It’s natural to put your best face forward at work, but often we’re personality chameleons when we step into the 9 to 5. Here we look at the psychology of work personas and how managers can adapt to bring the best out of their teams.

Life as we know it has changed. As expectations evolve at work, so have our work personalities. The team at Debut has teamed up with a number of psychologists to highlight different work personalities, some of which are conflicting and confusing! Here’s how managers can shift their persona for the better. 

“Working from home has really changed everyone. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, it has shifted our perspective of working and most importantly our priorities,” says Avantika Vaishnav, marketing manager at Debut. 

While working from home has given a fresh outlook on how we value our time and has also provided an interesting insight into our true personalities, it has also highlighted just how different we are at work.

”Many people who thought they enjoyed the silence and isolation of working alone may have found they seek company to be productive in work or vice versa. It’s been a tough year and the transition back to office life and working around others may be the toughest part for many,” Avantika adds. “Back-to-office anxiety is real and many people will suffer, so be sure to know your employees personality traits and how you can make this change as comfortable as possible.”

9 work personalities revealed

The understanding that all the roles fit together and respect for each other is vital, says occupational psychologist Suzanne Guest. There are 9 types of personalities in the workplace:

1. The Monitor Evaluator: This persona makes fact based decisions and relies on hard data to make informed decisions, which always trumps emotions. 

2. The Specialist: This persona has a lot of knowledge in a very specific topic and tend to be introverted, but are good at contributing to projects in their area of expertise.

3. The Plant: These people are ideas people and usually prefer to work alone. They are creative and collaborative, and can be channeled to creating big-pitcture strategies. 

4. The Shaper: This persona is good at moving plans forward and solving problems to help projects reach fruition. 

5. The Implementer: This is the most organised and practical of personas. They are sticklers for details and can help balance big-picture thinkers.

6. The Completer: This persona has very high standards and combines traits of the shaper and the implementer.

7. The Coordinator: This persona tends to manage people from an emotional perspective, which helps them meet their team’s needs. 

8. The Team Worker: This is the most adaptable of personas who enjoys collaboration. They are flexible and finds win-win strategies. 

9. The Resource Investigator: These personas are extroverted and have a large network of contacts. They are the movers and shakers in the business that can easily find solutions through their people skills. 

”Completers are not always the best at having new and creative thinking, but will make sure work is done, while Shapers are great at coming up with new ideas, but may not be able to see them through,” Suzanne explains. ”These two types can work really well together if they have respect for each other and their strengths. The key is understanding and respecting everyone’s style of working and bringing out their strengths.” 

7 work-from-home personalities that have emerged from the pandemic

Working from home adds new layers to our inherit chameleonism, bringing about a whole new set of work personas up for analysis. According to Jessica Alderson, cofounder and CEO of So Syncd, new ‘personas’ that working from home has created can make navigating human relationships at work all the more complex. 

“It can help for managers to know the personality types of their team, whether that’s using Myers-Briggs, DISC, Enneagram or other personality type frameworks,” says Jessica. ”They can then consciously tailor their communication style to individuals. Personality frameworks are a great starting point but you also need to observe and listen to your staff.”

”Take a step back and think, ‘Is this communication style working for this person?’ Managers can also simply ask their team members what’s working for them and what isn’t.”

Jessica Alderson, So Syncd 

1. The Video-Lovers: This persona loves face to face communication, and starved of it during the pandemic, relentlessly asks everyone to turn their cameras on, even if it’s a meeting that could have been an email.

2. The Baker: This persona has turned their hand to home baking during the pandemic. Not one meeting goes by without the baker persona regaling everyone about their latest confection. It makes you wonder how they ever get any work done.

3. The Unmuted Typer: This persona tries to multitask but fails to mute themselves so everyone can hear them surreptitiously replying to emails during meetings.

4. The Technically Challenged: This persona just can’t seem to click the right link or share the right fail. They forget to send an email sitting in drafts or how to screenshare on a Zoom call. 

5. The Frazzled Parent: This persona is probably the most relatable for working parents, who try to jugging at-home parenting with a full work day.  

6. The Cross-Talker: This persona always talks over whoever is speaking. Blame it on an internet lag or just an unquenchable need to interrupt colleagues. 

7. The Wellness Addict: This persona has thrown themselves into flexible work and always seems to have ‘just come from a run’ in the middle of the day. 

“When you’re hiring, part of the interview process should include determining whether your job candidate has the work style to fit the job,” says psychologist and founder of Blue Sky Fostering, Simon Lockyer. ”Just because someone has the skills doesn’t mean they’re the right hire. An analytical person may have skills and experience as a salesperson, but it may not be their passion. Finding the right person goes beyond finding someone whose credentials match your job description.”