The ABCs of Managing Different Personalities

Posted by Kathi Guiney on September 27, 2017, Management Issues | No Comments

The person who always has an idea. The person who shouts when they’re excited. The person who wants to lead every meeting.

Your office is a melting pot! Each person thinks, acts, and interacts with others through a predictable set of personality traits: you know them as personality types A, B, and C. Social nature, temperament, and even the jobs people enjoy all fit under these personality profiles. Managers and HR professionals who understand these personality types can adapt strategies for recruitment, management style, motivation, and job assignments, that make the most of their human resources.

To get started, let’s look at the three personality types, how to best manage them, and examples of roles well suited to each.


The Personality: Hurried, competitive, and a bit stressed, Type A employees are movers and shakers. This personality can come across as aggressive, even hostile, in its drive to get everything done right, right away. Type A usually prefers to work independently and to get right down to business.

Management Tips: Because of their take-charge, goal-oriented nature, Type A personalities are well suited for leadership roles. They prefer to self-manage and self-motivate—a cautionary tale for anyone who would micromanage them! Their competitive nature, both within themselves and with others, is often enough to keep them on task. Performance incentives also work well for Type A, so they can work toward specific goals.

Ideal Roles: Salespeople, managers, business owners


The Personality: Talkative, energetic, but often distracted, Type B loves the limelight and the excitement that goes with it. This personality needs people to like them and pay attention to them. Type B likes to be social, and can be very persuasive speakers, but their focus on the finer details can get lost in the excitement.

Management Tips: Type B loves to have fun, and their greatest reward in the office is often a social one. This personality thrives in team settings and wherever they are free to interact with others (coworkers, customers, vendors) throughout the day. A charismatic Type B is also the natural choice to plan office parties or administer employee surveys. From a management standpoint, it may help to spend more time working closely with Type B employees, not only to make sure they check all their boxes, but to help foster a sense of belonging and collaboration.

Ideal Roles: Party planners, marketing specialists, public speakers


The Personality: Analytical, detail-oriented, and serious, Type C personalities are careful about everything they do, sometimes to a fault. This personality likes facts and numbers, which can be verified and relied upon during decision-making. Type C employees are consistent and dependable, but also keenly sensitive.

Management Tips: Type C is the go-to personality for details and accuracy. They do well in clear-cut or data-driven activities, where style and presentation are less important. Motivate this personality by giving them complex, detail-oriented challenges they can complete on their own. (Group and leadership tasks do not typically appeal to this personality.) Stay mindful of Type C’s time management skills, as they can get bogged down by the details—but also be careful if you criticize them. They can be sensitive and may become resentful when angered or criticized.

Ideal Roles: Copy editors, accountants, programmers

Not all people are created from the same mold, so no one management style is best for everyone. Learning to understand and work with your team’s personality traits will help you best match their natural talents to your business goals.

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