How Sales Managers Can Effectively Manage These 4 Different Personality Types In A Team

Even though you’re a new manager, you’re already very aware of the need to motivate people and make sure they’re doing their jobs. And naturally, you feel frustrated when your people don’t always do as you need them to. But consider this: perhaps your people are also frustrated that you’re not doing what they need you to.


Diversity Builds Great Teams

High performance teams are needed for project and product design, and engineering activities, and those that advocate diversity and inclusive behaviours help to scale digital initiatives” says the VP of Gartner’s Advisory service, Bruce Robertson. 

However, Robertson isn’t particularly referring to gender diversity or ethnic diversity here, but rather what he calls cognitive diversity; categorised as ‘mixing people together with different thinking styles, habits, and perspectives’. Therefore, there is a growing trend to have many different personality types in a team. But while valuable for performance, team diversity can create headaches for the people that lead them. It’s important to question whether you’re giving each individual the approach they need so you can be confident of building a good team culture overall.


Understanding Personalities

In your previous role, you probably enjoyed being able to do things in your own way. As a manager, however, you’re beginning to see that different people work in different ways. At first, you may have taken quite a directive management style for leading your team, and maybe tried to convince each member of the team to conform to your style. As you’re gaining more experience and developing your management skills, however, you’re starting to notice that people respond differently to different situations; that there are many different personality types in a team. So how can you manage each personality type well?

The secret is to understand the various different personality types in a team. According to a report by LinkedIn, there are four classic personality types that are found in any team:

1. The Analytical Type

The analytical personality type is driven by logic. These individuals value tangible facts and figures that make sense, and are cautious about moving forward without data. Behaviours and actions are deeply governed by organisational rules and regulations. 

Management tip: Regular one-to-one meetings are highly effective for the analytical personality type, as this environment allows you to set clear expectations with the individual. 

2. The Natural Leader

Those with inherent leadership characteristics tend to be willing to take risks in order to be pioneers. They have a desire to make a difference, and to influence those around them. Risk-taking actions mean they have a great deal of experience in many areas. 

Management tip: Listen and learn. Offer opportunities for the natural leader to present ideas and facilitate innovation within the team, motivating others to do the same. 

3. The Enthusiast

The enthusiast feels most comfortable when they’re driving their hard work and efforts into areas they’re passionate about. They have a strong vision of what they want from the role, and may feel discouraged when working on tasks that don’t align with this. 

Management tip: Be flexible. Encourage the enthusiast to use their own creative techniques for undertaking their tasks. Have tools to hand to keep them on track. 

4. The Easy Going Type

The easy going personality type is generally quite amiable and simply needs to feel as though they are part of a strong team. They value the two-way-street concept, caring about the team and the company as a whole as long as they feel they are valued. 

Management tip: Try to take a nurturing approach with the easy going type. Schedule regular meetings to ‘check in’, and offer plenty of opportunities for active discussion. 


Effectively Managing Your Diverse Team

While it is clear that good leaders need to be chameleons to manage the many different personality types in a team, it’s important not to treat every person differently all the time. In fact, all personalities typically respond well to two blanket approaches:

  • Team Identification

Regardless of personality type, all members of the team need to feel as though they are all part of the same group, working towards the same common goal. When multiple different personality types are in a single team, it can sometimes feel as though they’re working against each other, rather than supporting each other. This can make team members feel negatively about diversity and result in a need for you to put your conflict management training into practise. Instead, individuals need to know that they’re part of a ‘family’, making them more open to collaboration, rather than dominance. 

  • Self Awareness

As a leader, one of your responsibilities is to ensure that each of your team members understands where they fit into the equation. By taking measures - such as workplace assessments - to encourage self awareness amongst your team, you’re helping each individual to not only understand their own personality type, but the personality type of those around them. Recognising difference can be instrumental in minimising conflict, and lays the groundwork for improved communications between all team members. 


Learn as you go

You care about your team, and you naturally want what’s best for them. But it’s important to remember that you may not get your approach spot on the very first time. This can be frustrating, especially if you’re a perfectionist, but a big part of being a good leader is learning through doing. Trust your team, carry out a skills gap analysis, give them a degree of autonomy in appropriate areas, and observe their behaviours… understanding them and what makes them tick is key to giving them what they need from you. 

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