How to get along with your co-workers and your boss

  • There are four distinct personality types in every office.
  • Recognizing the key differences in how people work and then flexing your own working style accordingly will go a long way to improving your performance on the job.

Chemistry isn’t just crucial for dating.

It also plays a large role in your relationships at work and how you fare in the job itself, including your engagement in projects and meetings and your career success overall.

So says a new book called "Business Chemistry: Practical Magic for Crafting Powerful Work Relationships" by Suzanne Vickberg and Kim Christfort.

Their research identified four distinct personality types in every office. By recognizing the key differences in how people work and then flexing your own working style accordingly, you can improve your performance on the job.

According to Vickberg, who is also a psychologist, the more you know about your co-workers and managers’ personality types, as well as your own, the better off you’ll be.

“It’s flexing the way you do things so you can work better, and strengthening the relationships [at work], to get more of what you want out of it,” Vickberg said.

Here are the four primary types:
  • Pioneers spark energy and imagination. They’re outgoing, spontaneous and adaptable. They’re creative thinkers who believe big risks can bring great things.
  • Guardians value stability and bring order. They’re practical, detail-oriented and reserved. They’re deliberate decision-makers apt to stick with the status quo.
  • Drivers value challenge and generate momentum. They’re technical, quantitative and logical. They’re direct in their approach to people and problems.
  • Integrators value connection and draw teams together. They’re empathetic, diplomatic and relationship oriented. They’re attuned to nuance, seeing shades of gray rather than black and white.

For example, a detail-oriented guardian may tend to write long, thorough emails. But if you are writing to a driver, who is more focused, then keep it short and only include key points to improve your communication, Vickberg said.

“The more you can understand different people’s styles, the more engaged people will be and efficient at getting work done.”

To understand your own style — and your office mates — there is a test which you can take here.

There are some generalizations as well: Women are more likely to be integrators and men are more likely to be drivers. Baby boomers tend to be pioneers or integrators — and CEOs are most likely to be either pioneers or drivers.

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Of course, better understanding other people’s personality types can be beneficial outside the workplace as well, Vickberg added.

At work, or at home, improving your chemistry with others goes a long way.

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