Solitude or Social; Personalities at Work

Sam’s hazel eyes sparkled like twinkling stars. Marlenea’s big-browns shadowed with disappointment when I said, “We’re going to move things around. You’ll each have a quiet place to work.”

They were together in the room, and I’d spoken to both of them simultaneously. So . . . why the contrast in their reactions?

Personality – plain and simple.

Our new plan meant we would break the employees up. Instead of working side-by-side, each would do their job in separate offices, allowing fewer distractions, less noise, and greater concentration. But not everyone was happy.

In a work environment, personality plays a huge role in productivity. And what individuals want, isn’t always good for the company. But how do you keep wants from disrupting the good? And how do you keep the greater good from discouraging employees?

Sanguine folk prefer people, and lots of them if possible. They feed on the energy, the social talk, the buzz in the air when voices jump off each other, anticipating their turn to add to the story.

Choleric personalities equally benefit from groups, but in a very different way. They look for opportunities to brainstorm ideas, teamwork projects, and joining forces.

Melancholies require solitude. The ideal setting gives them a well-drawn plan, the tools necessary to finish what they start, an organized environment, and a quiet place to focus undisturbed for hours on end.

The peace-loving phlegmatic also needs quiet, but ideally, an occasional check by a peer is appreciated. They progress well with a list of simple instructions, prioritized to help them overcome the fear of doing something wrong. Periodic encouragement builds their confidence.

With Sam and Marlenea, their personalities dictated reactions to the news they’d be working alone. Sam’s Melancholy/Phlegmatic mix infused her with hope of accomplishing more in a quiet place. As a Sanguine/Choleric, Marlenea’s energy plummeted at the thought of being alone all day with no one to talk to.

So in this situation, how do you keep energy up, while ensuring productivity doesn’t suffer?

Remind social employees of opportunities to catch up during breaks. Being with others is often its own reward for an outgoing personality who does the job well. Give them something to look forward to, schedule small celebrations when goals are met. Provide short weekly brainstorming sessions to share accomplishments. Recognize progress.

And don’t be afraid to remind employees they are at work to get a job done. In our current culture, sometimes we forget we are paid to earn our paychecks. If you deliver the message well, any personality understands the common-sense reasoning behind a decision to improve efficiency.

But don’t douse their enthusiasm by dictating. Use knowledge of the personalities for the benefit of the company, the individual, and the team environment. Provide balanced bouts of working together and working alone to increase productivity. It’s a no-lose situation.

Personality works, whether we prefer solitude or social environments to get the job done.

©2012 Anita Agers Brooks


Anita Agers-Brooks shares God’s message as a Certified Personality Trainer, Business Coach, Certified Team Training Facilitator, national speaker, and writer. She lives in Missouri with her husband Ricky, and is the mother of two grown sons, with two beautiful grandchildren.

Contact her via website or email

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 at 7:00 am and is filed under Personalities - At Work, Personalities - Post about all 4, The Personalities - Let's Learn!. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


One Response to “Solitude or Social; Personalities at Work”

  1. nascarccmgrlfan Says:

    I remember when I took a class sequence in college where we had to do group work. It’s good to be able to brainstorm, but one of the other members dragged our grade down.

Leave a Reply