A lot of emphasis is placed on having ethnic, age, and gender diversity in organizations, but not much attention is often paid to the importance of having diverse personalities in the workplace. Understanding the benefits of personality diversity can help managers form better work teams. Employees who have an appreciation for other personality types can learn to avoid personality clashes.
Better Quality Decisions
Different personalities and temperaments working together can lead to different perspectives on problems and situations. If everyone on the team sees a problem the same way, it is less likely that a new idea that could solve the problem will surface. Someone with a spontaneous temperament may come up with lots of ideas on how to work through a problem, but someone with a more critical temperament can help assess the pros and cons of each idea.
All employees having the same personalities can lead to significant challenges in work teams. If your work group has all dominant personalities, you may experience difficulties in sharing ideas as each employee may be too busy defending her own position to accept ideas from others. On the contrary, a group with all meek, mild-mannered and unassertive temperaments may contribute to a lack of focus, task-direction and timely work.
Greater Work Team Production
Each personality type includes distinct strengths. You can build a more cohesive and capable work team by getting familiar with each worker's personality and delegating tasks to fit employee strengths. A team with both highly creative and highly organized people has some advantages over an all-creative or all-organized team. Creative types contribute to innovative ideas and thoughts, but organized employees can help in monitoring budgets, time schedules and practical limitations to creative freedom.
Worker diversity in ethnicity, culture, gender and age enables an organization to better understand and address the needs of a broad customer base. Personality diversity gives you similar benefits. Your customers have varied personalities and temperaments. In a retail store, an employee with patience and diplomacy may step forward to help a high-strung customer who is angry about a service problem. A detail-oriented employee may be better equipped to help a customer understand all aspects of using a given product or service.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.