4 Personality Types that all Leaders Should Learn to Recognize

These 4 personality types work and communicate in very different ways. Learning how to identify and understand personality types based on common personality traits is a key component of effective, practical leadership.

Diverse group of individuals discuss personality styles in the workplaceThe Golden Rule states: Treat others the way you want to be treated. While this is generally a good rule of thumb, the reality is that, as leaders, we often must break that rule to relate to the various personality types and manage them effectively. Not everyone in the world communicates and reacts to their environment the same way. Some of us enjoy basking in the glow of the limelight, while others are very uncomfortable with public displays of praise situations.

In my experience, there tend to be four main personality types: analytical, driver, amiable, and expressive. Each personality type exhibits general characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses and needs to be managed and communicated with in different ways. Understanding these unique traits will help you successfully manage personality types to increase your team’s job satisfaction, improve performance, and reach organizational goals.

1. Analytical 

The analytical personality type is very deep and thoughtful. Serious and purposeful individuals,  analytical types set very high-performance standards, both personally and professionally. They are orderly and organized and tend to have a dry but witty sense of humor.

The strength of analytical personalities lies in their perfectionism, and they want things done right the first time.  In addition, analyticals are often economical, tidy and highly self-disciplined.

Analytical people’s weaknesses are that they can be moody, critical, and negative. As the name implies, they often over-analyze everything and have difficulty making decisions. Their perfectionism is also a weakness at times, as they can be guilty of making their pursuit of perfection stall completion.

2. Driver

Drivers are dynamic and active personality types. They exude confidence and naturally gravitate toward leadership positions. These personalities are goal-oriented but not detail-oriented. Drivers are great with the big picture—they’re visionaries and can see how we’re going to get to where we need to go. However, drivers are not always great at taking the interim steps necessary to get there.

You can probably see how an analytical type and a driver might not work very well together – however, their skills can nicely complement each other. As one saying goes, if you want to get to the moon, you hire a driver, but if you want to get back, you hire an analytical.

Drivers’ strongest characteristic is their determination. They are independent, and they are productive. Drivers are decisive visionaries who get things done. A driver would rather make a bad decision than no decision; they just want a decision to be made.

However, the drivers can also be insensitive, unsympathetic, harsh, proud, and sarcastic. Drivers do not like to admit when they are wrong. They can also rush to a decision without thoroughly thinking through or understanding the results or consequences of their decision.

3. Amiable

First, let’s define amiable personalities. Amiable personality types are known for their friendly and pleasant manner. They are typically a patient and well-balanced individual who is quiet but witty. They’re very sympathetic, kind, and inoffensive—amiables do not like to offend people.

An amiable person is easygoing, and consequently, everybody likes them. Do you know why? Because they don’t like conflict, they’re very easy to get along with. They’re diplomatic and calm. Unfortunately, their weakness is that they can be stubborn and selfish. Amiables’ aversion to offense and conflict can make them appear weak or passive.

4. Expressive

We call the expressive the social specialist because they love to have fun. They are individuals who turn disaster into humor, prevent dull moments, and are very generous. Expressives want to feel included in everything—projects, teamwork, and conversations.

A great strength of the expressive personality is that they are very outgoing. Likewise, expressive people are ambitious, charismatic, and persuasive. However, they can also be disorganized, undisciplined, loud, and incredibly talkative. Expressives can talk up to 200 words a minute with gusts up to 300. In other words, they can talk!

Of course, these are generalizations, and many people will exhibit some amount of any number of these personality types. However, everyone will more strongly exhibit characteristics of one personality type over all the others. Recognizing and understanding which personality types you manage on your team will help you motivate and communicate with them.

Managing different personality types and personality traits is a difficult part of our roles as managers. However, identifying and understanding how each personality type is motivated and how they communicate is a critical step in effectively managing your team to success.

About Crestcom International, LLC.


Crestcom International, LLC is an international leadership development organization, training more than one million leaders for 25,000 businesses in over 60 countries across the globe. We achieve this through a blend of live-facilitated multimedia videos, interactive exercises, and shared learning experiences. Crestcom implements action plans and coaching accountability sessions to ensure measured development in key leadership competency areas. For more information, please contact your local Crestcom representative found here.