Monday 18th February 2019

“Everyone has a sense of humour. If you don’t laugh at jokes, you probably laugh at opinions”

Today’s workplace is a melting pot of diversity</strong>; people from all backgrounds and experiences coming together to collaborate means that our relationships with colleagues can be varied in strength, from inspiring each other to irritating each other, and everything in between. Understanding what makes your co-workers tick can be difficult.

We’ve all been there at some stage in our career – one particular colleague just pushes your buttons, and often walks into the office like they are walking onto a yacht, their tie may not be apricot, but you know that Carly Simon nailed it.

50% of U.K. workers admit they can find it hard to navigate the workplace.

A smorgasbord of personalities

Our relationships at work are unique in comparison to other connections in our personal lives, given that we have little choice in who we’re expected to work together harmoniously with in the office. Ensuring varied personalities work well together can be one of the biggest challenges in the workplace, and it takes a skilled manager to be able to manage a team of big personalities successfully.

Ultimately, we all just want to get on with our jobs, reach our targets, learn, be inspired, be recognised and rewarded for our hard efforts, and maybe have a little bit of fun along the way. It sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? But with strong leadership and people management, it can absolutely be possible.

74% of UK workers agree knowing how to effectively manage personalities would help them succeed at work.

Understanding your team and their personality traits is the first step to being able to manage your team more effectively. Per recent research by business psychologist Dr Lynda Shaw and Premier Inn, there are usually 10 distinct personalities within the office setting:

  • The Grafter – this person is heads down and gets the results; a safe pair of hands.
  • The Chatterbox – always chatting; in the office, in the kitchen, and they know everything there is to know.
  • The Workaholic – first in and last to leave, work is their life. Do they sleep in the office?!
  • The Comedian – always making everybody laugh and is the centre of attention at work events.
  • The Wallflower – the shy and retiring type that keeps their head down at work.
  • The Micromanager – the one who needs to be across every detail and every team member.
  • The Big Talker – you always know when this person had a recent success, because you’ll hear about it!
  • The Delegator – the one who passes work on to someone else as soon as it comes their way.
  • The Charmer – smooth talking and easy going; unflappable and can talk their way out of any situation.
  • The Juggler – juggling multiple tasks with ease, they make it seem easy!


Interestingly, most people will identify themselves as a grafter, and unsurprisingly, 39% of British co-workers will seek out a fellow grafter in their workplace. Next in line at 35% is the Chatterbox who is your best source of office gossip, then there is the Workaholic at 27%. According to the research, the personality we find the most difficult to deal with is the Big Talker. So, now we know the broad categories that most of us fit into, how can we all get along?

All on the same team

It’s imperative for everyone to remember that they’re on the same team, and are working towards the same goal. It’s also worth keeping in mind that different people work in a variety of ways, and that’s ok – we don’t all reach our goal with exactly the same tasks, in exactly the same pattern.

Setting up your workplace to facilitate the assortment of working styles (and personalities that come with them), is key to keeping things amicable and peaceful. Activity-based working can be a huge help in empowering employees to work how they want, and get the best results in their own way.

Workplace culture is also something to consider – putting trust in your employees, and fostering strong lines of communication means that any problems that may arise can be nipped in the bud. We must remember that when we throw a bunch of different people from a diverse range of backgrounds together for eight hours a day, five days a week, some disagreements or difficulty is inevitable. It’s about how we deal with those issues, and how supported and heard our employees feel.

Overall, we should be celebrating our melting pots of distinct and diverse people in the workplace, because not only is variety the spice of life, it’s also the foundation of innovation and creativity.

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