Understanding the people in our team is a huge part of our job as managers. In this series of four articles, we use four simple personality categories based upon those discussed in People Styles at Work by Robert and Dorothy Bolton.
As human beings are complex organisms, people cannot be completely labelled in this way. The real benefit comes when we observe and identify particular traits which are common to people in these four categories. It is not uncommon for people to display traits from two, three or four personality styles. It is the dominance of one or two that can help us to understand people. The four styles have been identified by comparing the degree to which people range from assertive to non-assertive with how open or closed they are with displaying their emotions.
For this first article we look at people who display the characteristics of an analytical personality.
Recognising An Analytical Personality
As you can gather from the name, people who display some of these traits have a need or enjoy looking at the detail and analyse it. They enjoy knowing that information is accurate and will sometimes appear to be critical in nature as they are prepared to challenge whether something in correct. In this way they want to evaluate new information before offering opinions. If they are dominant in this area they may display little emotion and therefore may tend to set themselves away from their colleagues.
Response Under Stress
In stressful situations it is typical of people with analytical traits to become silent or withdraw themselves from other people or the situation. They also may become autocratic in terms of telling people what to do.
Managing Someone With An Analytical Personality
Because of the reasons already stated above, people with analytical tendencies do not like to be rushed into making a decision or completing a piece of work. This means that they prefer to be given plenty of notice and you will need to be very specific in terms of what needs to be done and the background detail that goes with it. If you really want to get the best out of them you will need to give them time to think and allow additional time to complete the task. Ideally and I would suggest wherever possible provide information or requests in writing as this will give them the chance to re-read it and reflect upon what may be needed.
One of the main strengths of somebody with these traits is the quality of the work they can produce. Their main weakness is the amount of time they want or need to take to complete an activity. Checking at the beginning that they have understood and being exact as you can as to what you want is key. Taking any uncertainty will help immensely. Be careful when promising anything to someone of this nature as they will expect you to deliver on every commitment. As they like to be organised themselves they will find it very frustrating if you are not and have not organised the information they need. If they disagree with your logic they may challenge you on this. Either accept this or make sure you know how you arrived at your opinion.
As analytical types like to be right they will like it if you ask their opinion although you may need to restrict the amount of detail they give you as an answer!
Looking at the personalities of people in your team can be very useful in understanding their behaviours and your own reactions to them. By appreciating them for what they are will reduce the level of conflict and give you better strategies for communicating and managing them more effectively.
Head of Training