Podcast: Understanding Every Personality on your Team

14 minutes • May 3, 2021Podcast

To better connect with your team and the people at your organization, check out 16personalities.com.

Make Me Smile story: Dollar General offers employees 4 hours pay to get COVID vaccine

My 2 cents:


Welcome back to another episode. You know that part of the office where Pam will pretend to transfer Michael’s calls and he answers the phone in a really dorky way like “Hello, this is Michael.” but she didn’t really transfer the call and then she’s like “…you want to try again?” And he’s like “..Yeah.” And then he’s just like “Hello?”

That was me just now!

Welcome back to Flip Flops & People Ops!

The show that teaches you how to build a better culture by putting your people first, and today we are going to talk about understanding every personality on your team.

By learning what drives and inspires and even worries each person on your team, you as the manager will increase your impact on the business by helping drive employee engagement through the roof . When you take it a step further by empowering your team to learn about each other in this same way you’re giving everyone on the team the greatest chance to be understood while also investing in and making a difference in the lives of each person on your team.

If you’ve been lucky enough to have thrived or just really felt respected under another’s leadership, first of all you’re pretty lucky because not everybody gets to experience that. I’ve been lucky enough to experience that several times. But, a great manager is a mentor first and a manager second. They are empathetic, willing to share their own struggles, and they’re ready to be supportive no matter what their direct report needs.

People will remember that forever, it’s like your favorite teacher that you ever had. You remember maybe one, two, or three teachers that just really made a difference in your life.

You can be that manager for your team where they all kind of think back on you and remember you as a manager but also someone who really mentored them to grow and understand a lot about the differences of other people and how they themselves operate.

Have you ever left an organization only to join another and realize there seemed to be the same people with different names and different faces, obviously, because they’re different people.

But, there’s a super similar cast of characters and really it happens in life too, in every family and every neighborhood, but especially at work.

It’s the same people no matter if you leave your company or go to another one. There’s always that one person who’s the overachiever, and they are always pushing everyone to accomplish as much as they can. And then there’s someone who’s like a naysayer who find something wrong or something negative to say about every idea. There’s someone who’s always really quiet in the meetings and says that they just need time to think before they answer. There’s someone (sometimes this is me) (often this is me) that’s always talking and just jumps in front of everyone and says whatever comes to their mind first without even really thinking through where they’re going with their thoughts. There’s the person who’s always late. There’s the person who’s annoyed at the person who’s always late. There’s the person who wears their emotions on their sleeve, and there’s the person who seems to keep a really cool head when things get kind of heated.

Were you picturing really specific people just then? Because I could picture lots of people I’ve met through life.

Managing all of these different personality types is not easy, but the best teams have a really diverse group of people with separate tendencies, different ways of thinking, and that’s what keeps the team from having blind spots and keeps you from moving too fast on projects. A really good manager can figure out what motivates each employee, how they prefer to be spoken to, how they prefer to work, what their tendencies are, and how to bring out the best in everyone so that they can work together .

So what do a lot of companies do? They shell out a ton of money on a personality typing exercise for their organization or for their team. From Myers Briggs to DISC to the Enneagram, there’s really no shortage for ways to build relationships and seek to understand the other people on your team.

But I have found a better way to do it!

One of my favorite hacks in my professional and personal life has been a website called 16personalities.com, it’s just the number 16 1-6 personalities.com.

i have relied on their website to better understand friends and coworkers and family members for years 16 personalities is a tool that i have found to be very effective and it’s free! I am not affiliated with them, I do not get any money from this.

Don’t get me wrong, those other more expensive options give you a very detailed profile of each employee, a color coded map and it shows how the whole organization is laid out in this very colorful rainbow of introverts versus extroverts versus strategic thinkers versus intuitive thinkers. But it is a data dump. It’s hard enough to wade through all the takeaways of your own profile and breakdowns of your strengths and your weaknesses and your tendencies, but if you have a coworker that you tend to butt heads with, or you just want to seek to understand so you can work better together , how can you access their results? It’s expensive, it’s a lot of work, it’s very time consuming, and a lot of companies don’t really do the right thing with the information afterward; which is make it accessible to everybody so they can use it as a tool to work better together.

So 16 personalities has a free assessment, I will link out to it in the show notes.

So you take this free assessment and it asks you on a scale of strongly disagree to strongly agree questions like ” It’s easy for me to talk to new people” or ” I like to plan out a project before I start.” And at the end of the assessment, it assigns an acronym like I N T J or E N F P. That acronym is a breakdown of where you fall within the five personality aspects which are mind, energy, nature, tactics, and identity. Each of those words you can think of having two sides. So for mind, this aspect shows how we interact with our surroundings. There’s either introverts or extroverts.

Introverts prefer solitary activities and can get exhausted by social interaction, while extroverted individuals prefer group activities and they get really energized by being around a bunch of other people.

The second personality aspect is energy, and it relates to how we see the world and process information. The two sides to this is either observant or intuitive. Observant individuals are very practical and pragmatic. They tend to have strong habits and they focus on what is happening or what has already happened. Whereas intuitive individuals are very open-minded, curious, imaginative, and try to find hidden meaning and future possibilities.

The third is nature which is really just how we make decisions and cope with our emotions. There are thinking individuals and feeling individuals within nature. Thinking individuals prioritize logic over their emotions. They tend to hide their feelings and they would rather be efficient. Feeling individuals are very emotionally expressive and they want to focus a lot on social harmony and help create cooperation.


The fourth personality aspect is called tactics, and this is how we go about planning and decision-making. There are judging individuals and prospecting. Judging people are decisive and very organized and they value clarity, predictability, and closure. Prospecting individuals are very good at improvising and spotting opportunities. They can tend to come across a little bit more flexible and relaxed.

And finally the fifth is your identity, which is how we show our confidence in our abilities and our decisions. There’s assertive and turbulent. Assertive individuals are very self-assured and even tempered, and sometimes even resistant to stress. They refuse to worry too much and they don’t push themselves too hard when it comes to achieving goals.

Whereas turbulent individuals are self-conscious and very sensitive to stress. They’re likely to experience a wide range of emotions to be a perfectionist and eager to improve.

And now that you know how the acronyms are made, that’s where like all the fun begins.

You can read through your profile, which I am an E N F P. I also have a nickname. Each one has a nickname. I’m called the campaigner, because I tend to embrace big ideas and actions that reflect my sense of hope and goodwill toward others. (Hence this podcast!)

I have vibrant energy that can flow in many directions. Yes, ask my husband. It flows out of the laundry basket. It flows when bed is not made.

I can read this whole profile breakdown, of my strengths and weaknesses, my friendships, what kind of parent I am, career paths, workplace habits , and this just helps me learn about myself in a really easy to understand and summarized format.

Then when you have a coworker take this test, you learn their acronym, you can go dig into their profile!

Also, this happens a lot. There’s always someone who’s like “I don’t want to be labeled, don’t put me into a box!” And this is not uncommon and it’s okay to have those feelings.

Often what I hear someone say that these tests aren’t accurate because it depends on what kind of day you’re having.

But if I’m having a good day or a bad day and I’m asked “Do you tend to make new friends easily?” my answer would really stay the same. It is really easy for me to make friends, but also if I’m asked “Do you tend to plan out a project before you start?” Whether I’m having a good day or a bad day, I know that I don’t tend to do that.

So any hesitancy from a coworker can be met with an empathetic answer from you that you’re only trying to create a better work environment for both of you, and that you want to seek to understand them, and they can better understand why you do the things that you do. And who can say no to that??

So when you all worked to understand the preferences, strengths, and weaknesses of each other, then all of you are setting the stage for some serious collaboration, and fast forwarding to the fun part of work, which is creating really strong relationships and if you’re lucky, some really awesome work friendships.

Here’s a real life example . So in a role where I was working in marketing at a previous organization, we had a graphic designer and he and I just seemed to butt heads. I felt like whenever i saw him he was staring daggers at me and that we just did not click. I asked him if he would be open to reading about my profile and taking this assessment and he agreed, and as we were reading through each other’s profiles we started laughing. He was like, yeah, this is totally you.

You kind of come to my desk and you’re very energetic and you have all these thoughts and things that you’re trying to say, but we’re also talking about a different project and sometimes I just feel overwhelmed. And I said, yeah, this kind of seems like you too!. You keep to yourself and sometimes you seem frustrated like you don’t want to brainstorm with me, and you seem extra cold when i have a last minute idea or a change to a project.

And what we figured out was that I am an , enthusiastic, ENFP who tends to move really fast.

I’m energized by being around others so i would bring him half thought out projects because i wanted to collaborate, but he is an ISTJ. he preferred order. He was an individual contributor and he didn’t like being interrupted, and he wanted me to use a template for our projects.

And as we worked on a few other projects, we were able to practice what the other person needed. I gave him a heads up if I needed to talk through a project, which he was happy to do if I gave him enough notice to block it out in his day. He didn’t seem very cold anymore, and I was getting the collaboration I needed to feel like i was getting my best ideas out there.

We were able to have a lot more radical candor and it became one of my favorite working relationships because we were able to get so much done together.

I talk about radical candor a lot sometimes too. It’s when you have a level of trust and , a foundation where you know the other person’s not trying to hurt your feelings, but you can kind of say what you mean. And he and I were able to really form this strong relationship where we pushed each other to be better. and we became friends. It was great.

And just to make this all come full circle, you might leave an organization because you feel like “Ugh the people here, I just can’t work with them” or you inherit this team and you’re like “The personalities here are too much for me.” But then you leave to go to a new organization and you’re like “Oh my gosh, it’s the same people. The same type of people are here too!” So you need to look inside yourself and figure out what your tendencies are. Be self-aware, and then build the rapport with other people to try to take the same assessment so that you can understand them just as well.

Not all insights are pretty for this assessment or any assessment that’s telling you what your strengths and weaknesses are.

It can be a hard pill to swallow to realize that yeah for me sometimes i can find it really hard to focus, sometimes I can overthink things. Sometimes I am independent to a fault and I really hate to be micromanaged and it can rear its ugly head.

But in my life and in my relationships, whether it’s at work or it’s in my personal life, when I can feel myself start to be triggered I know these things about me and I can work to calm myself down, and maintain the relationship with the other person!

So a good leader knows a lot about their own strengths and weaknesses, but they also know every unique personality on their team. People need to be communicated with in different ways, and they need different levels of rapport to feel comfortable to bring their best at work.

If you’re butting heads with someone, or you just feel like you’re not connecting with people in a way that you could at your organization, try this! Your opposites will often form some of the most unlikely work friendships and

If you manage a team, this is just a great tool to use for everyone to understand each other.

At Pingboard we use what we sell Pingboard is a software that helps keep your employees connected.

And our users can add a custom field that lets people add their acronym to their employee profile. So I’ve used this before to work with my own boss I’ve looked up his personality type, I’ve also used it to work with our VP of product, and I’ve learned how to work better with these people in ways that I wouldn’t have known. If I didn’t take the time to just learn about them.

You will realize that together you and these people have a really well-rounded and wide array of skills and capabilities.


Okay, this next segment is called Make Me Smile.

This is where I tell you a story about an employee or an entire organization that made me smile.

This week, it’s all about Dollar General. And they announced that along with lots of other companies who are doing this, they are going to pay team members a one-time payment equivalent of four hours pay to go receive the COVID 19 vaccination.


They said that they don’t want their employees to have to choose between receiving a vaccination or coming to work, so they’re trying to remove any barriers like travel time, mileage, childcare needs. Although it’s a personal choice to get the COVID-19 vaccine, they are encouraging employees to take it and not requiring them, but creating the opportunity if they want to take it.

I think there’s a great application here even for flu season. One day COVID-19 will be a thing of the past, but there will be ways to reuse this strategy in order to drive employee engagement and show your people that you care about their health and their wellbeing by making sure that there’s time for them to take care of themselves.

Our last segment is called my 2 cents where I share a quick tip to help make you a better leader. So this week on the heels of that last segment where we’re talking about taking care of ourselves, I’m just going to share a couple of hacks that I have started using as I work from home.

It’s taken me about a year to figure out a lot of this, but every single morning I’ve started to do a few things. First I do not snooze my alarm. Apparently it’s really bad for you to snooze because you’re temporarily tricking your body into thinking you might be able to get some more REM sleep. When you hit snooze, your body tries to go back into REM and then eventually you have to get up. You’re not able to get another three hours of sleep. That’s part of the reason why you might be groggy for the rest of the day, don’t snooze your phone. Also, make your bed! So silly, but if the first thing you do is make your bed before you even leave your room or go out to make the coffee, it feels so good! The beds just made. It looks nice, it feels good. You did something right.

I love coffee. But before I have my cup of coffee, I’ve started drinking a warm cup of lemon water. I know that sounds maybe a little fru fru or maybe a little different, but, our bodies have been fasting all night.

So a great way to jumpstart your brain and your digestive tract is to have a cup of warm water, warm your body up, THEN have the coffee. I really have a noticeable difference in my energy when I start with the water instead of starting with the coffee. , before I walk the entire 40 feet to my office, which is from the kitchen to this guest bedroom that I’m sitting in, I have been stretching.

There’s a lot of great resources online. I used to do a YouTube channel called Yoga with Adrian, I can link out to that in the show notes. She taught me a lot of yoga moves which have really just become some of my favorite stretches. So I’ll put on a podcast. I love to listen to Joe Rogan and his science guests, you know, the people who talk about deep space and, Astrophysics. Stuff like that. I’ll just kind of catch up on a podcast and stretch for about 10 to 15 minutes before I sit down. And I noticed that my back hurts a lot less.

And lastly, at the end of the day, I have been organizing my desk. I’m a creative free spirit so I can tend to just kind of walk away and go into the kitchen and see what the kids are doing, see what I’m missing out on, but somehow I always end up using like eight pens in a day.

So I put my pens away. I organize my desk. I wipe it down because I usually had coffee and some food, some water, some Topo Chico. Obviously take away all your dishes, close your computer, maybe even wipe it down. I turn off my monitor and I just make it feel like the Workday is over and I’m stopping, And the next morning I wake up and my desk is clean and ready to go.

And I know you might be thinking, gee, Christie, you are changing my life. Make my bed?! I didn’t know! I get it those are really little things but the little things add up to the big things!

If it was easy, then everyone’s bed would be made, nobody’s desk would be messy with coffee stains, and nobody’s back with hurt because they stretched every morning!

So there’s just a few quick tips that you can try while you’re working from home to get your day started off right and end capping your night to stop thinking about work, and you can kind of just take a break and not feel like work is home and home is work.

So that’s all I have for you today and that was plenty! This is a longer episode than normal but find me on social! . If you want to check out anything I mentioned, go to pingboard.com/peopleops. P I N G B O A R D.com/peopleops If you like my tips, if you have other ideas for how you get to understand the people on your team, I would love to hear it or just hear how you’re applying some of these ideas. Go ahead and tag me on LinkedIn, tag Pingboard who brings you this podcast! And go rate us wherever you listen to podcasts. So I can spend more time on the show, and with you guys!

I will talk to you soon!

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