As an HR manager or manager in your company, you are probably extremely familiar with the diverse range of working styles and personalities in your workplace.
Depending on how it is managed (or mismanaged), this diversity can give rise to unique collaborative efforts and solutions, or on the flip side easily lead to unwanted conflict and miscommunication within the team.
To help managers like yourself, here’s a handy guide to some of the 4 most common working styles in the workplace which will cover 3 main areas:
- Understanding the different working styles
- Learning the best ways to work collaboratively with each working style
- How to manage them most effectively to maximize the potential of your workforce
The 4 Common Working Styles in The Workplace
For the uninitiated, a working style refers to the employee’s preferred method of completing tasks. Given one task, 4 different workers, may go about completing it in 4 completely different ways.
Understanding why they do so, and the motivations behind, help you as a manager to better tailor the way you work with them.
The Logical Worker
Logical workers are all about getting things done. Commonly termed as drivers, or doers, logical workers are hyper-focused in their tasks and like to approach problems head-on.
Strength: Because of their strong goal-oriented thinking and analytical mind, they are extremely efficient in getting tasks completed due to their focus and drive. And most importantly they are not easily fazed by challenges in their way and are super enthusiastic.
Weakness: Unfortunately, this single-mindedness to getting to the endpoint is a double-edged sword. Logical workers tend to neglect the softer side of getting things done, which includes communication and planning, which could dramatically affect team dynamics.
The Detail-Oriented Worker
Detail-oriented workers are thoughtful and meticulous workers, who prefer to work slowly and methodically to understand each detail before moving on. A great counterbalance to the logical worker.
Strength: Their strength lies in their ability to approach problems in a systematic and structured way, ensuring that all bases are covered. This ability to organize things helps to create a sense of order in any project for the rest of the team members to adhere to.
Weakness: Their step-by-step approach to work is due to their risk-adverse nature. This tends to result in them being much slower to adopt any new and unfamiliar solutions and ideas which could put a damper on creativity in general.
The Supportive Worker
The supportive worker is a natural collaborator in any team. Motivated by building harmonious relationships and emotional connections, they are key in helping different working styles collaborate well together.
Strength: They are great team players and are extremely proactive in working to understand their teammates and facilitating communication within the team.
Weakness: They are mainly responsible for the integration of the team, and less so at coming up with solutions or executing the work.
The Idea-Oriented Worker
Also known commonly as the leader, or big-picture person, the idea-oriented worker is all about new possibilities and the unknown. They are the vision-maker and catalyst for change, who gets everyone excited to pursue the latest big idea!
Strength: They are essential leadership figures in any team to help get everyone behind a common goal. They are incredibly inspirational and energizing which is key to getting any project off the ground in the first place.
Weakness: As with many big picture individuals, they tend to overlook details and execution, so teammates will need to help cover up for this lacking.
How To Encourage Collaboration Between Different Working Styles?
Now that you know of the different working styles, here are some tips on how you can best help encourage collaboration between different working styles within a diverse team.
One of the best starting points would be to help the various team members understand their unique working styles as well as the working styles of their teammates through a proper assessment workshop.
Understanding everyone’s working style can help employees better come up with plans on how they can better address the distinct differences between them.
The next step after being able to accept the differences between each other is to learn how to be flexible.
While certain working styles may clash on principle (like an overly eager goal-oriented logical worker versus a slow-paced detail-oriented worker), team members must learn to accommodate each other’s strengths.
Understand We All Have Weakness
A common problem with conflicting work styles is that people tend to see only the weakness in their fellow teammates but not themselves.
Being able to help each worker acknowledge that their working styles also come with imperfections, helps them do two things:
- Explore how to better improve on their imperfections.
- Appreciate teammates’ strengths help make up for their imperfections instead of focusing on their weaknesses
How To Manage the Different Working Styles to Maximize Their Potential?
As a manager assembling a team for a project or department, here are some ways you can go about managing them to help maximize their potential.
Leverage Their Strengths
After undergoing the exercise to uncover their individual working styles, you can now better understand the value each team member contributes and be able to assign them appropriate tasks that play to their strengths so they can thrive.
Clarify How Their Role Supports the Project
Expectations about the endgame may look very different to each team member depending on their working style. This is why it is critical to clarify expectations upfront and help them understand how their roles contribute to the end outcome.
Last but not least, depending on their working style, employees tend to utilize their time at work very differently.
Hence, instead of using the same approach for all, allowing them to manage their own time at work can potentially help them to optimize their productivity.
Ready to Maximize Your Team’s Potential?
Keen on re-evaluating your management approach for your teams after considering their different working styles but finding it difficult to find time for such an undertaking?
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