The four most common workplace personalities

July 24, 2019

Personality tests are a hotly contested topic. Perhaps you sniff at the idea of categorising employees into workplace personalities. And perhaps you sniff even more at the idea of using this information in your selection process, or to help you put people into teams.

But whatever you think about personality tests, you have to admit that Business Chemistry by Deloitte does a pretty good job of boiling the psychology down to four basic workplace personalities.

So today, I want to have a look at each of the four workplace personality types, according to the test by Business Chemistry. And perhaps we’ll look a little at how you could potentially use this information to boost diversity and improve teamwork.

1. The Pioneer

Pioneers are the sparks that set the fire burning. Spontaneous, social creatures, they love taking risks, and immersing themselves with new, often novel, ideas.

Business Chemistry describes pioneers as:

  • Outgoing
  • Spontaneous
  • Risk-Seeking
  • Adaptable
  • Imaginative

However, of the four workplace personalities, Pioneers can be the most detail averse. This means they may have trouble focusing on the smaller, often most crucial, details of a project.

Pioneers thrive when asked to come up with creative new ideas, or when exploring new and exciting possibilities. They thrive even better if they can do this while working alongside other people.

2. The Driver

If Pioneers spark the flame, then Drivers keep that fire burning. You see, when run out of steam, The Driver is often there to maintain the pace. This is because they love rising to meet a challenge, and will therefore often make sure a project sees its way through to its final end goal.

Business Chemistry decribes Drivers as:

  • Quantitative
  • Logical
  • Focused
  • Competitive
  • Deeply Curious

Drivers value competence, which means they may at times become impatient with seemingly foolish ideas. However, they certainly enjoy a sharp mind and a sharp wit – so pairing a Driver with somebody who has a clever sense of humour, can often yield interesting results.

3. The Integrator

Integrators hate confrontation. They are more interested in the relationships people have with each other, than the relationships people have with their work. As such, this makes them great diplomats, and excellent diffusers when team communication flares up.

Business Chemistry says that Integrators are:

  • Diplomatic
  • Empathic
  • Non-Confrontational
  • Traditional
  • Intrinsically Motivated

You might find that you attract more Integrators when your business exhibits strong moral values, and makes a point of treating employees well. However, Integrators are normally found in all workplaces, and thrive best when they can really get behind your cause.

4. The Guardian

Pioneers light the fire. Drivers keep it burning. Integrators make sure everybody gets their fair share of the heat. So what does The Guardian do?

Guardians value stability, and are focused on detail, detail, detail. In an otherwise chaotic environment, Guardians focus on the smallest of details, to bring even the wackiest situation into some semblance of order.

Business Chemistry describes Guardians as:

  • Methodical
  • Reserved
  • Practical
  • Structured
  • Loyal

Guradians are great people for making sure a project has not just been completed, but has been completed well. They will find the shortcomings other people could not see – and they will not rest until those details have been ironed out.

Which of the workplace personalities is the best?

No single workplace personality is “the best”. As you can see, all have strengths and weaknesses. And besides, the reality is that you will find people exist on more of a spectrum, than they do within individual boxes.

In a way, all four personalities complement each other – and if you’re too heavy on one, output may become a little lop sided. For a well-oiled workplace, ideally you want a good balance of the four workplace personalities. If possible, you want that balance to extend right down to the individual team structures.

Of course, that’s not always easy to ensure – and besides, the tests themselves used to determine these personalities, are not an exact science.

I wrote last week about how screening tests could be turning talented candidates away. So consider this before you introduce personality screening tests for each new person you employ.

The science behind the four workplace personalities

These four workplace personalities were expressly designed, by Deloitte, for use in a business context. They draw upon the latest analytics technologies, to reveal what they describe as “four scientifically based patterns of behaviour.”

What is interesting about the team behind these four personalities, is that the tests were put together by scientists from the fields of neuro-anthropology and genetics. They use modern technology, and a data-driven approach to working out the differences in people’s business styles.

Deloitte is a world-leading consulting company, and serves 80% of the Fortune Global 500 companies.

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