Anyone who’s paying attention to what’s going on in their company, either at a department level or companywide, knows that there are a few key people who make things work. You’ve probably noticed this on your own team; people have different work styles and some are more important to the team than others.
But the truth is that it’s combinations of different personalities and work styles that create a work environment that breeds successful ideas, executes well and prevents dysfunctional attitudes from poisoning the well. To generate that environment, you need these five working styles on your team.
Head down, Red Bull in hand, headphones on, getting done whatever job is in front of them—the Soldier is the workhorse of any team he finds himself on. Soldiers are producers, results-driven individuals who take satisfaction in checking everything off of their to-do list. Give them a goal, and they’ll set about making it happen. They don’t want to spend a lot of time strategizing; they just want to dive in and start working on a project.
Often traditional, resistant to change and focused on stability, Soldiers crave consistency from others and demand it from themselves. When they find a method that works, they’ll stick to it. Often, Soldiers are labeled as perfectionists. They often see relationships with others as a distraction from the task at hand, instead preferring to work on their own, without interference or dependence on other members of the team.
Innovative, visionary, and contemplative, Scholars are long-term planners who excel at exploring new possibilities and digging into the cutting-edge of everything. She develops well-thought-out plans for solving individual problems, weighing the costs and benefits, viewing every angle of the problem and has a back-up plan for multiple contingencies.
Scholars can be effective team leaders, but more often than not they’re more focused on the actual strategy and problem-solving part of team leadership rather than actually managing others. The ideal position for this working style is an analyst or strategic planning position. Set them upon a problem when you want a quick solution that you can then delegate to others to execute.
This working style is a natural coordinator, natural leader, enforcer and organizer. Chiefs want to execute everything according to plan, and aren’t shy about giving direction for others to make sure they do it. Obviously, this style makes for an ideal team lead.
Chiefs are adept at directing others, taking abstract ideas from Scholars and applying the right team members to each particular task within those plans. They’re good at prioritizing and developing an organized structure out of seeming chaos. A Chief is focused on dealing with urgent demands first, and they want self-motivated team members to come up with solutions and implement the details of a plan without micromanaging.
Empaths are adaptable, adjusting to change quickly and re-sorting their priorities according to the needs of the team as a whole. They like flexibility, not rigidly structured procedures. This preference leads them to run with changing requirements and unexpected roadblocks.
Empaths are relationship builders. They listen to others and incorporate their ideas and preferences into the way that they perform their tasks. If you’re coordinating with another department or team, this working style should be your ambassador. Empaths are often the glue that holds a team together and helps maneuver them through stressful times.
Building a Team
Don’t take these working style profiles the wrong way. Nobody’s personality or work style is static, and plenty of people have a little bit of each of these working styles in themselves. The key is to make sure that critical team roles are filled by the right people: a Chief as your team lead, Scholar as the strategist and first line of delegation, and Empaths and Soldiers manning the front lines to execute critical tasks.
You’ll know you have the right mix when things feel like they’re just clicking, even when it’s stressful. You’ve hopefully had the experience of working on a team like that. And if you haven’t, these profiles should help you select new team members that will make the difference.