Managing Personalities in The Workplace (chapter 3)

I think that managers, I being one of them, fall into an easy trap when it comes to understanding the personalities of their employees and determining how to motivate these employees.  Many of us subconsciously use the Big Five personality model approach without even thinking.  We make assumptions based on outward appearances, without taking the time to look within.  And, understanding not only outward and inward personalities but behaviors of employees as well has become even more critical as we try to find inexpensive and meaningful ways to reward our employees.

That’s why I like to bring my employees through personality tests like Myers-Briggs or DISC.  It gives me a much more objective way of understanding why employees do what they do and a better sense of how I can motivate each individual employee. 

For instance, being an E S/N TP, I am very self directed and can handle most change with ease.  Other folks on my team, who are categorized by I F and J (MBIT) or C in DISC have had a much harder time with the change that has taken place over the past few years at my company.  Before I understood their personality traits, I really could not effectively manage my people.  I was constantly butting heads with them and they weren’t even coming close to meeting my expectations.  With the help of our corporate trainer, I was able to educate myself on how they need to receive information and tasks and they learned how they could better interact with me on the tasks to which they were assigned. 

Now, this probably seems like a “well duh” moment for me.  But, I believe that managers, without proper training in the ways of personality testing, more often than not fall into this employee relations trap.  We are most comfortable managing our employees in the manner that we would like to be managed.  And, very rarely in life do you have employees that operate in the same manner as you.  So what is a manager to do? 

  1. Get their employees tested—but make the process fun
  2. Explain why you are doing the testing and what they testing results will be used for
  3. Go over the results as a team—the results will sometimes shock the group and lead to better group cohesion
  4. Change your management style—learn and adapt from the information your employees have so graciously provided
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