Turn Challenging Employee Personality Traits Into Business Assets

Working with employees to grow your company can be one of the most rewarding aspects of owning a small business.

At the same time, managing people with different personalities can also be a real challenge. After all, each of us has traits that can frustrate those around us, so it’s important to address any possible conflicts.

Here are three tips for understanding and collaborating better with various types of employees.

  1. Encourage your team members to take a personality test. Many small-business owners find that their employees enjoy learning about their co-workers personalities as well as their own. Offer the Meyers-Briggs or DISC test to your staff and then hold a lunchtime seminar to talk about the results. Note each person’s personality type, and take a few minutes to share the characteristics of each one.
  2. Determine each employee’s strengths. Every annoying personality trait is the “flip side” of a positive one. Privately consider any employee traits that you find frustrating, and make a list of their work-related opposites. For example, if you have an employee who is extremely stubborn and opinionated, she probably is also very persistent — and will stick with a problem until it is solved. If you have an employee who is sensitive and emotional, he is probably also able to forge strong customer relationships.
  3. Focus on the positive traits. Review your list and determine whether you are maximizing each employee’s strengths. Does an employee annoy co-workers by “kissing up” to the boss? Assign him to customer service, because that trait often translates into happy clients. Does another employee spend way too long getting every detail of her reports right? Make her the proofreader for all official company communications.

Whenever you find yourself becoming frustrated with an employee, take a deep breath — and think about how his or her traits could produce positive results for your small business.

About Jennifer Goforth Gregory

Jennifer Goforth Gregory has more than 18 years professional writing experience and specializes in writing about small businesses. Her work has been published in Infusionsoft’s Big Ideas Blog, QSR Magazine, and the Raleigh News & Observer.
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