How to motivate distinct types of employees?

Employees are complex and so does what they bring to the table. Their personalities and characters differ from each other. While some stand out with their out-of-the-box ideas. Some know how to handle demanding clients.

Categorizing any of them as ‘average’ workers isn’t right. The ‘One size fits all’ approach is outdated. As an HR/supervisor, you need to understand your employees and give them the right motivation.

Below are the common types of employees and how to motivate them toward success:

  • The director:

We all know one employee who loves taking the lead on team projects and company initiatives. With their strong influence over the team and resources, you know whom to contact while discussing new initiatives and policies. 

How to lead them: 

    • Give them responsibilities and get the best out of them in a managerial position. 
    • Develop their strengths but make them realize not to overstep their roles. 
    • Ask them for feedback about team decisions and projects. 
    • Provide them with a list of clear tangible outcomes with the project.
  • The Introvert:

There is one team member who excels at their work and gives valuable suggestions when asked. But, they aren’t loud and opinionated as others. Unfortunately, this makes them the most misunderstood personalities in the workplace.  

How to lead them: 

    • Ask for their opinions during one-on-one conversations. 
    • Give them clear agenda in advance so they can prepare their talking points.
    • Create a safe space for them to work by themselves. 
    • Make them realize that their feedback is heard and acted upon. 
  • The Creator:

That one employee who is remembered for their unique ideas and for trying out new things. They may easily adapt to new and challenging environments. But, they need a high degree of autonomy to plant the seeds of innovation.

How to lead them: 

    • Avoid giving them monotonous work in the long run as they can be bored.
    • Give them the optimal amount of pressure so they can think creatively. 
    • Recognize their creativity and reward them for the same. 
    • Set goals for them that are led by creativity. 
  • The Free Spirit:

Aren’t we all aware of that employee who is fun and carefree yet extremely productive? They dislike being micromanaged and follow their own creative direction to bring out the best in the team.  

How to lead them: 

    • Avoid micromanaging them but give them clear boundaries. 
    • Share the company’s vision and goals and let them figure out the rest. 
    • Give them the power to make their own decisions. 
    • Ensure that they feel connected and included at the workplace.


  • The Social Butterfly

The socially active person in the team is usually the life of the party. They have outgoing personalities and seek belonging, friendships, and fulfilling relationships. 

How to lead them: 

    • Provide them good social working environment.
    • Encourage them to promote collaboration between teams and be in charge of social events. 
    • Introduce your new hires to them and let them take care of the rest. 
    • Ensure that they work on their tasks too apart from being people’s person. 
  • The Visionary

Visionary doesn’t only go with leaders but with employees too. These employees give their opinions and suggestions by looking at the bigger picture. This makes them difficult to understand but their suggestions are valuable. 

How to lead them: 

    • Share the company’s vision so they know what actions to take. 
    • Approach new tasks in an unstructured way. Let them decide how to proceed further.
    • Share others’ opinions too.
    • Visionaries = challengers. Give them challenging ideas.
  • The Growers

There are few employees who want to align their personal goals with the business. They want to rise above the status quo and focus on their career and learning. 

How to lead them: 

    • Discuss their career path genuinely. 
    • Align their career goals with the organizational goals to see the bigger picture.
    • Provide them with honest feedback on their performance. 
    • Provide them with resources and assignments related to their career.

Every personality has something unique to bring to your team. There might be employees who are a mix of two or more personalities. But, whatever the case, know that the source of motivation differs for every employee. 

Ensure that you tap into each employee’s internal motivational fire. So, that your workplace is protective and meaningful for all! 

                               Note: This article was originally published on Linkedin.