A How-To for Managing Different Work Styles

What’s your work style?

We all have one. Do you take a more measured approach, laying out all of your tools and resources ahead of time and ensuring all your ducks are in a row before beginning a task? Do you get stuck in and problem solve along the way? Are you calm and calculated or organized chaos? Analytical or scattergun?

“Work style” encompasses the way we think, structure and go about doing our jobs. And, while there are some broad categories we can each fit into (check out a basic overview of them here), the real catch is that everyone’s style is different.

So, as a business leader or manager of people, how can you get the best out of a team made up of individuals who all approach work in their own way? Here are our top tips for managing different work styles.

First, take notice

The first and obvious step towards effectively managing different work styles is to identify them! As a manager, you need to be present in the workplace and really take the time to observe each individual as they go about their work (without seeming like you’re watching over their shoulder). What steps do they take when starting a new project or duty? How do they plan their day? How do they respond to a challenge or obstacle?

Taking the time to understand whose workstyle is whose will put you one pretty big step closer to managing them effectively.

Next, leverage their strengths

If you know someone isn’t going to thrive under pressure, do your best to give them as much time or notice for a task as possible. If you’ve begun to understand that you get the best out of a certain team member when the stakes are high, challenge them appropriately. Once you’ve identified your team’s individual work styles, try to arrange their work in the way which suits them best.

This comes down to environment, too; some may relish a busy, upbeat workplace where there’s tons of input from all angles, while others focus better without distractions and outside noise. Your job as manager is to understand this, and give them the best opportunity of succeeding however you’re able to.

Now, build diverse teams

As we’ve mentioned before, different work styles are to be celebrated – they can actually bring out the best in each other, if properly harnessed. When managing different work styles, don’t be afraid to put “opposites” together, and build teams which incorporate different approaches – that way, one person’s shortfalls can be made up for by the strengths of another and vice versa.

Finally, empower your employees

Sometimes, it can be best to loosen the reins and simply let your employees manage themselves. There is a level of understanding in doing so, and a certain degree of trust: I know you can do this, so please, do it in the way you know best. Empowering your employees to take the initiative and manage themselves – if, and only if, that is what works best for their particular work style – can improve employee relations, engagement and push trust and productivity to the next level. Granting that autonomy is a great way to see what your staff can do.

The truth is, if we all worked in the same style, some of the amazing things which do happen, wouldn’t. You need the initiative takers, the big thinkers and the fast movers; you equally need the strategic mind which makes sure it all goes off without a hitch. Managing different work styles can be challenging, but it’s something to be celebrated, of that there’s no doubt.

We’re proudly helping businesses across North America build diverse workforces, inclusive of every work style – could we do the same for you?

Get in touch with our amazing team of consultants today to discuss our suite of staffing and recruiting services.

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