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Understanding Workplace Personalities

Detailed chemists, assertive salespeople, inventive scientists, dynamic group leaders. The chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are host to a vast array of personalities. With so many dynamics to consider, what is the best way to enable you to connect with people and build great relationships, thus ensuring your personal and corporate success?

You need to be able to navigate the challenging and sometimes mystifying emotional ecology of the workplace. You have to be aware of the ways you respond to others, as well as the ways others respond to you. You must be able to read diverse and often subtle messages that can help you effectively collaborate with co-workers, customers, and of course, bosses. In short, you must learn to recognize, understand, and respond to the different personality styles found in the organization.

Personality Indicators

What’s your personality type? If you want to know, check out one of the many professionally-designed personality assessments available. The most popular instruments are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the DiSC Dimensions of Behavior. Both tools are reliable. Both can reveal your own behavioral preferences. Both can provide useful insights into other people’s styles.

Be Your Own Personality Indicator

While the Myers-Briggs and DiSC tests are unquestionably valuable, they may not be necessary. With a little practice and common sense, you can learn to quickly recognize other people’s personality types.

Want to become more attuned to behavioral styles at work? Start by learning about these four main personality types: Socializers, Analyzers, Actionizers, and Energizers. While these labels may be unfamiliar, you’re no doubt well acquainted with people in each category.


How They Interact

Socializers are relationship-driven. They focus on feelings and emotions—on how well people work together. Their communication needs revolve around relationships. Socializers look to monitor the feelings of individuals around them. They are highly effective collaborators and coaches. To them, everything is personal, and work is ultimately about people.

How They Communicate

Socializers are very expressive verbally, non-verbally, and emotionally. You always know how Socializers are feeling. Their work areas are usually comfortable and filled with photos of friends and family. A welcoming dish of candy may serve as an enticement for co-workers looking to talk about work…or just to talk.

How to Deal With Them

  • Be attuned to the human dimension
  • Allow them to speak (and listen to them)
  • Be less critical
  • Don’t threaten or appear to threaten
  • Pat them on the back


How They Interact

Analyzers are motivated to make the right decisions. They look for information, and lots of it. They want time to make comparisons and to review all relevant data before making recommendations. Analyzers don’t like to be rushed because they feel they might miss something important. Their actions are based upon hard facts, and rationality directs their decision-making process. They work to avoid risk by careful consideration of all available information.

How They Communicate

Analyzers tend to be restrained in the ways they communicate. They typically use limited facial or physical gestures, instead preferring to rely on verbal or written communication with plenty of concrete, factual information. Their work areas are neat, functional, and organized.

How to Deal With Them

  • Think more logically, less creatively
  • Adhere to schedules
  • Gather information and facts
  • Keep conversations on task
  • Prepare to answer detailed, analytical questions


How They Interact

Actionizers have a strong bias for getting things done. They don’t like to be buried in details—they’re interested in the bottom line. Actionizers expect clear, direct information without needless clutter. They delegate effectively and have high expectations of others. They are results-driven and competitive in all things—even in situations that don’t seem to be competitive to casual observers. Every activity is ultimately a contest that Actionizers expect and seek to win.

How They Communicate

Because Actionizers are acutely sensitive to time and speed, they are sometimes perceived as impatient and impulsive. They speak directly and to the point—and they expect others to do the same. Generally, their work areas are functionally organized with everything in its place. Awards, citations, and trophies are likely to be prominently displayed.

How to Deal With Them

  • Get to the point
  • Control your emotions
  • Be prepared
  • Know what you want
  • Don’t take feedback personally


How They Interact

For Energizers, ideas are most important. Energizers are excited by the big picture. They see everything as an opportunity to be creative. They enjoy being on the cutting edge and relish opportunities to try new approaches at work. Energizers are often enthusiastic supporters of new ventures, and they’re quick to offer novel or innovative ways to do things differently. Their style is enthusiastic and high energy.

How They Communicate

Energizers use a wide range of facial and physical gestures to complement their verbal, visual, and written communications. They are sometimes put off by individuals who seemingly don’t share enthusiasm about a particular issue. Energizers enjoy collaboration, but are comfortable working independently. Their work areas are often chaotic-looking to the outsider. There may be a system of organization, but only the energizers themselves understand it. Colorful and unusual decoration abounds.

How to Deal With Them

  • Be less detail oriented
  • Be optimistic
  • Tolerate disorganization
  • Allow tangents in conversation
  • Show enthusiasm

Work With Style

By being able to identify a co-worker’s or boss’ preferred way of interacting, you can effectively modify your own style to best match his or her needs. When you understand, for example, that your boss is an Actionizer, you can simply cut to the chase. Such knowledge is extremely helpful, especially if you’re an Analyzer who may otherwise discuss background information that’s important to you.

The better working relationships you form can lead to increased job satisfaction, more recognition, and an even greater chance of advancement. So when the outcome is important, focus on the best way to interact with each individual. It will allow you to maximize your working relationships and ensure your career success.



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