Practical Ways to Boost Engagement Among All the Personalities On Your Team

When it comes to harnessing the strengths of teams while avoiding the weaknesses, team leaders have a tough job. Not only must they capture the full diversity of knowledge contributed by team members, they must also provide the right motivators such that individuals feel enabled and engaged with their job. Get the balance wrong, even slightly, and the result can be ruinous.

If that sounds dramatic, then know this: engaged employees are 50 percent more likely to exceed their performance targets, and organizations with engaged employees enjoy 233 percent greater customer loyalty and a 26 percent greater annual increase in revenue (research by Aberdeen). Other studies show the link between engagement and people's ability to cope with challenges, think creatively, and collaborate with team members. Engagement is an essential ingredient for team success!

We know that cookie-cutter strategies don't work for team engagement, and what it mostly boils down to is having leaders who are prepared to tailor solutions to the needs of each employee. With that in mind, here are some practical ways to boost engagement among all the personalities on your team.

ISTJ

ISTJs value hard work and will step in to complete a task simply because it needs to be done. They like predictable, well-established processes and organizations that delineate clear roles and career paths.

How to engage them:

  • Reward good performance with more responsibility and authority
  • Be absolutely and objectively clear about their performance - don't beat around the bush
  • Provide transparent career progression with visible routes toward promotion
  • Make clear links between performance and reward, and offer regular progress reviews.

ESTJ

ESTJs rank among the most driven individuals on your team, but they need to see that their ideas are being taken seriously. They work hard, follow rules, and hate inefficiency.

How to engage them:

  • Allow them to take charge of a project and see it through to completion
  • Be very specific about their goals, objectives and deadlines, and stick firmly to these expectations
  • Empower them to deliver process improvements and implement their new methodology
  • Offer traditional rewards, especially financial ones.

ISFJ

ISFJs are duty-bound individuals who take their responsibilities seriously. They conscientiously perform tasks that will help the team in real and practical ways.

How to engage them:

  • Develop genuine rapport and a personal connection - ISFJs are motivated by people they respect who have their best interests at heart
  • Give them work that clearly benefits the team and its individual members
  • Show that they are liked and appreciated in practical ways, for example, by giving them a thank you note or a bonus vacation day
  • Respect their family and personal commitments and strive to deliver a work-life balance.

ESFJ

ESFJs are motivated by friendship, belonging and meaningful relationships. They work best on teams with a strong people-centered ethos, excellent social activities and opportunities for helping others.

How to engage them:

  • Involve them in decision making. Regularly ask, "What do you think about that?" and take them into your confidence
  • Express constant and specific appreciation for their contributions
  • Provide plenty of opportunities for collaboration and to develop friendships
  • Focus your feedback on their efficiency, enthusiasm, and support for others.

INTJ

INTJs are motivated by unique and interesting tasks, especially if they feel that no one else could accomplish them. Autonomous and fiercely independent, they may not enjoy following processes or being part of a team.

How to engage them:

  • Given them the time and space to work independently with minimum interruptions - don't overwhelm them with team socials, meetings or bonding sessions
  • Formally acknowledge their competence with job titles that recognize their skill, mastery and specialization
  • Link rewards to results and not their ability to follow processes, inspire people or network
  • Skill development is an engagement hot button, especially when it is linked to promotion.

ENTJ

ENTJs are natural leaders who enjoy taking charge of a situation and accomplishing the next challenge. They seek power, influence and control over people and resources.

How to engage them:

  • Give them responsibility and influence - ENTJs need stretch jobs to keep them challenged
  • Give visible perks that link to their status - ENTJs thrive on awards and recognition
  • Give them a job title that reflects power and responsibility
  • Encourage them to connect with other experts and further boost their expertise.

INFJ

INFJs are perceptive, committed and value-driven; to feel engaged, they have to believe in whatever it is they are doing. Sensitive and creative, they like to reflect before taking action.

How to engage them:

  • Be a supportive friend - lend a listening ear whenever they are troubled
  • Regularly express how much you value their good ideas and hard work
  • Give criticism only sparingly and only after lots of praise
  • Focus rewards on their nurturing accomplishments such as how they support others and help them grow.

ENFJ

ENFJs are enthusiastic and empathetic and work hard to take care of everyone's needs. Natural team players, they are happiest in a cooperative, supportive and harmonious environment.

How to engage them:

  • Express gratitude for their achievements - ENFJs respond well to handwritten thank you notes or small gifts
  • Demonstrate that you are implementing their ideas - ENFJs can become bruised and angry if they feel that no one is heeding their well-intentioned advice
  • Make them the 'go team' cheerleader. ENFJs enjoy organizing socials and raising the enthusiasm of the team
  • Establish a peer reward structure that allows other team members to nominate them for a reward - ENFJs value the approval of others.

ISTP

Objective, realistic and pragmatic, ISTPs excel at delivering solutions to problems in real and practical ways. They are intensely private, and will not enjoy being the center of attention.

How to engage them:

  • Introduce competition - despite their quiet nature, ISTPs enjoy the opportunity to prove that their solution would get the job done in the best possible way
  • Provide opportunities for them to work independently with minimal supervision
  • Establish a clear accountability structure so they know exactly what is expected of them, and reward against this structure
  • Future goals and payoffs are not motivating for an ISTP. Give feedback and rewards instantly, then move on.

ESTP

Charming, charismatic, and playful, ESTPs have a tendency to live in the moment. They are calm under pressure and will often jump in quickly to accomplish a task.

How to engage them:

  • Provide instant feedback - ESTPs require instant gratification so don't wait until the annual performance review to discuss their performance
  • Make the work environment as fast paced, interactive and fun as possible
  • Provide plenty of options for socializing with team members and clients
  • Offer frequent changes of scene.

ISFP

ISFPs are calm, gentle and easygoing workers who enjoy participating in teams they can feel proud of or inspired by. They see the best in others and can be very nurturing.

How to engage them:

  • Give them a goal they can feel passionate about and which that connects with their deeper beliefs
  • Give frequent and sincere praise for their achievement - ISFPs can spot counterfeit praise at a hundred paces
  • Balance the work environment to give them the autonomy they crave and the opportunity to work with supportive and friendly people
  • Just say thank you - gratitude inspires ISFPs to excel at their job, even when no one is watching.

ESFP

Flexible, spontaneous and fun-loving, ESFPs thrive in fast-paced, people-oriented environments. They have a strong need to work with others, find enjoyment in their jobs and to learn by taking on new challenges.

How to engage them:

  • Give instant feedback and rewards - ESFPs need immediate gratification in order to feel motivated
  • Introduce fun and perhaps even a little silliness - award ceremonies celebrating the 'joker of the week' and such will boost their engagement
  • Give diplomatic feedback - ESFPs are easily easily hurt by criticism
  • Shaking up the office and creating space for spontaneity gives them a boost.

INTP

Intellectual, conceptual problem-solvers, INTPs have high standards and complex, often impenetrable ways of thinking. They can be challenging to engage through traditional means such as salary or recognition.

How to engage them:

  • Push them with complex problems and challenges and link reward to such performance
  • Solicit their ideas on how to improve things and be sure to heed their advice
  • Be sincere in your feedback - INTPs are highly skeptical of corporate flim-flam
  • Place them in smaller teams with respected colleagues.

ENTP

ENTPs are motivated by excitement and challenge; if they stay on the same task for too long, they're likely to become restless. They excel in idea generation and projects that need originality.

How to engage them:

  • Introduce competition - anything they see as a challenge gets the ENTP excited
  • Recognize their creativity by rewarding them for innovation
  • Avoid putting them in a routine role for too long as they will quickly become demotivated
  • Give them the freedom to poke holes in processes and listen to their suggestions for improvement.

INFP

INFPs are motivated by their deeply held beliefs and personal ideals. They are highly perceptive, warm, nurturing and compassionate towards people.

How to engage them:

  • Share their special accomplishments with others - INFPs like to be respected for their unique talents and abilities
  • Be genuine and gentle - it pays to develop a personal connection with INFPs; don't get straight to business
  • Give them significant, important work connected to the organization's core mission
  • Focus your feedback on how they are making a difference.

ENFP

Energetic, adaptable ENFPs like new ideas and places and may feel stuck in a rut if they are asked to do the same thing for too long. They work well in a supportive, creative team environment with plenty of opportunities for brainstorming.

How to engage them:

  • Introduce competition - ENFPs have a competitive streak and will push themselves harder to outperform someone else
  • Task them with trialling new ideas and processes - ENFPs like being on the cutting edge of something new
  • Don't micromanage - give the ENFP room to breath and exercise their spontaneity
  • Link feedback to their ideation

Identifying types

If you are unclear on the personality types of your team members, a team personality test can give you some guidance. Alternatively, you may spot certain personality traits in the behaviors of your team. Use these insights to really understand what makes your team members tick and how you need to manage in order to boost their engagement.

Molly Owens

Molly Owens is the founder and CEO of Truity. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She began working with personality assessments in 2006, and in 2012 founded Truity with the goal of making robust, scientifically validated assessments more accessible and user-friendly.

Molly is an ENTP and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys elaborate cooking projects, murder mysteries, and exploring with her husband and son.

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THE FINE PRINT: Myers-Briggs® and MBTI® are registered trademarks of the MBTI Trust, Inc., which has no affiliation with this site. Truity offers a free personality test based on Myers and Briggs' types, but does not offer the official MBTI® assessment. For more information on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator® assessment, please go here.

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