Understanding Dominant Personalities at Work

Kelly Cantwell

Are you looking for strategies to work with or manage a dominant personality in the workplace? Or maybe you’re more dominant by nature and are seeking tips to improve your work relationships and job performance. Whatever your reasoning, this post will help you identify and communicate effectively with dominant personalities, as well as recognize the benefits of having one on your team.

What is a dominant personality?

A dominant personality describes an employee or supervisor who exhibits the following traits: goal-oriented, risk-taking, good under stress, highly competitive, ambitious, fast-paced, entrepreneurial, and good at multitasking.

Dominant personalities in the workplace tend to be confident, direct communicators who are focused on outcomes. Some dominant personalities possess the charm and positive energy that make them natural leaders. Others can be divisive, authority seeking, and have less developed soft skills like emotional regulation and active listening.

Dominant personality traits

dominant personality traits at work

Dominant personalities in the workplace are results-driven and focused on winning. Their competitive nature makes them top producers. They may do well in a sales or business development role or with managerial or supervisory responsibilities, given they’ve developed strong interpersonal skills.

While their take-charge personality often puts them in a position of power within an organization, they may be just as content owning a specific role or area that empowers them to achieve independent results unencumbered by the day-to-day of team management.

Dominant personality in work relationships

Having a dominant personality on your work team can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. Employees with dominant personalities are less likely to be people pleasers and can be great at helping examine all sides of an issue or all available options to solve a problem. Their process can be energetic, fun, and productive and doesn’t have to be tense or intimidating.

Employees with dominant personalities are comfortable in leadership positions. If you provide them with the proper training and support, they can be among your company’s most popular and effective managers. Their style of leadership can inspire confidence as their subordinate employees learn to trust them and value their open communication style. To foster a healthy work environment, you’ll want to set a positive tone, provide training and resources, set boundaries, and give dominant personalities room to shine.

Should you hire a dominant person?

The right mix of personalities can be dynamic and energizing. If employers understand the makeup of their teams when considering hiring a dominant personality, a thorough interview process can provide insight into just how a particular candidate’s personality will fit into your current team. You might see potential for problems, but they just might be the missing element that could take your staff to the next level.

Dominant, or type D personalities excel in authoritative roles. They make great team leaders, executives, public speakers, and account executives; positions where individual accomplishments matter. In the right role, a decisive, go-getter attitude can motivate others, rather than tear down subordinates.

Identifying a candidate with a dominant personality

By creating a job baseline from your highest performing team members, you can see what personality traits work best for each role in your organization. From there, you can expedite the hiring process by using baselines to compare candidates to your top performers before manually reviewing applicants and holding interviews.

Hire Success® solutions like the Pre-employment Personality Test can help you identify a dominant personality quickly and without bias. Using the information gleaned from the test, you can evaluate whether a candidate is a good fit for the position you’re trying to fill and see if their values align with your company culture.

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How to manage a dominant employee

Managing a dominant employee takes a certain amount of finesse. When it comes to working relationships, a dominant personality is results-oriented and may be quick to point out flaws in the existing systems and procedures. They value their ideas and want to know that they have been heard. Here’s how to manage dominant employees in a way that plays to their strengths.

  1. Give them autonomy within set boundaries. Allow them to do things their own way, but consider how this might impact other team members.
  2. Encourage input from other employees. Make space or implement processes that allow the ideas and voices of other employees to be heard and considered.
  3. Assert your authority in non-confrontational ways. Be prepared to remind them that you have the final say as the boss, but do so in a way that is respectful of the employee and their ideas.
  4. Validate their ideas. Dominant employees at work are a great source of ideas. You may not be able to adopt all of them, but giving them the validation they need can keep the ideas flowing.
  5. Avoid pitting employees against one another. In a high-charged sales situation, like a car sales floor, a friendly competition can be motivating and fun. However, in most office settings that require cooperation and collaboration, competitions can be demotivating and lead to conflict.

Learning from dominant personalities

Positive dominant personality traits can be infectious. Since dominant personalities are highly motivated and goal-oriented, they can make great team leaders, raising the bar for your entire company. Shaking up the status quo can be a positive way to raise productivity and breathe new life into an undermotivated team.

If you’re interested in finding a dominant personality superstar to lead your team in a way that maintains balance among all personality types, contact Hire Success® today.

Kelly Cantwell

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