You’ve assembled a top-notch team of PR professionals who bring a range of perspectives and skills to your organization. It’s an interesting mix of different personalities and skill sets that complement and challenge each other — well done!
That said, it’s a good bet your team comprises members with a mix of various rankings in the “Big Five” personality traits, with surprisingly significant consequences for work relationships. Dealing with staff personality traits doesn’t have to be a conundrum, however. With the right insights and approach, there are ways to smoothly work through what friction might arise over the normal course of the week.
Here are our tips for navigating the personality roadmap:
The Open employee can illustrate non-obvious possibilities and develop insights that are occasionally revolutionary. Sometimes, their very openness makes it difficult for them to stay grounded, so it’s important to focus or redirect when necessary.
The Conscientious have invaluable discipline, reliability and impulse control — capable of keeping the team going when a deadline or other problem seems insurmountable. Watch out for excessive discipline — failure to recognize and embrace the humanity of others on a team which can lead to alienation.
The Extrovert is the PR team cheerleader, bringing boundless enthusiasm that infects and inspires others, especially when a pitch is going south or a budget has been slashed. But watch for the extrovert who becomes overbearing or impulsive, and find ways to encourage her/him to share the spotlight.
The Agreeable smooths over just about any human interaction, particularly when stronger personalities are stressing over decisions or direction. But being agreeable or deferential to the point of never expressing one’s true thoughts can be detrimental. And in PR, pushovers often suffer the consequences of inaction. Model proactive traits and draw opinions out of the “agreeable,” even if it means putting them on the spot once in a while.
The Neurotic lacks a certain emotional stability and tends toward overreaction. An ideal team member here ranks low on this trait. But if you want someone to anticipate potential problems, a higher level of reactivity isn’t bad!
Here are some further tips to managing the PR personalities on your team:
Create strategic alliances between complementary personality types. Team up your highly conscientious and open staffers — the combination of imagination and discipline is a winner. Or tame the excesses of your extrovert with your most agreeable member. They’ll encourage one another.
Carve out discrete roles for each member that accentuate skillsets. Determine who would be best to speak at conferences or attend networking events (that extrovert member) or who might be best to draft a white paper or other content (consider the conscientious).
Spend one-on-one time. Learn about their more nuanced skills by talking – you may find out your “neurotic” is actually a visionary pointing out potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Don’t stress if it isn’t “all Kumbaya all the time” It’s important that everyone respect one another but healthy discourse and disagreement are often a good thing, producing new ideas and directions.
Encourage the team to challenge leadership. Demonstrate “openness” and value challenges to the status quo that can help achieve business goals.