Skip to main content Skip to footer

How to identify different working styles for better productivity 9 min read
Get started

Teams with high synergy and productivity are rarely a matter of luck. To keep employees motivated, confident, and willing to face challenges, it’s crucial to recognize individual strengths, weaknesses, and work preferences. In short, leadership must recognize individual working styles and create an environment where each one thrives.

In an increasingly diverse world, understanding these styles helps leaders and managers positively organize team dynamics, engaging employees to meet and exceed goals. The results pay off when those differences are well managed and the balance of ideas and actions becomes part of the company’s culture.

In this guide, we’ll explain the various styles you’ll encounter in a work environment. We’ll also explore how these styles fit into project management and how managers can allocate resources based on them. But first, let’s start with a definition.

Get started

What is a work style?

A work style is defined by how someone functions in a work environment. It’s how an individual organizes assignments, relates to colleagues, and completes work. Work styles are governed by many factors, such as education, familial influence, values, ​​and individual personality. Identifying these work styles requires careful observation and interaction with the individual. In doing so, you’ll begin to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and preferences.

 A team where everyone thinks the same way can make it more difficult to find a solution to a problem, but it can be equally difficult to reach a consensus when everyone thinks differently.

All styles have strengths and weaknesses — it’s up to leaders and managers to develop tools, methods, and practices that empower individual employees while helping them work in a cohesive, integrated way where each individual can leverage their best abilities. The first step in doing this is to understand each work style.

“Working styles” is a part of our Project Management Glossary — check out the full list of terms and definitions!

What are the different types of work styles?

To achieve more productivity in teamwork, it’s necessary to know how to recognize the main working styles. That said, it’s important to understand that working styles aren’t boxes your team members fit into. It’s perfectly natural for a worker to have a mix of attributes from each style. Leaders can better understand where their team members fit into a work environment by first understanding each type of work style.

Independent and logical

Independent and logical workers tend to, and prefer to, act independently. They’re often proactive, focused, determined, and usually think linearly. They usually excel at working with numbers and data and in work that requires significant analysis. Team members with this style may have difficulty communicating with colleagues, may neglect planning, and can sometimes bump heads with management.


The supportive work style is characterized by a higher level of emotional intelligence and teamwork. Individuals may be the first to notice if someone is sad, insecure, or struggling. Since they value team harmony, they’re often good conflict mediators. While this supportive style is invaluable to teams, these individuals may have difficulty making decisions and sometimes worries too much about the opinions of others.


Team members with this style are quintessential team players. They love teamwork and have great relationships with everyone on the team since they’re always willing to jump into projects and take active roles in group ideation. They’re often organized and express themselves easily. Conversely, cooperative team members exhibit less independence on individual tasks and may struggle when they have to decide on their own.


Detail-oriented individuals are usually on top of their tasks. They’re strategists, perfectionists, and excellent planners, and they accept responsibility with ease. They value efficiency and usually act to avoid errors by completing tasks in the precise way they were planned. On the other hand, they sometimes get overwhelmed by a larger than normal workload.


People with this work style are always looking for new ideas and novel ways to promote change at work. They like to inspire with optimism and friendly challenge. They’re usually on the move, always looking for different perspectives. They adapt easily to changes, diving headlong into new projects. However, these big picture thinkers aren’t fond of details and minutia can stifle their gifts, leaving them feeling stagnant.

How working styles fit into project management

Successful projects require a balance between different working styles. To find balance, identify each team member’s unique style. Then, consider individual working styles when assigning roles and tasks so that work flows consistently and organically.

  • Independent or logical work style: People with this work style often march to the beat of their own drum. They’re not the best collaborators, but if they’re aligned and invested in their work, they can conjure superhuman bursts of focus. Many developers and engineers fall into this category.
  • Cooperative work style: Many good project managers are naturally cooperative. While the title implies the management of an abstract idea that’s yet to be realized, the crux of their job is to understand their team members, build relationships, and guide teams toward project success.
  • Supportive work style: Since they’re focused on the emotional well-being of the team, people with a supportive work style are great in leadership roles where they can support needs of the team and individuals. People who participate in volunteer activities usually have qualities of a supportive work style.
  • Detail-oriented work style: These people prefer order, stability, and to know exactly what they’re doing. They take a thoughtful, systematic approach to problem-solving and complete tasks with care. They’re at their best when faced with challenging but linear tasks that require precision.
  • Idea-oriented work style: Idea-oriented individuals often produce novel, innovative approaches to challenging problems. They aren’t interested in the minutia of implementation, but when provided with a supportive environment where they can develop their ideas, the results can be astonishing. Many successful CEOs exhibit this working style.

Carefully managing individual working styles empowers teams and increases every individual’s confidence. In a work environment where each team member finds their space, engagement increases right alongside productivity. Naturally, this requires a perceptive project manager who can allocate tasks and resources appropriately.

Allocating resources based on working styles

An experienced leader likely notices these characteristics in their team members, even if they didn’t have a name for them. Even the greenest managers realize how personality types affect productivity. It boils down to recognizing each team member’s unique traits and putting them in situations that play to their strengths.

Here’s how each work style can excel within the scope of a project:

  • Independent and logical team members are at their best solving complex problems and processing data.
  • A cooperative team member is great at building relationships across the team and is invaluable in agile environments where breaking down silos is an imperative.
  • Supportive team members are excellent leaders whose abilities should be honed and leveraged to help bring out the best in their team.
  • Detail-oriented individuals prefer order and predictability; they get a sense of accomplishment from completing excellent work on time and under budget.
  • Idea-oriented team members are the innovators and changemakers. When their imaginative powers are honed, they can drive projects forward with novelty in thought and execution.

Not only does this allow each team member to grow professionally according to their strengths, but it boosts overall team performance. To get the most from your team’s diverse styles, you need tools that adapt to the individual while keeping projects moving forward.

Get started

Build on your team’s strengths and working styles with help from

With as your Work OS, your diverse team members can flourish by designing workflows that work for them while completing tasks and activities according to the project timeline.

The core of is boards, where team members can create and view tasks, activities, reports, and workflows in a way that helps them stay the most productive. A single board filled with data, including tasks, task dependencies, due dates, and more are viewable as Gantt charts, Kanban boards, cards, and more. Since every board is customizable, there’s no limit on anyone’s need for autonomy in creating their workflows.

There are endless integrations available with From Slack to Adobe Creative Suite to Github, managers can easily monitor every individual’s unique workflow, regardless of their expertise. Stakeholders can follow the entire project without interrupting anyone’s flow. Put simply, helps turn even the most diverse teams into collaboration powerhouses.

Get started

Frequently asked questions

If you still have questions on the concept of working styles, here are a couple of common ones along with the answers.

What is a work style?

While personality tests can give you clues into what motivates an individual, the best approach is interpersonal. The first step is getting to know the person. The way they express their feelings, ideas, and even the way they deal with conflict is key to identifying their style.

The best way to identify a work style is to build trust with the person and simply ask them how they prefer to work. Outside examination only provides shadows of an individual’s depths. One person may be exceptional at a particular task, but their true talents and aspirations may lie elsewhere. You won’t know that until you ask.

How would you describe your work style?

When describing your work style, emphasize your strengths but don’t ignore your weaknesses. Be honest with how you prefer to work. In doing so, you’re more likely to find yourself in a thriving environment.

Maximize work styles to maximize project success

There’s an old quote, falsely attributed to Albert Einstein, that states: “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Regardless of its origins, the idea rings true. When you know how to allocate tasks and resources to diverse individuals and provide teams with the right tools, the benefits are endless.

Get started