Tag Archives: personality types

Why I became a believer in IT work behavior tendencies

Have you ever had two employees who didn’t get along?

Do you wonder why some people can’t seem to do certain types of work?

Do you wonder why you struggle in communicating with your clients and employees?

Are you aware technology attracts a certain type of personality and 90% in your organization have three of the four traits in that personality type. That’s right – 90%!!

There are very specific reasons in what makes an IT employee “tick”. It doesn’t matter if you are the CIO, a Programmer, or a Desktop Technician, , , if you are part of an IT organization there is a high probability your work behavior tendencies are similar to all of us.

Every IT manager needs to understand the dynamics of IT employee work behavior!

Our personality traits help us as technicians but hinder us as IT managers!

I didn’t know much about all of this until 1990 when I joined a new company as their CIO. This company used tools to measure the work behavior tendencies of its employees.

At first, I didn’t believe in any of this “hocus pocus”, , , it was a bit far-fetched for me.

Then, three things happened that locked me into the value of this forever.

First, I shared my work behavior profile summary with my wife of 20 years at the time, , , someone who knows me better than I know myself. I asked her to read the profile and tell me who she thought it described of the people we know. Her answer, “It is you, Mike.”

My response was to point out phrases in the summary and told her that I wasn’t like that.

Her response was quick, “Yes you are, , , you just don’t admit it.”

I still had a lot of doubts about all of this.

Second, I went to a class to learn about using the tools as a manager a week later. At the class the Instructor had us take the 10-minute survey again and taught us how to grade it. My results were very different from when I took the survey during my interview. In fact, two of the four measurements were almost opposite of what they were before.

Not only that, the Instructor showed an example of what my results looked like and made the comment, “If you have a manager with these indicators, , , he needs serious help.”

This caused me a lot of concern, , , I’m a manager who needs lots of help?

I pulled the Instructor aside during the break and asked him about what was going on with me. “Why has my profile changed so much and help me understand what you mean by giving this person help?”

His answer, “Aren’t you the new guy at Medaphis?”

My response, “Yes, but what does that have to do with this?”

He posed another question, “Do you have everything figured out about what you and your team need to work on?”

My answer, “No, not at all, , , I’ve been there a week so I’m still trying to learn the names of people and what the issues are, , , I’m several weeks away from this.”

You see, I was a little disappointed I had to attend a 3-day class when I knew I needed to be in heavy assessment mode to get to where he was asking me about.

Then he gave me information that clicked. He said, “This is exactly what your profile says. When you interviewed, you were in another company and had been managing several years there, , , you knew what the issues were and what your team needed to do to be successful. It’s what your interview profile pointed out.” He had already seen my interview profile.

He added, “Today’s profile reflects you being in a new company and you don’t yet know who all the players are, let alone the issues and what you need to work on. What it says to me is that you are telling yourself to slow down until you get more information, , , it says you are communicating much more than you normally would probably because you are meeting so many new people and discovering what the issues are. It also says you are depending more on others right now than you normally would, , , all of this is normal in a new management job and in a new company.”

His last comment was big, “Once you know what the issues are and what you and your team needs to focus on, this profile will snap back to what it was when you took the survey in your interview.”

He was right, , , even the managers who worked for me at the time can tell you when my work behavior “snapped back” to my normal management approach. Once I knew what the IT support issues were and understood my organization’s capabilities, , , we started pushing forward as opposed to treading water while I was in assessment mode.

This opened my eyes and I began to think there might be something to it.

Third, and this was a clincher that happened about a year later. I had two managers who reported to me who could not seem to get along. I had worked with both of them in a previous company and knew they were both strong managers. They should have been doing amazing work together but they were fighting one another.

I couldn’t figure out why these two managers could not get along so I called the Instructor of the training program I attended for his help.

I provided the profiles of each manager and explained the situation. Without hesitation he said, “The reason is very obvious, , , it is right here on their profiles”.

Well, it certainly wasn’t to me but he was right on the mark in what he told me. I sat down with the two managers and explained the dynamics of what was going on and it resolved their differences once and for all. They were amazing managers and worked very well together and were supportive of one another after our discussion.

Startling similarities
I’ve studied and measured IT employee work behavior over ten years and discovered startling similarities in almost everyone who works in IT.

In fact it is so predictable that if you put me in a room of 20 IT managers or 20 programmers, I can confidently tell you what the profile make-up will be of the group, , , even before talking with anyone or determining each person’s work behavior profile.

More validation occurred in my IT Manager Institute
I was able to measure the work behavior tendencies of over 200 IT managers from all parts of the world. Every class had exactly the same make-up with 90% the same in three of the four measurement categories, , , exactly the same results I saw as a CIO for the 8 years I used similar tools.

Initially, I thought it was an anomaly, , , I concluded over time that certain personality types are drawn to work with technology. These employees become IT managers, , , and this is where the challenge presents itself.

What helps us succeed as technicians actually hinders our success as managers. 

The point and benefits
Every IT manager needs to understand IT employee work behavior, , , it is the underlying reason why people do things the way they do, , , and IT employees have very similar traits.

Knowing what makes your people and yourself “tick” is important because it helps you  several ways:

  • understand why things happen
  • resolving employee conflicts
  • assigning responsibilities that aligns with an employee’s work behavior tendencies
  • understand why some things are difficult and others are easy for you

I developed a 4-part series of articles for my ITLever Blog that explains this.

Two ways to learn more about IT employee work behavior
1)  Online training session, , , an excerpt from my IT Manager Institute Self Study.  Learn why the two managers were fighting and what I did to resolve the conflict.



2)  4-part article series

Part 1    IT Employee Work Behavior


Part 2    Who we are


Part 3    Challenges in who we are


Part 4    70% in IT have authoritative management style


I hope you watch the 30-minute video and read the articles, , ,  this information will probably be an eye-opener for you just as it was for me.

Understanding work behavior tendencies of your people and yourself gives you an edge in managing better and will help you achieve more success.

Best of success!

IT employee work behavior – video excerpt from the IT Manager Institute

IT managers need to understand the work behavior tendencies of IT employees? As you have seen in my 4-part post, , , IT employees are amazingly similar in how they approach their work.

Learn more by viewing the online training session below!

I can assure you this information will be an eye opener and it’s something all IT managers need to have an appreciation for. It will give you insight about yourself as well as most of your IT employees.

Click image to view excerpt on IT Employee Work Behavior

The sample training module is part of Session 1 – IT Manager Foundation from my IT Manager Institute Self Study. It is 33 minutes long and worth your time to watch.

CLICK HERE to view the training module.

IT employee work behavior – part 1 of 4

The vast majority of IT employees have similar work behavior tendencies, , , or personality traits.  So similar it is scary.

We are all unique, but the way we approach work is remarkably similar.

Why is this important?
Because your work behavior tendencies can help or hinder your success. Understand them and adapt where needed and your success will be much greater. And remember, , , this applies to anyone and everyone in your IT organization.

Let me give you an example. If I were to walk into a room of 100 IT people made up of managers, programmers, BA’s, desktop technicians, Help Desk, etc. , , , I already know what the personality make-up of the group will be before getting to know any of them.

I’m so confident, I would bet you a lot of money I could define the work behavior traits of the group.  I’ve seen this repeated time after time.

How do I know?

I’ve observed and researched this issue for over ten years. Initially, I thought the consistency I was seeing was just an anomaly. Later, I understood that there is a certain personality type that’s drawn to work in the IT field. You will see a similar consistency in personality traits with sales people.

It doesn’t matter what position you are looking at in IT, , , years of experience won’t change it, , , doesn’t matter if you are in a large or a very small company, , , and it won’t be any different if you are in South Africa, China or the US. I’ve measured these results in all types of situations and in all parts of the world, , ,  if you are in an IT organization, there is a high probability your work behavior tendencies are going to be like most of us.

I use the terms “work behavior” and “personality traits” to mean the same thing.

In this 4-part post, I want to share things about the work behavior tendencies that exist in the majority of your IT staff. Being aware of this can help you understand why things happen, , , or do not happen.

It can help you realize why certain types of things are such a challenge for some of your people.

Understand this dynamic of “what makes us tick” well enough and you can even use the information to resolve employee conflicts. I know because I’ve seen it up close.

IT attracts a certain personality type

What I’m about to share applies to anyone in the IT organization, , , from CIO to the Desktop Technician. If you are in IT, the personality traits I’m about to share in this 4-part post applies to you.

OK, , , to start we are going to do a little exercise.
I want you to select desirable traits for an IT manager. You could work through this exercise for any position in the IT organization (IT manager, project manager, Systems Administrator, DBA, etc.).

For these purposes, I want you to focus on IT manager.

For each item, I will give you two groups of work behavior traits, , , a red group and a green group. I want you to select either the red group of traits or the green group of traits you would prefer in an IT manager.

There may be traits in both the red group and green group you would like in an IT manager, but you need to select the group of traits you would most prefer, , , it’s either “red” or “green” for each set.

Write them down to refer back to as we cover this topic in the next three posts:
Set #1  –  Red or Green?
Set #2  –  Red or Green?
Set #3  –  Red or Green?
Set #4  –  Red or Green?

Here we go:

Traits Set #1
Self starter
Decision maker
Analytical mind
Creates change
Technically oriented

Prefers to follow than lead
Lacks confidence in new areas
Willing worker

Traits Set #2
Socially oriented
Delegates authority

Enjoys own company

Traits Set #3
Adjusts to repetition easily
Low sense of urgency

Fast learner
High sense of urgency
Drive to get things done

Traits Set #4
Detail oriented
Knowledgeable about the job

Delegates details easily
Casual with details
Not obliged to conform
Lacks follow-up


You should have four trait groups selected, , , something like “red, red, green, green”, , , or “red, green, green, red”, , , or “green, green, green, green”. Keep this handy for the next three posts.

Did you select one of the following combinations?

There is a high probability you did.


Let me give you some preliminary information about what’s to come.

In Part-2, I’ll discuss four key personality trait areas or work behavior tendencies we all have. The remarkable thing is that in three of the four areas, 90% of IT employees have the same tendencies. In the 4th area, 70% of all IT employees have a certain set of traits, , , and I’m guessing you missed this one in your exercise.

What you probably selected in this set is what is desirable in an IT manager but lacking in most IT managers unless they recognize it and do something to overcome it. I’ll explain in my next post.

In Part-3, I’ll share the challenges these groups of work behavior tendencies can give an IT manager. I’ll even share some things they do to challenge your technical staff.

In Part-4, I’ll summarize who you probably are as an IT manager and challenge you to modify a couple of your tendencies to become more successful.

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