The best work environments are a melting pot of personality types, but this means that good feedback cannot be crafted from cookie-cutter forms. Good managers must know how to form constructive feedback that works for each individual, taking into account their unique personalities.
Here are a few of the most common workplace personalities, and some suggestions for adapting your feedback so they benefit from it!
These are usually your top performers or industry leaders - the managers, the bosses, the proactive personalities who thrive in environments that push themselves to their limits. Powerhouse personalities are often extroverted and confident, which can be great for their positions, but means that feedback for them needs to be directed with a certain type of enthusiasm. With more proactive personalities, you want your feedback to be very end-result and goal oriented.
Let the powerhouses see what they have to gain from taking your suggestions into account, and they’ll do all the heavy lifting themselves.
The socialites of your workplace are extremely valuable in “greasing the wheels that” keep the workforce moving smoothly. These are the personalities that love to interact with people, that want to get along with everyone, and that truly thrive when working in teams or social environments.
Socializers value communication over anything, so be sure to take the time to have a good one-on-one session with them in order to let them discuss their feedback with you - instead of simply receiving it from you.
The reliable, hard-working backbone of your workforce – dependable personalities tend to also be peacemakers. They are easygoing and friendly, avoiding most conflict or drama at the workplace. These traits are invaluable - however, because of their conflict-avoiding tendencies, dependable workers may hesitate to truly voice any issues they have when receiving criticism, and may be reluctant to offer constructive criticism themselves.
If you notice your dependable personalities doing this, take the time to reassure them of the benefits of healthy feedback, and remind them that this sort of communication ultimately leads to a better, more harmonious workplace!
These are the people who are the most detail-oriented, who focus on results and the best ways to achieve them; they are planners, and often take their time to think through any problems they are given.
This means that feedback for analytical personalities should be equally structured and carefully thought-out. General compliments or criticisms will mean very little to them. Additionally, give analytical personalities time to digest your feedback before discussing it with them - this will allow them to process what you’ve told them and reflect on the best way to tackle any potential issues.
Offering feedback to chronic underperformers can feel like a pointless venture - but when done right, some strong feedback can be the first step in turning underperformers into a reliable part of your workforce. Remember that most people don’t want to be bad at what they do - they just need the right inspiration and motivation to perform well.
Let them know that you appreciate the work they do, and that performing better won’t just help you, but will benefit them in the long run (and not because you’ll fire them otherwise!).
Naturally, your entire workforce isn’t going to fit neatly into the categories above - there are always outliers, people who may fit into several categories - or none of them! The most important thing to know when giving feedback is to keep your workers’ personalities in mind, and adapt your own behavior accordingly. It can be challenging, but the payoff is worth it!