Understanding The 4 Personality Types At Work

This original article by Helen Mitas was published in Women with Drive
Sponsored by Porsche

The workplace is full of different personality types. According to the DiSC profiling, a behavioural assessment tool, everyone falls into one of four broad categories of behavioural traits: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness.

Profiling helps us understand how other team members prefer to work, and this helps the whole team collaborate to achieve the necessary outcomes. Here is what you need to know about the four different personality types in order to work well with each one of them.


These are the people who get things done effectively and efficiently. They like to be in charge, work well under pressure and respect those who speak their mind. While they appreciate a clear direction for tasks assigned to them, they also enjoy being given the freedom to complete that task.

Being so task orientated, they can become impatient when things are not moving quickly enough or in the direction they believe is correct. They are also able to disengage emotionally from their work environment and can be so focused on achieving their own goals that they are sometimes unaware of their co-workers’ emotions.

Keep them on side by:

  • assigning them leadership roles
  • allowing them their own space to work
  • giving them clear and specific instructions, timeframes and outcomes
  • not expecting them to engage emotionally in a situation
  • not wasting their time with trivialities and small talk


They are the “social butterflies” of the team. They exude enthusiasm and are generally well liked. While they are the perfect organisers for a social event, make sure they have backup because they are not renowned for their attention to detail.

Appearance is important to this group hence their love for designer labels and keeping up with the latest trends. It matters greatly to them what other people think about them. They also have a strong need for approval and love being complimented or acknowledged for their achievements.

Deep down they fear humiliation, which means they do not take negative feedback very well. If you do need to give them constructive criticism, start by first acknowledging their strengths and efforts. And make sure you are genuine as they can tell when someone is trying to butter them up.

Keep them on side by:

  • letting them express their enthusiasm
  • setting time-sensitive goals for them
  • acknowledging their progress and genuinely complimenting them
  • teaming them up with others who are more detailed oriented
  • not addressing their mistakes in public
  • giving them a glass of champagne and a crowd in which to network!


Their life revolves around groups and their workspace is likely decorated with photos of family and friends. Because they have other interests in life, they prefer to keep work life to a 9-5 routine.

This group is known for taking their time to think things through and carefully planning how to execute a task to ensure they iron out all the wrinkles. Working at a slow pace, they demonstrate creativity in their work that can inspire other team members. They are people orientated, extremely thoughtful and other team members approach them for advice and counsel.

Keep them on side by:

  • asking for their input in relation to human resource matters
  • getting them to plan a project or task and assign tasks
  • getting their feedback on team morale and interactions
  • involving them in detail checks
  • getting them to manage team games
  • taking an interest in their weekend activities


This group enjoys security and knowing what is expected of them. They work for the long-term and often stay in the same position for many years providing reliable, consistent service. They take on responsibilities and are great when you are working out the finer details of any project.

They tend to work at a slower pace than others because they do not want to make mistakes. However their passion for detail causes them to get lost in the facts and figures, which can frustrate the rest of the team. Once they are pursuing an activity, they do not like being interrupted and do not respond well to changes in the plan. Their goal is to achieve consistency and they stay on track, no matter what.

Their lack of adaptability and spontaneity can be annoying to others but when you need to know exactly how a project needs to be managed, they are your best source.

Keep them on side by:

  • assigning them the project’s budget or plan
  • requesting reports on progress throughout the process
  • allowing them to work at their pace
  • giving them a task to complete on their own
  • not changing plans midstream or expecting them to adapt quickly to any changes

By understanding the different behaviours that drive individual team members, you can assign tasks and roles that best suit their personalities and work activities. Allocate tasks where their skills complement or balance the dominant traits of the others, and remember these dominant traits when managing or working with your team to gain the best results for each individual as well as the business.
Helen Mitas

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