Over the past two and a half decades working in the specialty staffing business and observing many thousands of employees, I have created a few “professional personality types” based on my observations that help me manage human resources. Jack Welch at GE had his vitality curve, and my classification is by no means anywhere near as scientific or competitive. They are purely my observations. If you manage people, you know there is no cookie-cutter approach to motivation, coaching, training and reprimand. In this post, I hope to provide managers with a very simple overview of these types so that they can recruit and manage professionals more effectively. For me, my personal goal is to try and make everyone around me the best they can possibly be – this is always my motivation, bringing out the best in people. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail, but the goal remains the same. I hope some of these insights help you manage and bring out the best in the people you manage or work with.
So, here are my Professional Personality Types.
1. The Go-Getters
These professionals do what it takes to reach their professional goals, and then they do more. They work both hard and smart and find ways to overcome challenges and obstacles. These types work independently and are well prepared. They typically are the most successful professionals in any company. The natural tendency is to “leave them alone” as they are exceeding goals and expectations. If you want to get more out of these professionals, make sure you are active in their development with private coaching; moreover, to inspire them to be and do more.
2. The Hard Workers
We all know the professionals that tend to live in the office. A very common stereo type in Japan is that these types are not productive and are simply doing busy work (or waiting for their boss to leave). I have personally never found this to be the case. These professionals are very loyal and dedicated and are committed to getting their job done. Wouldn’t we all want this type working for us? To effectively mange these types, you must identify areas where they can be more productive. Also, it is the manager’s responsibility to balance work load and eliminate ineffective processes that can cause long working hours. Yes, we want these types of professionals, but if they live in the office, they will eventually burn out and we never want this to happen. Make them more productive because they could and will be your next Go-Getter!
3. The Smart
When you have very intelligent professionals working for your, it is your responsibility to put them to great use. Do your systems keep them confined? Does your management structure prevent them from speaking out? Create an environment where they can freely introduce new ideas, and equally important, challenge existing strategies or tactics. Moreover, if you have any projects that require a new way of looking at something, or an obstacle to overcome, assign it to these types and give them the time, tools and resources to deliver something that I am sure will impress.
4. The Scattered
We all have friends that seem to always lose their keys. These types are in our office as well. They are never really sure the purpose of meetings, or can’t seem to get their required tasks completed on time. These types typically have a workstation that is also in disarray. These types take more effort to manage. It could be that they had never be properly trained on effective time management, prioritization or opportunity costs. Put in the effort to train, personally or through third parties, coach and encourage. I have personally seen amazing transformations when their manager puts in the effort to help them change.
5. The Coasters
These types are actually smart and know how to just get by (i.e. coast through their professional careers). They have a touch of laziness in them but do enough to meet minimum requirements. If these minimum requirements are acceptable to the department or company, well, it does take “all types.” However, never settle and always focus and take action on making them the best. You never know, these types might surprise you. Over a period of time, if nothing changes, one idea is to bring more of the 1, 2 and 3 types into the team and this added competition will cause change, one way or another.
6. The Excuse Makers (a.k.a. The Complainers)
These types for me are the worst. Most times, they are unable to accept ownership of incomplete or incorrect work and are always blaming others or circumstances on the fact they are not productive in their work or make mistakes. In addition, these types also tend to complain about the state of things or their job and this leads to gossip and negativity. The only action I have found that works for these types is to demand an explanation if they have failed on a promised task, activity or have made negligent mistakes. Dissect the excuse, review in detail the reasoning and question their decision process at each step. This takes a lot of work and patience and for some, these types respond well and the excuses and complaints slow and eventually evaporate. For most, they do not. Replace them as soon as possible.
7. The Lazy
You know the type. They start and end work exactly at the time required, no matter if they have accomplished their tasks or not. They are unphased that their lack of productivity negatively affects others. These types need to be given very specific instructions on what is expected. If over a reasonable period of time they are not living up to these expectations or other requirements, replace them as soon as possible. I have no patience for laziness.
These are my Professional Personality Types at a glance with just a little insight on how to manage them. I do hope that it was useful in some way to managers and aspiring managers of professionals. I also hope the short and specific points help you bring out the best in everyone that works for you!