Work styles involve the way people interact with each other, think, and get things done. No style is better than any other style. For any team to thrive, it needs different people, ideas, and work techniques.
When managers hire new team members, they have to decide if the individual’s style will work well with everyone else in the group. Managers can accomplish more by determining the different work styles on the team, leveraging each person’s strengths, and making sure each style is represented during each project. By learning about these different styles, you can make it easier for your team members to get along and to do their best work.
Types of Work Styles
Each office has several essential types of work styles and savvy leaders know the best teams include diverse workers. When you have different people, styles, and thinkers on a team, you are able to achieve a higher level of success.
If everyone has the same style, it will quickly lead to collaboration problems and other issues. When everyone in a group is organized and plan-focused, you can miss out on things that idea makers and dreamers could bring to the table. Likewise, having a team full of idea-oriented people can make it harder to put your plans into action.
Leaders are all about inspiring other people to follow their dreams and visions for the future. People want to listen and follow the leader. Each team needs one or more people to work as a leader.
While these individuals excite and inspire a team, they can sometimes be detached. They may not realize what it takes to achieve their vision or how to check in with their team’s progress.
A doer is all about getting things done. When there is nothing to do, they may be apathetic, bored, and disinterested. As soon as you give them a goal, they come alive and start checking items off their to-do list.
In most instances, a doer is extremely focused and work driven. They may sometimes forget to think through their actions before they do something, which can lead to potential mistakes or other problems. Another common issue is when the doer jumps head first into the project without communicating with their team.
Lovers are always important to have on a project because they can transform a group of individuals into a cohesive team. These individuals bring a sense of harmony and consensus to the group. They assist with forming the relationships on the team.
People typically enjoy working with lovers because this type of person is so empathetic and understanding. Unfortunately, they aren’t particularly detail-oriented or driven to get things done. Team members feel great around them, but the lover often needs someone else to nudge them into action.
A learner is someone who enjoys gaining new knowledge and looking at all sides of a problem. They are typically disciplined employees who look at the big picture when determining strategies. While they are amazing at researching a problem, they aren’t always ready to act on their ideas.
Because they are so deliberate, they need other people to initiate their ideas into action. Without a doer, a learner typically won’t achieve their true potential.
This is one of the work styles which tends to seek consensus. These people are diplomatic and prefer to connect people. They are like the glue that keeps the team together.
Having similar characteristics to a lover as mentioned above, integrators are more focused on getting team members to collaborate and work effectively together.
This kind of employee is all about taking risks. They are at the forefront of new ideas and love finding different possibilities in life. When these pioneers are in a group, they want to look at the big picture and spark everyone into life.
Because they are high energy and prone to spontaneous decisions, pioneers need support from other team members to do their best. They can get everyone to charge ahead toward a brilliant innovation, but someone else has to lay the foundation for these sometimes elaborate dreams.
This is one of the types of work styles which performs best on fact-based decisions. They love logic and will rally their research skills to solve a problem. A driver might be good at finding the facts, but they also thrive on achieving the best results to any challenge.
A driver is a goal-oriented person who loves to win. Because of this, they can often feel bored or uninterested when doing routine or tedious tasks. Drivers would much rather take charge and create a new project than maintain an ongoing, repetitive activity.
When it comes to the workplace, guardians love order and stability. They have a pragmatic attitude toward life and often avoid taking risks. Because of this, they put extra thought into everything they do. Unlike pioneers or drivers, a guardian will rarely push straight ahead.
Instead, guardians will devote more of their time to thinking about doing than actually doing anything. They are great people to have in a group because of their thoughtfulness, but managers will generally need a doer, pioneer, or driver as well to get things going.
While these eight work styles are quite common in the workplace, there are also in-between options as well. Some people have traits from two or more styles. Because of this, it is important for managers to understand the different work styles of their employees so they can figure out how to get everyone to work together more cohesively.
What Is Your Work Style?
What is your work style? Are you a pioneer who wants to discover new ideas or a lover who wants everyone to get along?
If you are like most people, you may be a blend of more than one of these styles. The best way to figure out your specific style is to review the way you behave at work. Think about things like what motivates you, what activities bring you happiness, and the role you generally take in a team setting.
Do people turn to you for your leadership skills on projects? You might be a leader or a doer. If people ask you for help when they are feeling down, you could be a lover or an integrator.
Sometimes, it is hard to tell what your workplace role is because you obviously aren’t an objective observer. One way to figure out your general personality traits is through the Myers-Briggs Personality test. This self-taken test allows you to get an idea of your psychological preferences and how you make decisions in life.
You can also consider your past experiences to figure out your role in the workplace. Look at the jobs you have performed the best at or times you’ve been promoted. Most people are more likely to be promoted when they take a job where they are able to naturally use their inner work style.
If you are still uncertain, try talking to a trusted friend, co-worker, or even your superior. While no one is perfectly objective, a friend or co-worker can give you an outside opinion on the role you play at work. Once you know which role you tend to cast yourself in, you can improve your job performance by improving your strengths and working on your weaknesses.
How to Manage Different Work Styles
Knowing your own work preferences and the strengths of your team members is key to building an effective company. The next step is to figure out how to manage these different work styles. If you want your team to reach their peak productivity, you need to manage each style in a way that suits their personality.
To manage different styles at work, you first have to recognize them and then work to leverage each style. Your data-oriented learner will do well at analyzing data and solving complex problems. Meanwhile, your guardian should be in charge of making sure projects are done on time and everything is in order
A pioneer will do best finding solutions and brainstorming different ways to reach a goal. The supportive lover can handle team relationships and persuading stakeholders to stick to the project’s main idea.
Once you have rallied your team together, you must determine the best way to get them on the same page. Share the big-picture idea for your project and your overarching company vision. Everyone may have a different way of working, but the end goal of the project should be the same.
Remember, there are benefits to team friction, but too much can be a bad thing. If everyone agrees all the time, someone on the team likely isn’t expressing themselves completely. When team members are afraid of rocking the boat, it can lead your team to miss out on potential ideas or new ways of thinking.
It is important to make room for different ideas or voices and also recognize the different communication styles each of your team members uses. Once someone pushes for one idea, there can be a psychological tendency for a team debate to set in. And the only way to change or prevent this from getting out of hand is by getting everyone to share their ideas, even if they don’t initially volunteer the ideas on their own.
While knowing how to manage each style is important, managers will have an easier time if they plan for different styles in advance. When you hire new employees or team members, consider which applicants will work well with the rest of the team.
Determine the Different Work Styles Around Your Office
There are many work styles you will see at the office. For you and your employees to reach your full potential, it is important to figure out which role you play in the office. Honest reviews, feedback, and personality tests can give you a better understanding of your role in a team.
Managers should spend extra time understanding their employees and team members. For your team to work together, you need to have a careful balance of strengths and weaknesses. Your ideal group will be able to support each other because they work in harmony.
If you want to learn more about different styles and how to manage each style better, get started by identifying your own unique work style.
Also, make sure to check out Toggl Plan’s project management software as an additional way to improve the use of your team’s varying work styles.
Logan Derrick is a full-time business writer and content marketing strategist. For years, he has worked closely with several project management professionals, learning from them and increasing his own knowledge of the industry. Having held multiple management positions in fields ranging from customer service to marketing, Logan has found a passion for helping others learn about project management, marketing, and the powerful tools available to professionals today.