Work Personalitiy Types – Understanding Your Team

Some time ago, I came across an incredibly useful model to help you identify the progression between different work personalities that exist within your team. It is called the Work Personalities Model, and it identifies two specific dimensions of personality in the workplace – Level of Happiness and Willingness to Express. It then maps out a progression (or regression!) between 4 different work personality modes in your team – from Prisoner, Survivor, Whinger to Volunteer.

Obviously, it would be good to be surrounded by a team of “Volunteers” – however it is also useful to understand the dynamics behind how people progress between the different personalities. We should also resist the temptation to suggest that if they’re not all volunteers, it is a negative. For example, one positive about a “Whinger” is that they are willing to express themselves. A lot of people as part of a team will move back and forth between Whinger and Volunteer mode. So, if you want to know what’s not working in your business – ask a Whinger!

Watch out for the “Survivor” in your business. It is very hard to run a high-performing business with a team of Survivors. They are more interested in self-preservation than the company or even their own ambitions.

Finally, the “Prisoner” tends not to make much contribution at all. They may even attempt to sabotage things. You will probably need to consider letting them go if they cannot be helped – however they are usually so detached from what is going on, they will probably end up leaving anyway.

The Work Personalities model can be downloaded from the Small Fish website here.

Which personality are you? How about your team?

Kristian Reiss
Small Fish Business Coaching Perth

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