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How to become a great manager by understanding your staff

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Not so long ago, the Gallup organization commissioned a research project to find out what makes a great manager. Over 8000 managers were interviewed worldwide. When the answers were analyzed, there was one clear difference between good managers and great ones. The great ones understand and work with their staff. They know what makes them tick. They understand their wiring. They can differentiate their strengths and weaknesses. They understand and accept their personalities.

Removing the guesswork

In the past, the study of human personality was very much the preserve of psychologists and trained specialists. Understanding what makes people tick was felt to be too complex a subject for most people. Yet, today, there are more people than ever who are responsible for managing the work of others. These managers may have responsibility for making key decisions about what jobs people do, who they work with and what they are capable of. Without an understanding of people, many of these decisions will be based on hunches. But this doesn’t have to be so. By understanding and using reliable personality typologies, managers can take some of the guesswork out of people management.

The unique us

Personality is one element in the mix that makes up who a person is. The unique “us” can be regarded as a mixture of any and all of the following:

  • in-born talents and skills,
  • taught habits and skills,
  • the environment in which we were brought up,
  • education,
  • drive and ambition,
  • circumstances in which we find ourselves,
  • the impact of others,
  • our personality type.

While most of these factors are variables, we know that a person’s personality type remains the same throughout their life. The way we are managed, or manage ourselves, can however determine the extent to which we make the most of our types and the extent to which we grow as individuals.

Managing people

There are many reasons why managers should try to understand the personalities of the people who they work with.

  • Personality type helps managers to know what motivates an individual. Personality often gives clues to things a person loves to do and will do for free.
  • Personality type indicates what things an individual will be naturally inclined to do or not do.
  • Personality type is the clue to predicting how people will behave in certain situations such as when under stress, when coping with change and when making important decisions.
  • Personality type tells a manager how individuals will fulfill a role, for example the role they play in teams, their unique way of leading others, and their style of learning.
  • Personality type is the key to the mystery of why some people hit it off with others at work and why others have personality clashes.

Great managers

We now know that the difference between successful and unsuccessful managers lies in how well they understand people’s personalities. A Gallup study found that…

  • great managers don’t try to force people to become something they are not,
  • great managers recognize the individual differences and talents of people and work on drawing them out,
  • great managers define the results and then let each person work out his or her own way to get there,
  • great managers help people grow into roles in which they can do more of what they are naturally “wired” to do,
  • great managers help people discover their own strengths and weaknesses and work out a way to develop themselves.

By understanding personality types you know why the people in your team at work behave the way they do, why people have “personality clashes” that can seriously disrupt the flow of work, and what you can do about it. By understanding what makes people tick you’ll have the means to totally change the way you manage others. You’ll be able to recognize the personality types of others, accept them, work with them and develop them. And then, with practice, you too can hit the heights of greatness.

Understanding Personality Types

If you want to learn more about different personality typologies, you can take a look at the free eBook “Understanding Personality Types” written by Eric Garner.

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