How to Motivate People by Personality Type


One of the leader’s many jobs is to motivate their staff. Motivation leads to improved employee satisfaction, improved efficiency, and productivity. While managers have several options for motivating a team, it can become a bit challenging when you consider the fact that a workplace has people with different personality types.

Personality types determine what people value and how they will react in different situations. This means that what motivates one employee might not necessarily drive the next. Motivating people by personality type, therefore, is an excellent way to maximise their strengths.

Many different personality types exist, and various systems categorise them differently. The Myers Briggs test, based on the teachings of Carl Jung, groups personalities in 16 categories. These are derived from a breakdown of the dimensions of Attitude, perceiving function, judging function, and lifestyle preferences.

The Revised Neo personality inventory measures what they call the big five traits. That is; Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.

This article shall look at four broad personality types; Introverts, Extroverts, Judgers, and Perceivers, as well as how managers can motivate each of them.


A more quiet or reserved demeanour typifies the introverted personality. Introverts are not unfriendly or anti-social; they simply tend to prefer calmer environments. They might go out of their way to blend in, so don’t be surprised to find them in the middle of a loud conversation. However, watch them at the end, they might end up retreating outside to take a breath.

Here’s how to motivate the introvert personality type:

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Set them up in smaller teams

Introverts thrive with minimal distraction, and while they work well alone, they can excel in smaller teams where everyone can be heard, and there’s enough space and time to consider and explore every member’s input.

Commend them for a job well done, but do it in private.

Introverts do not like being the centre of attention. You can observe this by where they choose to sit in an open-plan office. They will likely be the ones seated at the back and the edges.

Like all employees, they benefit from appreciating their efforts for a job well done, but calling them out to praise them in front of everyone will only serve to embarrass them. Instead, sending them an email or bringing it up in your weekly check-ins would be a better way to motivate this personality type.

Give them their space.

Picture a scenario where most afternoons an employee leaves their assigned seat and carries their laptop to work in the board room or a more secluded area in the office. You might have an introvert on your hands. If they are getting their work done, consider giving them the space they need. This comfort is a good motivator for introverts.


The extrovert personality type is outgoing and enjoys interacting with others. They are more likely to comfortably pitch their ideas to a large group and suggest team bonding activities after work. The extrovert thrives off of team dynamics.

Here’s how to motivate the extrovert personality type.

Give them a challenge.

According to research, extroversion is linked with a higher motivation to achieve positive results, so these individuals will enjoy going after the tough assignments. Numerous easy tasks will leave them feeling bored and unmotivated.

Give them leadership positions.

Extroverts like to be in charge, and trusting them with their own team is an excellent way to motivate them. However, equip them with the tools they need to work with and not overshadow others. Training in listening and communication skills will ensure that they do not chafe those they are meant to lead.

Praise them

Extroverts enjoy external motivation, and a loud thank you will work well for them. When they do a good job, tell them, and this will motivate them to keep going.


The judging personality type is organised and likes structure. Because of this, judgers will not miss deadlines and are good at seeing projects to their end. This is an individual who takes their work very seriously. Put them in charge of making schedules and work plans, and they will do it with ease and ensure that others stick to it. They are also good at developing strategies

Here’s how to motivate judgers:

Involve them in planning phases

With their love for organisation and structure, judgers will be motivated by being part of the planning and strategising teams for projects.

Prioritise time off

The judger personality type can get so involved in a project that they ignore their own wellbeing. Burning the midnight oil is something judgers will repeatedly do in a bid to make a deadline. This can lead to burn out and compromise their morale and motivation down the line. Make time off non-negotiable. Of course, for a judger, the days off should have been planned in advance.

Ask for their feedback.

Getting feedback from employees is a great motivation tool. For judgers, it is even more so. It gives them the chance to share their ideas and plans. It will be even better if you can implement their suggestions. If not, provide them with a reason why. They will still feel valued and happy to be heard.


These individuals are more spontaneous in the workplace, and you can count on them to jump on a project mid-way. They might be the creatives and tend to take the approach less travelled. Because of this risk-taking nature, they might make some mistakes or arrive at unusual, innovative solutions. They are the opposites of their judger colleagues.

Here’s how to motivate perceiver personality type:

Go for flexibility

Perceivers will enjoy a laissez-faire leadership style. Don’t be surprised if a perceiver asks if they can stay home on a weekday and instead come in over the weekend to get a piece of work done. If this is a possible compromise (depending on your field and tasks), oblige them, and they will deliver.

Break tasks into smaller chunks

This is especially important if they are on a long project. With smaller targets and milestones, you will be able to keep your perceiver motivated. With each milestone, they will feel motivated to start on a new one.

Celebrate wins

Work is play for a perceiver. So make it fun by celebrating when teams achieve their goals. Besides, this will break the routine of the workplace. Routine is one thing the perceiver personality type isn’t fond of.

In Summary

Personality diversity is a good thing for a company. It means that you get the best from different people, introverts can bring a more in-depth analysis to tasks, extroverts can be counted on to lead the charge with new innovations.

In contrast, judgers bring organisation and perceivers a little spontaneity. To get the best out of different personalities, managers should also focus on different ways to motivate them.

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.