Motivating different types of employees

Work colleaguesMotivating different personalities can be incredibly demanding and the reality is that most teams in the workplace are going to comprise of all different types. Taking the time to understand what motivates these different personality types not only ensures a more harmonious working environment, it also makes you a better manager and encourages your employees to be the best versions of themselves.

The defender

Defenders crave security, predictability and stability. They thrive in well-established organisations and they want set routines and for their role to be clearly defined.

They like regular communication and continuity. Tell them in writing what you expect from them and reward and value their loyalty.

The friend

This person seeks belonging, friendship and fulfilling relationships. They value organisations that have a strong team ethos, excellent social activities and opportunities for helping others.

They’re also likely to be spontaneous and energetic, warm and talkative. You will probably have noticed that they like to be the centre of attention too.

If you’re struggling to get them to focus on the task in hand, tell them how impressed others will be if they complete the job and allow them to be spontaneous so they can address different situations as they see fit.

The star

This person seeks recognition, respect and social esteem. They like visible perks, clear hierarchical structures, job titles and plenty of opportunities to shine.

This person is motivated when they feel supported, consulted and involved. They want a good social working environment and thrive on public praise, awards and status. Involve them in projects and regularly review their targets and goals. They value positive feedback and love public praise so when they reach targets, reward them in a visible way.

The director

This person seeks power, influence and control over people and resources. Their goals are to be in a management or leadership role with opportunities for promotion and good career prospects.

They crave responsibility and the ability to influence others. They will be motivated by a job title that reflects power and providing them with further training or coaching to help them advance in their career will also provide them with a boost.

The builder

This person is driven by money, material satisfactions and above-average living. They like their performance to be linked to rewards and are drawn to high-paying professions and visible routes to promotion.

They are motivated by money and material perks. They feel most energised when they have a clear career path so organise regular progress reviews and increase responsibility. You can engage their competitive side with games, sporting activities and competitions.

The expert

This person actively seeks out knowledge, mastery and specialisation. They like roles that require specialist knowledge and skills and are motivated by environments where personal development leads to formal recognition of expertise.

This type of employee is very much motivated by training and development, especially when this is linked to promotion. They like ambitious targets and being a guide or mentor to others.

The creator

This person seeks innovation, creativity and change. They enjoy solving problems and working for dynamic and innovative organisations. They want to be involved in generating ideas and adding originality to projects.

Recognise their creativity by rewarding them for innovation. They will get bored if they’re in a routine for too long and will therefore become demotivated quickly. Provide a stimulating working environment and give them plenty of opportunities for brainstorming ideas.

The spirit

This worker craves freedom, independence and autonomy. They want a job where they can control their own time, make their own decisions and use their discretion.

Delegate responsibility and allow them to work autonomously. Support them to understand their values and clarify their vision for their work. They can be demotivated by rules, restrictions and procedures. Create clear boundaries to give them the freedom they need but avoid micro-managing them.

The searcher

This person seeks meaning and purpose and they want to make a difference. They’re motivated by learning, caring-orientated roles and projects, often with customer-facing opportunities. Their top motivators are praise and regular feedback. Give them significant, important work and offer plenty of variety.

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