality type, factual personality type and narrative personality type. Having worked with all three, here's what you can expect. At the end, I'll provide tips on how to optimize the workplace by balancing personality types.

person01The emotional personality type: They are talkative types, but their talk is filled with emotion. They react emotionally to orders, and give orders based on how they feel emotionally rather than based on the real needs of the company. If they are happy they might send you on a business trip in some exotic location for a low-stakes meeting. If they are angry they might dump a huge pile of useless files on your desk and give you unreasonable deadlines to get the work done.

The emotional type works based on positive and negative emotions. If they get praise, get promoted, get a pay raise or get any other event that promotes their value within the company, they will be a pleasant colleague, praise other workers, sometimes excessively. If they get rebuked, they will take their anger down on their colleagues.

You will notice that the emotional type does not use flat tones. It is always either pride or anger. They might vent their frustration or yell their pride, but there's rarely a middle ground. The emotional type can be dangerous to colleagues as they might take their anger down on highly performing colleagues or even fire highly performing colleagues based on a whim. They rarely regret such decisions. They might also decide to promote someone who doesn't deserve such pomp based on a whim, and will not regret the decision. They might cancel a lucrative deal based on a whim, or sign a dubious deal based on a whim.

Advantages of the emotional type is that they usually don't tolerate nonsense. They will tell you upfront if they feel insulted or hurt, and will go the extra mile to get what they believe is just, even if that involves stalking or other morally dubious forms to get their way. The disadvantage of the emotional type is that they can have all all or nothing attitude and can blow very lucrative deals and not show an ounce of regret.

The factual personality type: They are the complete opposite of the emotional type. They stick to the facts and procedures, and are very careful not to get work done outside the procedure. They notice the slightest mistakes and immediately demand that those get corrected. Any decision they take will be based on procedure, that is they hire based on procedure, fire based on procedure and promote based on procedure.

Emotions don't play an important role in the factual type and they rarely notice something out of the ordinary. To them skills are facts, getting work done is a fact, problems in the office are viewed factually. If there's any problem at the office, they'll take the procedure guidebook and see what it says in terms of solving the problem.

Factual types tend to ritualize work, will often have clear and organized desks with every object and document in the place it should be, have rituals in terms of what order documents should be in, and pay careful attention to seating arrangements between colleagues. They tend to view conversation with suspiscion, and to them only the facts count. Don't bother them with how you feel about the work done or backstories of how it got done, they only want to know what the results were.

Advantages of the factual personality type is that work with them tends to be predictable, clean and organized and you will know what to expect at work the next day, week, month, perhaps even year. Things tend to be in order at the company, you'll get your pay on time and your rights will be upheld. Disadvantages of the factual type is that there tends to be little out-of-the-box thinking, and that the work environment tends to be very rigid. In some cases rules can be very hard to bend, and for those who don't like the rules, regardless of their talents or usefulness at the company, it's their way or the highway.

Narrative personality types: You know that guy who comes to the office and has that story about that book he read or about that restaurant he went to, then starts narrating each step he needs to get done at work, before he starts talking about the football league and analyzing different sports. Three hours later they'll go to the office, usually do the work with great lucidity, and half an hour before lunch break they will start discussing lunch options with you. Then they'll spend the afternoon discussing evening plans with breaks in between where they get the work done, again with great lucidity, unbelievably they beat every single deadline and are ready to start their evening. Those guys and girls who always have a story to tell yet always seem to get the work done in between. Some say it's the result that counts, not the procedure, others will fire them because they believe they are paid to work 8 hours a day, not talk 7 hours and work one hour.

Narrative types need the full story to get the work done. If they don't get the story they'll make one up. The advantage is they give a great deal of details in their story, and are open to questions and conversation, which leaves clients with little uncertainty on how the product works and on what to do next.

The advantage with narrative personality types is that you get the full picture on how the work needs to get done. They are very good at training newcomers or anyone who needs training on the job and will provide the full picture on how to get the work done. Customers also rely on their detailed accounts. The disadvantages are that some really want to get to the point, others get irritated by long accounts and long stories. Some view their talking as excessive chatting, while others complain about losing focus because they have to listen to the narrative types' stories. Narrative types can end up isolated in the office, because others may complain that their excessive talking makes them lose focus on their work.

How to balance things out. Everyone needs an emotional type because they tend to go the extra mile to get the deal sealed although they tend to lack flexibility and tend to prefer doing things their way. They tend to do well in sales although putting them in human resources would be a terrible idea as they might scare the rest of your team out. You may want to leave them out of anything too technical as well, although anything related to customer service might work well for them. They tend to be excellent hooks and catch customers very easily, but you may want them to work with people who come and go, and may not want to them to have co-dependent relations with anyone on the team.

Everyone needs a factual type. They do very well in human resources, accounting or anything that demands rigidity. They tend to do rather poorly in sales and communication because they tend to stick to procedure, and are not the creative type. Anything related to engineering, electronics or computers and they'll do great, although again they tend to stick to procedure. Anything meticulous is good for them.

Everyone needs a narrative type. A mistake would be to put them in anything too meticulous or time-consuming like accounting, or any job where they are left in a dark room. Any job that demands creativity or storytelling and they'll do great. Anything related to training and you've found the right people, as they tend to be clear and efficient. Anything that has to do with communication, mediation or arbitration and they'll tend to do superb jobs as well.



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