What Your Work Style Says About the Role You Should Take in a Team

a team at work

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Anouare Abdou for Hive
Anouare Abdou for Hive
April 19, 2024 at 3:46PM UTC
Knowledge is power. When you understand your work style, you not only maximize your individual performance but also become a better collaborator. 

Why understanding your work style is important.

“Knowing your own work style may help you better explain yourself to others in terms of your timeline, communication and environmental needs. This awareness might also help you adapt and make changes based on what the team needs, or what the task at hand requires, especially if you can express this and ask for support in your efforts to adapt,” according to Miriam Groom, an industrial and organizational therapist, HR strategist, and founder of recruitment firm Groom & Associates and of career counseling practice MindfulCareer
“If you know what you’re good at, you can communicate that to your team and become the go-to person in those areas. This simplifies things for your team because they know who to turn to when faced with the problems you’re good at solving,” says Alice Pyclik, Ph.D., a research consultant at Talent Plus
Knowing your work style also means that you are aware of the environments that don’t bring out the best of you. “For instance, some employees thrive under ambiguity, whereas some prefer a more structured approach,” adds Pyclik. “Assigning a project with no directions would energize the first employee but overwhelm the second. On the other hand, a project that requires strict attention to detail and adherence to a process would be a perfect fit for the second employee and feel like micromanagement to the first.” 
Plus, the more you become aware of how you work, the more you’ll understand how others work too. “Self-awareness also allows you to come to terms with the reality that everyone works differently. Understanding why you might work differently compared to someone else is a useful first step in productive communication and teamwork,” says Groom. 

Figure out your work style and where you fit in a team.

Ready to reflect? To understand your work style, it’s important to be honest with yourself and ask yourself a few key questions. “What projects have you excelled at? What have you done at work that doesn’t feel like work? On the other hand, what have you had to force yourself to do at work?” says Pyclik. According to her, the common threads in your answers give you insight into your strength. And completing this exercise with other team members can be especially enlightening to improve the way you approach projects and who does what. 
Groom also recommends using the DiSC assessment tool. “It is a psychometric test that best reveals each person’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their work style. A person can do some self-reflection and counseling to become more aware of their own strengths, but it’s not nearly as thorough and precise as the DiSC assessment,” she says.

The four types of work styles, according to the DiSC assessment.

The DiSC assessment measures four main personality dimensions: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. It consists of a series of questions about your tendencies, preferences and patterns of behaviors in different work situations. Here’s what each one of the results categories means. 

1. If you have dominance traits.

“People with Dominance traits according to the DiSC are usually very assertive (as the name suggests) and often prefer fast-paced environments. They are motivated by data and results rather than positive social feedback. They might thrive as lawyers, law enforcers, and stock brokers,” says Groom. 

2. If you have a strong influence personality. 

According to her, those with strong Influence personalities tend to be people-oriented and social. Charismatic? You bet. Extroverted? Most likely. “They will be motivated by keeping people happy, as well as influencing people’s actions. More often than not, sales roles require this working style, as building relationships is often key,” she adds. 

3. If you score high on steadiness.

If you love to coordinate things and enjoy structure, you may score high on the Steadiness dimension of the DiSC assessment. “Leaders with Steadiness personalities are well suited to non-profit organizations or government positions where they can use their experience with bureaucratic processes, and to help their team maintain a steady routine,” according to Groom. 

4. If you are highly conscientious.

“Finally, employees with Conscientious traits are often highly-organized and data-driven. They will want a highly-organized environment where they can focus on logical and pragmatic solutions. Examples of roles that are best suited for those with Conscientious traits are computer scientists, data scientists, and engineers,” she adds. 
It’s important to keep in mind that most people have a combination of these traits and they all exist within a spectrum. 
Whether you take the DiSC assessment or reflect on the work styles above and have a lightbulb moment about your personality type in the workplace, use your self-knowledge wisely to make the most of your superpowers.
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This article originally appeared in Hive — the world's first democratically built productivity platform. Learn more at Hive.com.

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