Working Effectively with People of Different Styles

What do I mean by "different styles?"

I’m Katherine Akbar, president of YES Career Coaching & Resume Writing Services. In this week’s career advancement video, we’ll talk about three steps to working effectively with people of different styles.

So what do I mean about different styles? I’m not referring to the fact that one coworker has blue hair, and another one always wears bow ties. I’m talking about ways that different personalities affect a person’s preferred approach to work. Be sure to watch or read this all the way through, as we offer three gifts within.

The value of having people with different styles at work

Expecting other people to think or operate like we do is a not a recipe for success. But when we notice and adjust to people’s different styles, we have the best chance of getting the results we want in our relationship with them: good rapport and cooperation. But how do we do that?

The first step is to expect and appreciate differences. As I said in the last video, we often think that others should think and behave as we do. However, a diversity of styles makes a team more effective. So while working with someone’s different style may pose certain challenges, rise to these challenges, understanding how they benefit the organization.

Step two is to understand your colleagues’ styles. The easiest way to do that is, if you are a manager, to work with talent optimization specialists like my partner and me, to run a data-validated test of people’s styles and disseminate the results and related recommendations. If you are not a manager, you can share this email or video with your manager and recommend they get in touch with us. The testing and feedback stage of our assistance is completely free.

Four categories of personality style

If you won’t be going that route, you can observe people’s communication to try to estimate their broad category of personality type. The Predictive Index system that we use puts people into one of 17 personality styles. Most of these styles—but not all—fit into one of four categories: those that favor innovation and agility, those driven by results and discipline, those focused on process and precision, and those dedicated to teamwork and employee experience.

  • The idea people on your team, often in leadership positions, are innovation and agility types. They’re the ones who re-envision the way things can be and are often thought leaders.
  • The goal-focused go-getters, often in sales, are results and discipline types. You need them to make sure objectives are met.
  • The process and precision people are the ones who remind the team what was agreed to and are great in compliance, operations, quality assurance, and production roles, like software development.
  • The teamwork and employee experience people are the ones who make work easy, fun, and humane. They try to meet others’ expectations and take care of people’s needs. They are perfect for human resources and customer service functions, as well as project management.

As you can see, all of these are extremely important for a team, and which ones you need more of on your team depends on your team’s goals.

Step three is adjusting your behavior to match other people’s styles. For example, if you’re a leader, assign the right person for the job that you need done. Otherwise, if you’re working with someone who is an innovation and agility type, find out what their ideas are and see how you can make them a reality. Use them to brainstorm how to overcome an obstacle. If you’re working with a results and discipline type, make sure they know what goals they need to achieve. Give them the tools and resources they need and get out of their way. If you’re working with a process and precision type, make sure they have the standard operating procedures to implement—or better yet, put them in charge of updating them. When dealing with a teamwork and employee experience person, be sure to be sociable and get to know them as a person. They can help you smooth over any interpersonal challenges you encounter on your path.

These are just a few examples of working effectively with people of different styles. To learn more about this topic, we have three gifts to offer you:


  • A fun personality test [Take our free personality test on the Resources tab of our website, Scroll down to the photos of animals.]
  • An e-book, The Platinum Rule. You can use the personality insights you gain from these to interview and negotiate better, be more productive, experience less stress, lead more effectively, and get promoted! [See the link in the description below.]
  • As mentioned before, we offer team leads a free Predictive Index personality assessment of them and their teams. If this interests you, please email me back [email me at].

If you liked this video, please give it a Like and Subscribe so you don’t miss the rest of our Career Advancement series. If you want support on job search or career success, schedule a free Career Success Consultation at if you’ve never had one. If you have had one, contact your client success manager about Career Advancement Coaching.

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