The 4 Personalities of the Workplace: Which one are you?

Behavioural science researchers have discovered that 75% of the population are significantly different from you. No one is completely true to type. The average person will have most of the characteristics of their dominant style but not all of them. There are four styles of people, none of which is better or worse than any of the other styles.


What are the styles?



The Analytical is the most perfectionistic of the styles. They set very high standards and are willing to do the time-consuming work needed to achieve or exceed those standards. Analyticals are sticklers for detail, since they believe that vigorous attention to every aspect of a project, no matter how insignificant, contributes to the final outcome.

Analyticals tend to be the most critical of the styles. Because of their perfectionistic tendencies, they are often very hard on themselves and on others. Their exacting standards cause them to be generally very sparing with compliments and expressions of appreciation.

The Analytical tried to avoid the emotionality that’s related to conflict. When others get carried away by emotion, Analyticals retreat into their own heads and become emotionally detached. People of this style assume a rational approach will cool an overheated situation.

Other characteristics of the Analytical

  • Known for being systematic and well-organised.
  • Likes to be alone or with just a few other people.
  • Quietest of the styles.



To a greater degree than is typical of other styles, the Amiable is a team player. He normally prefers working with others, especially in small groups or one-on-one. He doesn’t seek the spotlight and seldom gets into ego clashes with others.

Amiables’ effectiveness as team players is enhanced by their generosity with their time; they often volunteer to do unglamorous, out-of-the-limelight activities for the team. Because of their dedicated backstage work, they are the unsung heroes of many a team effort.

People of this style back up their friendliness with empathy. They’re generally more interested in hearing your concerns that they are in expressing their own. This type of person especially withholds feelings of anger and critical judgements of others. Many Amiables are reluctant to tell it like it is for fear of alienating the other person.

Other characteristics of the Amiable

  • Very people-orientated.
  • Usually performs best in a stable, clearly structured situation.
  • Patient with other people and with organisations.



This is the most flamboyant of the styles. Expressives tend toward the dramatic. This style thrives on being in the limelight and seems to gravitate to centre stage. This spirited style bristles with energy; the Expressive seems tirelessly energetic than is actually the case.

Perhaps because of the abundant energy, Expressives want to be continually on the go. When required to sit through long meetings, an Expressive’s restless energy is evident. She continuously shifts about in her chair, or moving her legs and feet, or gesturing with her hands and arms.

The expressive is the most outgoing of the styles, and this style is interpersonally proactive. These people seem to relate easily and effortlessly to strangers, and as a result, a person of this outgoing style tends to have a larger circle of acquaintances than do people of other styles.

Other characteristics of the Expressive

  • Tend to be dreamers.
  • Impulsive.
  • Look for ways to make work more enjoyable



The Driver is very results-focused. This style loves nothing more than to set high yet realistic objectives and then set about accomplishing them. These are very independent people, they want to set their own goals rather than have someone else set them.

Decisiveness is a salient characteristic of Drivers. They don’t agonize over decisions. The Driver believes that indecision is a decision, and inevitably a bad one. Also, they’re not compulsive about the quality of their decisions. “When you are 55 percent sure,” they say, “it’s time to act. If you wait until you are 95 percent sure, you won’t succeed in this competitive and fast-paced environment.”

Drivers are more likely to change their minds because Drivers are so purposeful and rational, people are often surprised by the abrupt changes in their thinking and the sudden shifts in plans.

Other characteristics of the Driver

  • Get-it-done type of person.
  • Excel at time management.
  • More focused on the immediate situation than on theory or principle or feelings.


Which styles work together, and which don’t?

Analyticals and Expressive have the most difficulty when working together, as do Amiables and Drivers, as these styles do not share any form of responsiveness or assertiveness with the other making it harder for them to relate to their opposite counterpart.


This blog used information from Robert & Dorothy Bolton’s book, “People styles at work: making bad relationships good and good relationships better.”

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