Personality Alignment 101

Workplace Personality Management Skills

One of the greatest challenges in management is how to get maximum production from the different personality types within the workforce. A manager needs to bring harmony to the chaos and what works with one personality type may totally alienate another. This article explores the latest tools available to help the manager understand their own style and the other personality styles within their team. These tools help the manager understand how to interact with the other personality types to create better business results. This creates a work place that is more enjoyable for both the Manager and the Employee.

Have you ever had an employee who just didn’t seem to click with you? Or perhaps you’ve been the employee, frustrated with your own supervisor’s management style. It can be difficult to know how to overcome this barrier effectively.

In my role as a coach to managers and supervisors, I’ve noticed a basic assumption that most of them have, which is: “I should know how to do this.” If you take a moment to examine this expectation, that two strangers brought together because of shared professional ability should immediately click and work well with each other, it’s clear that it just isn’t realistic.

Starting from the beginning then, how do you build an effective working relationship with the people you supervise? And does it really matter?

The quality of the relationship between Manager (executive, director, supervisor, team leader) and employee significantly impacts employee performance. Managers and employees who understand each other’s style are highly productive and engaged. However, Managers who are “out of sync” with their employees often cause low productivity, dwindling morale and high excessive employee turnover.

*A significant factor that drives employee engagement and productivity is their relationship with their boss.

* Research consistently shows the primary reason employees leave a company is because of conflict with their Manager.

The more a Manager understands an employee, the more effective they can be. There are many ways to build a foundation of understanding. The first key is to understand yourself. Take a few minutes to make an honest assessment of your management style.

How do you communicate with those you supervise? Do you prefer email, phone, in-person? Do you like small talk and pleasantries, or do you get right to business?

What is your style of feedback delivery? Do you give ongoing feedback? Do you wait until something very positive or negative has happened to warrant an actual meeting or memo?

What are your expectations for updates on work duties? Do you expect regular status reports, or do you expect the employee to just get the job done when you assign them a task?

How do you respond to questions from employees? Do you like people to approach you as questions come up, or do constant interruptions just irritate you? Do you prefer to have questions emailed to you in one batch?

There are no right or wrong answers on these. The important thing is to understand your style, so you know your own strengths and weaknesses. From there, you can start to use these same questions to evaluate your employee’s work style. These are just a few questions to get you started; there are many other things you can measure and assess in understanding your work and management style.

However, if you do have an HR Manager or other coach or mentor available, I highly recommend that after making your self-assessment, you then look at areas where you can refine your style to be more effective. Do you have an employee who loves to stop at your desk and chat about inane questions? If you prefer to be business-oriented and direct in your interaction, rather than just cutting the employee off, you may shift your style to meet in the middle. By asking a simple question, whether weather-related or weekend-plan related, and really listening for a minute or two while they answer, you can establish a relationship with that employee that’s going to help them feel more appreciated and engaged.

Another valuable tool that YPP uses with its own corporate employees and with many of our clients is an assessment designed to measure this very issue. At YPP, we use the Profiles WorkForce CompatibilityTM, which is a valuable management tool that combines insight into the unique working characteristics that can impact the employee/manager relationship, along with actionable information on how the employee and Manager can best work together.

Every employee/manager relationship is unique and requires a different management strategy to achieve best results. For example, the relationship and management strategies between a highly decisive boss and a highly decisive employee will be significantly different than the relationship the boss has with a less decisive employee. The decisive employee thrives on quick decisions, while the other will be more methodical in their decision-making approach, potentially conflicting with the faster-paced Manager. A “one size fits all” management approach used for both employees will likely result in frustration for everyone.

There is no best-practices manual for understanding today’s workforce, but understanding, knowing and tailoring corporate job offerings to a changing workforce puts an organization and its decision-makers in control in order to raise engagement levels.

Engaged employees are excited and enthusiastic about their jobs. They resist distractions, tend to forget about time and routinely produce significantly more than the job requires. They enjoy searching for ways to improve circumstances and volunteer for difficult assignments. They also encourage others to higher levels of performance. Finally, they are proud to be involved with their organization and are more likely to stay with the company. In the end, there are many benefits and advantages to understanding engagement levels. Companies with this knowledge have higher retention rates, superior customer service and realize enhanced bottom-line results.

By knowing your own style as a manager, knowing your employees’ styles, and taking decisive action to bridge the two, you are actually contributing to the bottom line of your business. Whether accomplished by careful observation or assessment, the maxim “know thyself” is essential for every manager to follow.

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