How Can Understanding Working Styles Maximize Your Organization’s Success?

Every worker brings their own experience, insight, and personality to the organization, and this reflects in how they approach their responsibilities. Companies need a variety of these philosophies in order to optimize every team’s potential, and managers should receive training in the best way to manage a variety of working styles.

Understanding working styles and learning how to harness their strengths and work to improve their weaknesses opens companies up to exciting new concepts, ideas, and possibilities.

Diverse team collaborating with documents and laptop in a modern office.

Defining a Working Style

“Working styles” are, at their simplest, different approaches to work. Every employee brings a different personality to the office, which understandably defines their manner of tackling professional responsibilities. The four kinds of working styles complement one another, creating stronger communication and innovations in the office. 

Employees who want to look inwards and learn more about what their working style might entail should analyze the following aspects of how they approach assignments:

  • Personal values
  • Communication styles
  • Adaptability and flexibility 
  • Independence
  • Preferred roles
  • How they form ideas
  • What types of information they find most useful
  • Their general personalities

Investing some time in self-reflection helps both employees and managers alike learn how to work with different kinds of workers. Self-awareness and understanding working styles lead to stronger, healthier office environments.

Why Are Working Styles Important?

Companies benefit from hiring a balance of different working styles because it opens them up to more efficient, effective creative problem-solving. Knowing why working styles are important nurtures progress at the team level, and that success flows upward into progress at the full company level. Bringing on board a wide variety of both communication and working styles open up workplaces to greater creativity, insight, development, and solutions. 

Some managers may want to consider hosting a professional development session and asking employees to take assessments meant to help them discover their working style. It may be possible that a worker believes themself to approach their responsibilities with one style, but their answers uncover an entirely different mindset. Getting some solid answers through assessments, perhaps even workshops, helps managers make better-informed decisions about how to harness their workers’ fullest potential.

Understanding a team’s work style makeup benefits managers when it comes time to hiring new employees as well. They can prioritize prospects with work styles that may be underrepresented on their teams, ensuring a better balance and more diverse perspectives.

4 Common Working Styles

Knowing the ins and outs of how to manage different working styles begins with deep diving into the different approaches to work and what all they entail. There are four kinds of working styles, each making necessary contributions to the team. Managers would do well to learn how to work with different kinds of workers and organize projects and personnel for optimal results. 

The main working styles are as follows:

Idea-Oriented Style

Workers with idea-oriented styles are strong conceptualizers. They take a macro perspective on the tasks at hand and enjoy taking creative risks. Steve Jobs is often held up as a popular example of an ideas-oriented worker. 

This style excels at visualizing possibilities and doesn’t get flustered when issues with their concepts arise. These workers instead view challenges as opportunities to keep moving forward and experimenting until the best solution emerges. 

Idea-oriented workers focus so heavily on the big picture that they sometimes miss details and potential problems when executing their concepts. They’re also the least likely to communicate with their teammates since they tend to focus a little too hard on their vision. 

It’s most helpful to encourage idea-oriented employees to brainstorm and be creative. They’re at their best when they’re allowed to explore. These workers don’t enjoy being micromanaged, but they’ll require some encouragement to collaborate and communicate with their peers who can help with the nitty-gritty details behind their great ideas.

Detail-Oriented Style

The detail-oriented style is in many ways the inverse of the ideas-oriented style. They take the concepts that their bigger-picture peers contribute and break them down into more manageable tasks. Manuscript and journalism editors are a great example of detailed-oriented workers, as their job entails poring over writing to fact-check and correct grammar for the clearest communication.

Detail-oriented workers’ organization skills help keep the team on track, and their emphasis on the fine points of planning and executing ideas move projects forward at a steady pace. They analyze potential problems from all angles and propose solutions on how to address them before they emerge. 

Workers with a more detail-oriented style are often reluctant to take risks or accept potentially risky ideas because they’re so focused on what might go wrong on any given project. The most risk-averse employees may hold up progress on a project if they grow too concerned over minor details. 

One good way to manage this style is to encourage detail-oriented workers to learn and grow their skill sets in order to take a more holistic look at the ideas presented to them. Many of these employees appreciate opportunities to consistently hone their craft, and may even feel empowered to start contributing big ideas of their own. 

Logical Style

Workers who trend toward a logical style really shine when evaluating data. They are able to take raw information and parse it down into what strategies are succeeding and which ones need some tweaking. Social media managers and app developers who enjoy working heavily with analytics commonly employ a logical style. 

The logical style’s appreciation for data and analysis often translates to a love of challenges, which they tend to want to face as soon as possible. They possess a gift for spotting patterns that others on their team may overlook and move projects forward with their tendency to emphasize results.

As with the ideas-oriented style, the logical style workers sometimes forget to communicate with their teammates because they focus too hard on their tasks. They also may need encouragement to start thinking more creatively and abstractly, as their responsibilities predominantly involve straightforward numbers.

Logical style workers thrive when they’re assigned problems to solve; the more data they get to play with, the better. Managers should consider challenging them by giving them opportunities to combine their talents with analytics and creative problem-solving. These employees may also require periodic reminders to communicate and collaborate with their coworkers. 

Supportive Style

The supportive working style serves as the “heart” of the team. They primarily concern themselves with acting as a mediator and building relationships between their coworkers. Employees with a supportive working style typically take a democratic approach to communicating to make sure everyone feels satisfied with a project’s results. 

Supportive style workers bring a necessary empathy to projects, encouraging teams to speak openly about their ideas and opinions. As the strongest communicators, they know how to approach the various personality types and working styles in the group and create a more harmonious, productive environment. 

Workers who take a more supportive style sometimes fall into a trap of trying to please everyone on the team. This can hold up progress on projects where participants hit a stalemate regarding decisions. Managers with supportive-style workers should encourage them to be more assertive in order to maintain a steady pace.

Supportive style workers do well when shown appreciation for the way they bring people together. Their contributions often go under-recognized compared to their peers since the results don’t typically get written down the way the efforts of logical, detail-oriented, and idea-oriented workers do. Some of the more creative-minded supportive style workers may want to contribute their own ideas and insights in addition to serving as the group’s designated diplomat.

What Are Your Next Steps?

The best way to manage a variety of working styles starts with understanding working styles. Setting some time aside to analyze every teammate’s different approaches to work nurtures both a heightened sense of self-awareness as well as a clearer idea of how every employee fits together. 

KnowledgeCity’s Understanding Your Personality and Personal Abilities and Managing Team Dynamics courses are designed to help you learn more about what the different working styles entail and the ideal ways to manage each. Your team will appreciate the effort taken to support their personal and professional growth, as well as the investment in overall improved efficiency.

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