No man is an island. There’s no “I” in team. Teamwork makes the dream work — there are a million motivational quotes out there to remind us that we’re better together. But to ignore the little (and sometimes big) quirks and differences we have with coworkers or business partners ultimately does a disservice to our growing businesses.
Over 80% of Fortune 500 companies these days use some sort of personality inventory to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their employees. This information can be incredibly useful when assembling project-based teams, as well as providing insight on how best to handle management issues and improve organizational communications.
The most popular of these personality assessments is probably the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which classifies people into one of 16 distinct personality types by evaluating their specific combination of four dichotomies, all based on Jungian theory. Those four dichotomies are Extraversion vs. Introversion, Sensing vs. Intuition, Thinking vs. Feeling, and Judging vs. Perceiving.
While it’s important to remember these personality types are not always hard and fast and that there exists a spectrum even within classifications, there are some types that seem to naturally work better together. Knowing the personality type of a potential business partner or work teammate can help you to understand how to work with them in a way that maximizes both of your efforts and effectively leverages your unique talents.
Here are a few of the Key Personality Types That Work Well Together
ISTJ + ESTP
ISTJ personalities are ultra-organized problem-solvers who thrive in fact-based work. ESTP is a great balance to this personality, as ESTPs are realistic, analytic thinkers, but also have great people skills and an energy that can take the team’s work and make it leap off the page.
ISTJ makes a great behind-the-scenes powerhouse, while ESTP thrives in the role of entrepreneurship.
INTP + INTJ
Both INTP and INTJ delight in highly conceptual work. If you work in a technical field like architecture or engineering, you may find these personalities to be quite abundant within your staff.
Both are hyper-logical, but INTP brings an intellectual curiosity that drives innovation and INTJ brings that home with their decisive nature and strength in implementation.
ENFP + INFJ
ENFP personalities are deeply caring and outgoing. They thrive in service-oriented roles that make good use of their creativity. They have excellent communication skills as well. INFJ collaborates well with them due to their natural sensitivity to others and their strength for reading people, combined with a drive to create work that has genuine meaning.
ENTJ + ISTP
ENTJ personalities are often the stars of the corporate world. They’re strong, capable leaders who excel at organization and planning. They’re hyper-logical and have expert critical thinking skills.
They mesh well with ISTP personalities, who are analytical and hands-on workers who have a natural strength for problem-solving and respond well to working in a structured and methodical fashion.
ISFP + ESFP
ISFP personalities are the natural-born nurturers of the world. They’re loyal, adaptable and highly sympathetic to the experiences of their teammates. ESFP have a similar love of helping others, but they are more open and energetic, seeking excitement in their work and tapping into their innate resourcefulness to create something that both serves people and creates buzz.
ENTP + ENFJ
Get these two extroverts on a team together and the fire will be palpable! ENTPs are great problem solvers and natural born leaders. They work well with most other types, but pairing them with an ENFJ could take your project to the next level.
Both of these personalities love to work in a group and are great communicators. ENTPs bring tons of energy and ENFJs lend natural charisma.
ISFJ + INFP
Both of these introverted personalities are naturally warm and helpful. ISFJs, though, are extremely skilled at detail-oriented tasks and are effortlessly organized and thorough in their work.
INFPs balance this nicely with their strong communication skills (they’re great with the written word) and their innately inquisitive and creative nature.
ESFJ + ESTJ
These personalities have a lot of overlap but differ in the Feeling vs. Thinking component. ESFJs are very people-oriented and sociable. They thrive on that interaction and being able to fulfill the needs of others.
ESTJs are natural leaders and their “thinking” strengths lead them to be logical, assertive, and decisive, making them a strong backup to the ESFJ.
These are just a few of the many combinations of personalities you may encounter in your business relationships. And while it won’t always be a foolproof method, understanding how your partner or teammate sees the world and what his or her strengths or weaknesses are can be essential to producing a quality work product together.