Managing different types of personalities can be challenging for an employer who has a mix of employees. As a manager, it's your job to make sure everyone on your team is being as productive as possible, even if you have to treat everyone a little bit different to do so.
The more effective you are at flexing your managing style, the more effective your employees can carry out their assignments. Devora Zack writes in her book, Managing for People Who Hate Managing, "Flexing your style means being versatile in how you lead, communicate and motivate. A tough approach propels one employee; mild-mannered encouragement inspires another. Being flexible requires proficiency in a range of techniques; to draw upon as needed."
To learn more about how to manage different types of personalities, I read through Zack's book and consulted career expert Dan Schawbel for the best ways to manage a worker who hates being managed. Here are five takeaways you can use with your team:
1. Identify your employee’s personality type.
Understanding how to manage different personality types in the workplace starts with identifying your employee’s personality types. Finding out if your employees are thinkers or feelers will make it much easier to manage them. Thinkers are more prone to making decisions based solely on logic, while feelers make their decisions based on relationships and value what is "good" over what is objectively best for the team. If you're not sure who fits which type, gauge how they react the next time someone disagrees with them, and you'll have your answer.
After identifying the types of personalities, you can adjust your managing style to their way of working. Be more sensitive to the feelers and focus more on your talking points when dealing with thinkers.
2. Build a relationship with your team.
To connect with people with different personalities, you can try building a relationship with them first. You can build these relationships by being respectful, showing your appreciation, and communicating with your team. If you are successful at this, you might be surprised at how loyal they become. "Results and relationships are intertwined, even inseparable," Zack writes.
3. Collaborate on individual goals and objectives.
When people do standard work, they feel mediocre about their jobs, and even praise won't help them get out of this rut. "They recognize that their manager has a low bar, so they do, too. They feel average about the work product as well," Zack writes.
Instead, collaborate with your employees to establish goals and objectives that they can achieve . Because most workers, especially the ones who don't like being managed, actually feel the way they do because they're independent and creative. Use their skills associated with their personality types to your advantage.
4. Find out what motivates your employees.
It’s important to find out what motivates your employees. When it comes to younger workers, freedom, flexibility, and trust are the most important characteristics of their ideal workspace, Schawbel says.
This population is also known for wanting mentorships with their managers, so be willing to provide them regular feedback instead of annual reviews. Better yet, take it one step further and create leadership development programs where your younger workers aren't just being told what to do, but they're also being trained to move beyond their job descriptions.
5. Don’t take things personally.
If you're going to properly manage different types of personalities in a team—especially if they despise hierarchy—you need to remember to not take their reluctance to follow your directions too personally. Identify their personality types, win over their trust, and you can start to see things change for the better.
A version of this article was originally published on October 08, 2012.
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