True or false: A business is only as good as its employees.
At Appirio, we know this is true, but we also know and accept all employees are not created equal, and that’s not a bad thing. Employees have unique working styles and management needs. Some employees lean heavily into analytical thinking, for example, and others flourish when they have room to creatively explore their work duties. Diversity is integral to successful teams. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, “Diverse teams are more likely to constantly reexamine facts and remain objective.”
We agree that remaining objective is crucial to a thriving team, which is why we put so much emphasis on different worker personalities, ideas, and motivations. With many “meetings of the minds” occurring at one organization, this is truly how the best work gets done and moves the organization forward.
How a team is like a puzzle
Think of it this way — a strong organization mirrors a well-designed puzzle. When was the last time you did a puzzle and all the pieces were the exact same size and shape? Probably never. Traditionally, for everything to fit together and function properly as a puzzle, a variety of pieces come into play. Without all those pieces falling into place in the right way and in the right space, you cannot build a puzzle. Teams in strong, unified organizations must be built the same way. Each employee must be a unique piece of the puzzle that ultimately helps an organization create a whole team who together reaches its overarching goal.
While Appirio has a wide variety of employees, four distinct worker personas come to mind in our office (and probably in the majority of innovative, smart offices around the world): Adventurer, Warrior, Guide, and Diplomat.
These four worker personas all differ from each other, but when they come together to collaborate, they form a cohesive whole that can take ideas to the next level, accomplish goals, work smartly and carefully, and comprehensively tackle any challenge put in front of them.
What do these personas look like, and what role does each play in the puzzle of an office environment? Let’s take a look at these work personas to see what each brings to the mix to create a diverse yet effective team.
A creative solution seeker who likes to actively pursue ideas that produce results
Look around you. Who just got back from learning how to surf in Costa Rica on a solo trip, or who just came up with an off-the-wall solution the team has been stuck on for months? Probably your office’s Adventurer.
Thinking outside the box isn’t enough for true Adventurers. They want to exist outside the box, and they do their best work under little to no constraints. Dreamy yet focused on results, Adventurers are known for incredible brainstorming capabilities because they let their practical yet enthusiastic imaginations run wild.
Spontaneous may best describe most Adventurers, but these types of workers remain loyal and focused, especially when they have very few limits or structures in their way to achieve their goals. Telling them “no” or wrapping these work personas with too much red tape will cause alienation and a feeling of being stifled. So when you’re putting together high functioning teams, let the Adventurer play the role of the big thinker, the dreamer, and the last minute solution-seeker as often as possible.
A team player who’s fiercely reliable and can motivate others
The Warrior won’t thrive in open brainstorming situations like the Adventurer would, but they will thrive when given specific, clear tasks. It is in their very DNA to rally and motivate everyone around them.
Warriors are into achieving greatness, even if that means late nights, long hours, and work that goes above and beyond the scope of the original project. Once a Warrior is motivated, they will move forward in their work until they are sure their team and boss are satisfied and their smart, hard work pays off. They may not be as well-rounded as other personas because they’re so driven towards checking off tasks, but they add value nonetheless and strengthen teams with their noticeable dedication.
True workplace Warriors are known for having one-track minds, so consider that when you’re assigning them tasks or to specific teams. When empowering the Warrior, make sure expectations are clear, including giving them permission to run wild with the work in the best ways they see fit.
A down-to-earth leader who understands real-world implications
Every great journey needs someone showing the way, which is why the Guide work persona is so critical when it comes to bringing order and rigor to the workplace and to achieving goals. Guide personas offer structure and focus with a real, down-to-earth approach, making them naturals to work with Adventurers and Warriors.
The Guide is a perfect persona for teamwork because they will not only work as the voice of reason, but they will also bring value by respecting everyone else -- and their ideas -- while keeping the project afloat. Guides are known for understanding the real-world side of things and making sure achievable goals are top of mind. They don’t mind being a project leader to ensure things get done as they should.
Teams cannot function without the Guide persona, so it’s key to recognize this persona and its strength. The Guide can be difficult to keep happy if they feel disrespected because they often do not share their emotions. Make sure they feel valued, respected, and heard through each project stage (especially if they’re pulling extra weight or keeping dreamier Adventurer types onboard).
A strategic peacekeeper who fosters harmony through mutual respect
The Diplomat connects with just about everyone in the workplace. This fluid workplace persona is always looking to bring everyone’s ideas together while inspiring harmony and productivity. You probably know someone like this in your office, or maybe you are that person. The Diplomat is the polar opposite of the Adventurer and most similar to the Guide persona, but Diplomat personas are completely unique in the office because they value creating fun and peaceful work environments (with emphasis on peaceful).
Natural at leading and understanding, the Diplomat is a key piece to the puzzle of a team. Without the Diplomat, Adventurers would push their ideas through, Warriors would feel undervalued, and Guides would let stress pile up from a lack of structure. Diplomats bring harmony by making everyone feel like they have a spot at the table to voice their unique ideas.
The Diplomat is key to any team, so it is important for these work personas to have space to speak freely. Not listening to or lecturing a Diplomat type will not inspire them to work harder or more efficiently. In fact, it will deter them from what they do best: keep the peace and curate structure. Freedom for Diplomats in a group setting will help these office types lead in the very best possible ways.
Whether your office is filled with Adventurers and Guides, or Warriors and Diplomats, remember that no persona type is perfect. Managing different personalities can be one of the greatest challenges a leader can face in the workplace. Having an awareness and understanding of who you’re working with, however, how they work best, and how they help to complete the puzzle necessary to reach goals builds a stronger team. Appirio knows that as it grows with its employees, the value in understanding unique personas is key.
Tell us on social where you fall. Are you an Adventurer, a Warrior, a Guide, or a Diplomat? Tweet us at @Appirio and let us know!