Managing People According to Personality


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Photo: © iStockphoto/Kirsty Pargeter

CHICAGO — For the owner of an attended laundry, their employees are among their most important assets. But all people have unique personalities, habits and motivations — they don’t always work well together or create the results that a business wants. The key to eliminating these problems is to understand the team’s personalities and manage every individual in the way that works best for them.

There is no cookie-cutter way of determining people’s personalities; you can only gain this insight by spending time with them, paying close attention to their habits, and asking them about their aspirations and preferences.

Here are some key considerations:


The amount and type of structure that an employee has in their day-to-day work is one of the biggest considerations. The scale ranges from those who want no guidance at all to those who enjoy being micro-managed (though most fall closer to the center of the spectrum).

Workers who are independent, responsible and good at managing their time usually don’t appreciate a lot of top-down structure and rigidity. They thrive in a position and work environment that are in constant flux and tend not to appreciate rigid deadlines, though they do hold goals in high regard.

Employees at the other extreme prefer to have every half-hour mapped out to make sure they stay on schedule, so leaving them to their own devices would result in anxiety, ineffective priorities and wasted time. They want stability, clear expectations and deadlines.


Some people love to be in charge: they want complete ownership over their projects and are happy to delegate work. These “leaders” chafe under too many rules, structures and layers of authority.

Contrasting this are workers who don’t want to be responsible for anything at all, and don’t enjoy making decisions. These meeker types become anxious when they must take the blame (or credit) for a choice that they made, and are quite happy to be followers who do only the work assigned.


Discerning what somebody wants to get out of their job, and what drives them to perform and succeed, is challenging. People can be driven by a paycheck, recognition, status, desire for approval or simply sheer enthusiasm for the work. Some people simply want to get by, while others are driven to achieve ever more through hard work or strategic thinking. A good business owner will discover what a person enjoys doing and what goals they strive for, and will seek a way to integrate these two elements while they are working in their laundry.


Individuals on their own are tricky to manage, but groups of people bring up whole new sets of challenges. Some employees are outgoing “people-persons” – confident, friendly, open and social. They can overpower meeker team members and always have something to say. Their contributions are valuable, but keep them in check so they don’t drown out all other voices.

Other employees are shy, reluctant, introverted and private. These workers should feel that they are accepted into the group even if they do not contribute as loudly or as often as others, and should not be put on the spot.

Finally, consider how your team handles conflict and stress. Some members may handle criticism, mistakes and disagreements well, without taking anything personally or feeling attacked. Others are more sensitive and may feel defensive or offended if they are called out or challenged. Handle conflict and problems with sensitivity and always remember that people have faults and make mistakes; it’s only human.

— GetSmarter


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