How to identify and effectively manage the four different remote work personality types

As a leader, you’re probably already very aware that your team is diverse. Or at least it should be! Diverse teams that are made up of lots of different people and work personality types can be key to generating ideas, designing effective and efficient processes, and really driving results. 

As you’ve gotten to know your team better, you will have realised that there are a number of personality categories that your people fall into, with each category requiring slightly different line manager strategies. And if you’re a great leader, you’ll know how to adapt to meet the needs of every member of your team.

However, using these same approaches for remote workers could be detrimental. Working from home introduces different advantages and disadvantages for each personality type, which means that you may need to utilise different techniques to lead with success in this new world of work. Here, we outline the four primary remote working personality types, exploring the new challenges they face, and offering advice for today’s leaders to gain maximum performance from an engaged, motivated and connected team:

  • The analytical technophobe

This personality type uses logical reasoning as the foundation for everything they do. This is great in some senses, but can also result in the over-questioning of processes and procedures. This can be especially challenging at a time when processes and procedures are constantly adapting and shifting as the modern workplace evolves. The analytical technophobe personality type may analyse new technologies and find reasons not to embrace change, even though, in a remote environment, there’s often no other alternative. 

This type of remote personality can be one of the most difficult to manage for those tasked with building culture in remote teams. As the analytical technophobe is generally quite serious and performance-focused, it can help to take measures to more closely align the benefits of change with the performance and productivity of the individual. To manage this personality type, try to mimic the same characteristics; use the same logical approach to highlight the factual benefits of change, and use statistics to drive acceptance and get them onboard. 

  • The commanding natural leader

This personality type is bold. They enjoy speaking up and sharing their opinions with others, and as they are natural influencers, they can be a leader’s greatest ally in implementing change. The commanding natural leader is highly organised and is able to find the right resources they need to achieve their goals. They’re comfortable taking charge and being pioneers and are able to work independently which is a critical trait in the remote environment. However, natural leaders may sometimes struggle at home.

Thriving on having their voice heard, the commanding natural leader can be challenging to manage in an environment where it’s not always easy to speak up. They take their energy from real-time, face-to-face interactions, often feeling subdued by the virtual communication environment. Effectively managing this remote personality type means ensuring that all members of the team have access to ‘always on’ communication tools that help everyone to stay connected, even during disruption. 

  • The social enthusiast

Usually, the social enthusiast is the office’s primary source of energy. They are natural-born motivators and morale boosters, keeping spirits up even during difficult or stressful times. This personality type enjoys being close to their team members, they like to share ideas, brainstorm, collaborate, and they often prefer unstructured, flexible activities that allow them to think outside the box. The social enthusiast feels responsible for the happiness and satisfaction of colleagues and creates a good in-office experience. 

When this personality type shifts to a remote environment, however, they can struggle to remain productive when working apart from their colleagues. Leaders may want to consider providing outlets for this personality type that allows them to interact with others through new collaboration tools. Those which enable real-time interactive brainstorming and decision making are especially beneficial. Leaders can also effectively manage this personality type by offering opportunities for social chat and non-work discussions.

  • The easy-going stabiliser

Many leaders are ecstatic to have the easy-going stabiliser type in their team as they can help to ease or mollify some of the core leadership and management challenges that exist today. These people are very relaxed and flexible and seem to have little trouble adapting to change, which is a major benefit in the post-2020 business landscape. They are calm and laid back most of the time, but in a remote environment, this may not always be an attractive quality as leaders may think. The easy-going stabiliser may not become frustrated easily, which can mean it takes them longer to communicate any issues.

Easy going stabilisers have a great deal of self-control, so they’re rarely amongst the first to speak up when things aren’t quite going to plan. They prefer to ‘see how things go’. In a remote working environment, that’s not always great. As a leader, managing this personality type means being very proactive. It means keeping an eye on these individuals for the early signs of stress or burnout and reaching out to ask if they are OK. Provide opportunities for them to share concerns; don’t wait for them to come to you. 

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