Jason Shah is the founder and CEO of Do, a collaboration platform that helps you run productive meetings.
In meetings, you're bound to come up against different personality types. Treating everyone the exact same way might seem like common sense or even an intelligent approach, but at the end of the day, it'll be counterproductive. This is because people are motivated by different things and function differently, so if you make too many assumptions about how your team members respond to certain questions, assignments, rewards or reprimands, you're going to leave some unhappy people in your trail.
By creating an app that improves the efficiency of meetings, I've learned how to work with the five personalities you're likely to encounter in business meetings. Here's what they look like and how you can embrace each of them.
Extroverts like to be at the center of attention, and get a lot of energy from being around people in general. This doesn't mean that introverts never want the spotlight; by default, however, they don't feel as energized by social situations and are happy to listen and chime in when they really have something worth contributing. For extroverts, you may need to put certain frameworks in place to ensure that their work gets done, but don't by any means chastise them. They should be given opportunities to express themselves and their thoughts. Provide the right moments for them to shine.
The Meticulous One
Meticulous, conscientious people are detail-oriented, and tend to be organized and on top of their given assignments and tasks. As a result, it can appear as though they don't see the value in collaborating with other personality types. They recognize that other people tend to need a lot of babysitting and guidance by comparison. On the upside, conscientious people can be counted on to work within established guidelines and frameworks. It may be best to give meticulous people something valuable to do in meetings: perhaps they could be the note-taker, minute-taker or transcriber. Or, you could give them the chance to delegate tasks after the meeting.
The creative is often thinking abstractly and outside the box. To them, every challenge is an opportunity to adapt, innovate and see things from a different perspective. This can prove tiring to other team members who don't want to rock the boat every time an issue presents itself. Creative people aren't fond of the most obvious solutions. Most of the time, they just want to be acknowledged for their brilliance. Instead of dismissing their ideas, try to see the value in their thought processes and praise them when appropriate. Be sure to alsoAlso, leverage their willingness to try new things. In an environment where trial and error is tolerated, creative people can really thrive.
Some people just want to make sure everybody is happy. They aren't ill-meaning, but they may be lacking in self-confidence and assertiveness, or they may simply feel awkward in tense, unresolved situations. People-pleasing personalities have trouble raising difficult issues, giving criticism or having to justify their value to others. Don't expect them to be the bearer of the most contentious issues in a meeting. Give people-pleasers the opportunity to put their feelings down on paper. Survey them, or ask open-ended questions. This can help them to express what they really think without "risking" their reputation in a public meeting setting.
The Emotionally Sensitive
Emotional people are extremely sensitive to their surroundings and the people they work with. As a result, they experience plenty of highs and lows in their lives. Unfortunately, many of us have a tendency to view emotional people as being unstable, and although they can have a hard time finding their footing, they're only a step away from unlocking their intuition that can help with high-level decisions, if they haven't discovered those abilities already. Think of these people as trusted advisors: ask them what they think or even how they feel about certain decisions and work-related issues. Give them an opportunity to unpack what they're feeling on a gut level, and you might just find that emotional personalities can bring a lot of value to making important decisions.
It's better to see people as being multidimensional, instead of falling into one category or another. Some people lean more heavily in certain directions over others, and it's safe to say there are opposite personalities for each of the five mentioned here. The important thing is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. Everybody has the chance to shine if they are given tasks, assignments and duties that match their skill set. You'll bring more unity to the team by focusing on each personality's strengths, and what team members who can possess them can uniquely bring to the table.