Despite what you may have heard in Fight Club, you are a unique snowflake. We all are. Some of us are loud and brash with an ego to defend, while some of us are hyper-analytical with a dialed-in focus.
When building performance management plans, it’s important to consider different personality types as you plan your approach to giving feedback. One of the greatest benefits of giving employee feedback is the improved behavior. But that only occurs if the employee receives the feedback well and then acts on it. And, since we’re all unique snowflakes, we don’t all take feedback the same way.
This holiday season, let’s consider all the unique snowflakes (AKA, people) you work with, and more importantly, how to give them feedback.
Keep in mind that these personality types are not absolute (more on that later).
Giving feedback to dominant personalities
Dominant types can be both the easiest and the hardest to give feedback to. On one hand, they’re extroverted, thick-skinned and vocal, which can make it easier to give them feedback. On the other hand, people with such personalities don’t like being micro-managed. They care less about process and more about the end-result, so the way you give them feedback is very important.
With dominant types, be brief and to the point. After all, they can take it. But don’t get too specific in your feedback; guide them towards the solution to the problem. They’ll feel more ownership of the new behavior.
Giving feedback to influencer personalities
These are your quintessential people-people. They are social, highly empathetic and read body language fluently. They get their energy from being around others and love working in teams. Overall, these people are optimistic and usually bring the most energy to any room they’re in.
When giving feedback to influencers, it’s best to recognize positive behavior publicly but keep the constructive feedback private. Influencer types seek approval, so it’s best to let them work on themselves privately and show their accomplishments to the group. You should also approach them in a friendly, informal manner whenever giving feedback, but make sure to record written details for them to review at a later time.
Giving feedback to steady personalities
Ah, good ol’ reliable. People with a steady personality like things to be status-quo. They enjoy routine, tradition and predictability. They’re logical and systematic, tolerant and fair. They may not enjoy working in teams as much as the previous two types, but they’re definitely capable of functioning in a group environment. They’ll just be a little quieter and listen thoughtfully.
There’s a very simple way to communicate feedback to the steady people you know: tell them how you want them to change and they’ll do it. Simple as that. They may adapt slowly to the change, and that’s fine. Give them the time and space to make the change because once they do, they’ll be your rock.
Giving feedback to conscientious personalities
Conscientious, analytical types can be a huge value to a team. They are detail-oriented, logical introverts that are great at maintaining standards and using caution when making important decisions. Their conservative nature gets positive results without taking big risks, but this can sometimes limit their creativity.
Conscientious snowflakes are less receptive to criticism, so it’s important to structure your constructive feedback to sound more like instruction than feedback. Conscientious types have a “do it right” mindset, so play off that by simply telling them what “doing it right” looks like.
Diving into the personality
Now, like I mentioned earlier, these personality types are not absolute. If they were, we wouldn’t all be unique snowflakes. Instead, think of them as parts of a whole. Someone might be 80% dominant and 20% steady. Another might be 40% influencer and 60% conscientious. So, tweak your feedback approach accordingly. Think about what aspects of each personality type apply to them and adapt your approach to make the feedback more effective.
Your turn: Are there any other personality types you have tricks for giving effective feedback? Let us know in the comment sections below!