We all bring our unique personalities, strengths, and life experiences into the workplace each day; creating opportunity for diversity, empathy, connection and innovation. How can we continually cultivate and learn from a diverse network of  individuals to create optimal work satisfaction and culture for all?

1. Know what the differences are and avoid negative labelling or ‘similarity bias’

When we notice that someone has a different way of communication or behaviour trait, it’s easy to feel frustrated and label them as being “difficult” or “opinionated”. This is where igniting our empathy towards others pays off. Try to clarify how and why that individual may think or feel differently. Some people are more introverted and higher in ‘thinking’; leaning to the quieter and more reflective side before providing an answer. Others are more extroverted, tending to be louder and craving interaction with others. Some people naturally want to lead; others prefer to be guided. It’s important to spend time thinking about what the difference with your own personality is to prevent negative labelling or ‘similarity bias.’


2. Recognise cultural differences and our unconscious bias

Different cultures have different ways of interacting and communicating, which can lead to cross-cultural misinterpretations. For some, making a joke at another’s expense is a way of expressing comradery. For others, it might be considered inappropriate, which can lead to feeling bullied or belittled. Diversities of communication style across cultures can lead to breakdowns and increase chance of unconscious bias occurring. Therefore, it’s important to get to know your team; learn about their culture either directly or one on one. This may be encouraged through opportunities to share food, experiences and mannerisms for better understanding, acceptance and compassion.



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3. See people objectively, not personally

Instead of thinking in terms of, “It irritates me when John does this or says this’ try to de-personalise your feelings and opinions to accept people the way they are. Judging people in terms of our own personal preferences can lead to anger and frustration when they act in ways we don’t like. We need to accept individual’s viewpoints, ideas, traits, and backgrounds. Objectively, “This is just John and I don’t have to have an opinion about that”, can make it easier to let things go and accept other people the way they are.

4. Embrace difference: ask questions to reduce confirmation bias

Sometimes we avoid people or ways of thinking that are different to our own. Try taking the opposite approach and ask questions about why someone has a different view or way of working. Different personality types can challenge our confirmation bias and extend our own ways of thinking and working when we focus on a more peripheral view of the situation.


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5. Look for the common agenda or goal

Focusing on the common agenda or goal can help unite people when the differences seem too broad. You may have different views, backgrounds, and communication styles but you are all united in the workplace with the goal of getting the job done. Provide a safe and open space for all and allow professional opinions to be heard. This will encourage optimal motivation and accountability to get the job done within the timeframe and provide the most success due to acknowledgement from all angles.

6. Respect yourself and pick your battles

Respecting yourself isn’t always about taking the hard line and standing your ground. Sometimes, it’s about knowing how to pick your battles. Letting the small things go, like differences of opinion, means that you can concentrate on getting your work done without taking on any unnecessary stress.

7. Be flexible with your communication style

Try adapting your communication style to suit that of the other person. If someone has an introverted personality type, make the effort to talk one-on-one, rather than in a group setting. If someone is more on the extroverted side, talk with them as a part of a group and make sure they can share their ideas with others.

8. Remember that people are full of complexities

It’s not just personality types and cultural backgrounds that influence us but also our moods and emotions. As much as we try to separate our work life from our private life, we all have people and situations outside of work that influence our general mood. It can be helpful to remember that you don’t know what someone else is dealing with internally and that sometimes we all need to be given a bit of leeway.


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9. Take charge of your own wellbeing

When our working environments are full of so many different types of people it can be helpful to remember that it’s not our differences that divide us but how we approach them. You can’t control other people, but you can control how you perceive them, how you engage with them and the degree of influence that they have on your own wellbeing. 



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Talking to your manager or reaching out to your Employee Assistance Program can equip you with additional skills of self-care and communication style.


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Download the 2022 Indicators of a Thriving Workplace Survey to learn more about the five Domains and psychosocial hazards that impact different personalities at work and how you can effectively engage for more positive mental health within workplaces.



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  • Vollrath M. & Torgersen S. (2000) Personality types and coping, Personality and Individual Differences, 29:2, 367-378.
  • Walsh, B. W, & Holland, J. L. (1992) A theory of personality types and work environments.