How’s that agency job going?

Whether you’re an agency veteran or just getting into the game, knowing how to work with the different personality types is a great skill to have to keep things running smoothly.

Of course, some personalities are easier to handle than others, and that’s something you’re going to find in every workplace.

Let’s check out some of the likely personality types you’re going to encounter and some strategies for dealing with them…

Personality Types

Psychologists have long been studying personality types. Back in the 1950s they believed Type A or Type B personalities were directly related to the likelihood of developing certain diseases. This is not true, although it is a fact that some personality types are more prone to feeling negative impacts from stress, which can lead to ill health.

There have been many theories posed by psychologists over the years, including Freud’s almost century old Tripartite Theory and Eysenck’s Personality Theory from the 1940’s. Today though, while other theories exist, one of the theories you are most likely to hear about in relation to the workplace is types A, B, C or D personalities.

Type A Personalities

You actually hear this term thrown around a lot; “she’s so Type A”, but what does that really mean?

Type A characteristics may include the following:

  • Driven and ambitious
  • Proactive
  • Deadline-oriented
  • Not particularly detail-oriented, will delegate this to others
  • Workaholic
  • Outgoing
  • Highly energetic, won’t sit still for very long
  • Often over-commit and take on too many projects
  • Impatient with small-talk
  • Truthful. This can sometimes be viewed as “insensitive”, however Type A’s are often sensitive and sympathetic
  • Eager to help
  • Competitive

Type A’s tend to be the ones who everyone knows around the office (possibly as the ones who people try to avoid if they lean on the aggressive side). They are often in management roles and they can’t stand missing deadlines, so if your boss is a Type A, have work in slightly ahead to be in the good books!

Cut to the point when dealing with Type A personalities; they aren’t fond of chit-chat and they’re probably on a tight schedule. They will appreciate the digested version with the main point highlighted.


The Type A Stereotype: Not all Type A’s are angry, but they can be perceived as aggressive. Image source: Buzzle

Type A’s In Your Agency

Type A personalities are well-suited to founder or entrepreneur-type roles, so you may find your agency directors or founders fall into this personality type. You could also find them in competitive roles such as ad executive, creative director or any other “upwardly mobile” role.

Type A’s do not like having a lot of restraints on them, so they will typically have a role that gives them plenty of autonomy. They tend to also dislike too much repetitive work as this will bore them.They can be counted on to spring to action in a crisis or emergency situation. (They’d probably make a great fire warden for the office!).

They are the ones working late and who get impatient if there are any project delays. They may also be more socially isolated than others because they’re so focused on work. They still like people though, so make sure they get those social invites, too!

What’s your personality type? Take our free quiz here

Type B Personalities

Type B’s tend to get off more easily than the A’s when it comes to stereotypical views of what to expect from them. Where Type A is “anal”, Type B is seen as laid back, laissez-faire and happy to stop and smell the roses (something which will irritate an A they may be taking a walk with!).

Here are some characteristics you may find in a Type B:

  • People-pleasers -they want to be liked and will seek approval from others
  • Social and fun -Type B’s are always invited, if not the instigator of the party
  • Enjoy applause and attention
  • Calm and patient
  • Not especially competitive; “you win some, you lose some”
  • Flexible and tolerant
  • Want to give a good impression so that people like them
  • LOVE to chit-chat
  • Relaxed
  • Procrastinators

Type B’s are known for being particularly concerned with whether they are liked and how others perceive them. They will tend to present themselves well for this reason and will be upset if they think that someone doesn’t like them (Type A’s probably don’t care).

You can usually count on Type B’s to be friendly and outgoing, the ideal kind of people to show newbies the ropes. They are dreamers and often have the ability to create great practical work from their ideas.

Type B’s can also be great persuaders. They are likeable and can convince even skeptics that their idea should be given a chance. Humor and quick-wit are also common traits of Type B’s, so these traits make them ideally placed to present to clients.

If you are working with Type B’s, complimenting them and acknowledging their achievements will be appreciated. Also bear in mind that they don’t tend to do so well with details – their personalities include a certain level of impatience and shorter attention-span.


Type B’s in Your Agency

Type B’s might well be “Creative Magicians” as described by Hubspot.

“The Creative Magician thrives in the bustling agency environment. Faced with a creative problem, the Magician will be the first to come up with a range of solutions, each more inventive than the next. You’ll be constantly amazed at what is brewing in his head.”

Remember, as a Type B, they are sensitive to people “liking” them, so they may take it personally if their ideas aren’t used. As Hubspot says, remind them that the particular idea won’t work for the particular client, and it’s not that you simply don’t like their ideas.

This personality type often needs regular management and follow-up to ensure that deadlines are met as well.

Type C Personalities

For a long time, Types A or B were really all anyone talked about, but this failed to acknowledge the many people who are neither. Type C is often also referred to as “emotionally repressed.” They tend to be individuals who like to deal in facts and logic and are not fond of those who appear overly emotional, as they feel that this impacts their ability to be objective.

Here are some characteristics you may find in a Type C:

  • Detail-oriented
  • Likes control and stability
  • Interested in the data and facts, not the hype
  • Follows the rules
  • Perfectionists
  • Asks “why” or “how”
  • Deep thinkers
  • Has difficulty sharing their emotions
  • Likes to know exactly what is expected of them
  • Creative thinking based on facts and accuracy

Type C’s tend to have less forceful personalities, which A’s may be known for. They may cave under pressure even if they disagree about something. However, in any argument the Type C already has all their facts lined up, so there’s a good chance they’ll convince others anyway.

Type C’s enjoy originality and cleverness, but trying to sway them with an emotional argument won’t work. Stick to the solid facts so that they can see the logic.

Type C’s in Your Agency

Type C personalities will tend to be in roles that deal with facts and are clearly defined. For example, you might find them on the legal team or in accounting. You can help them out by turning in timesheets on time, being ready with the facts they need and turning in accurate work.


Source: Adweek

Yes, there is a D, too! Type D’s enjoy repetitive, well-defined work and tend to be the ones who are reluctant when it comes to any changes. They may be more of a natural pessimist and even if the current system is bad, think that the unknown quantity of a new one may be worse.

Here are some characteristics you may find in a Type D:

  • Holding on to the “old ways”
  • Concerned with security and longevity – they are the ones to stay in the role for a long time
  • Prefer not to take risks
  • Well-organized
  • Patient and enjoy talking with people
  • Like to feel needed
  • Accurate and thorough, though may be seen to be “slow”

Type D personality is also a bit of a people-pleaser. They work well in teams and may be seen as a stabilizer in the team environment. They tend to be happy when able to work to a routine but may be prone to depression if things are always changing.

Type D’s in Your Agency

If you have Type D’s in your agency, show them your sincere appreciation for the work they do. They often will not argue or stick up for themselves, so this can result in them being dumped on a lot. Look out for them and try to ensure no one is taking advantage.

Type D’s tend to inhabit the kinds of roles that they can remain in long-term. These could include clerical roles or customer support, for example.

What’s your personality type? Take our free quiz here

Final Thoughts

While the personality types outlined are four common categories, it is rare that someone will identify as purely one of them. Humans are complex individuals and can easily switch according to the situation they are faced with.

Things can also change with maturity or experience. Priorities may change as a person progresses or ages, so perhaps security becomes important where it once wasn’t.

The main point for your work in an agency is that if you acknowledge and understand these different personality types, you will have a better time working with them as you are able to understand and accommodate their needs.