HR Management & Compliance

The 6 Employee Types: What Jobs Do They Match?

Author Richard Warner says you must know what personality types employees are before you can match them to the right jobs. He outlines 6 types in a recent book.

There’s been a lot of talk in business circles lately about “alignment,” which basically means getting all the assets of your business pointed toward the same goals.

In people terms, that means matching the right person to the right job. The first step in that process is knowing the types of personalities frequently found in business, and what kind of jobs they’re best for.

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One author who’s identified these common personalities is Richard Warner, founder of Warner Design Associates in San Diego, California, and author of the book All Hands on Deck: Choosing the Right People for the Right Jobs. Warner recently wrote a white paper outlining 6 personality types for our subscription website,

Here’s a digest version of what he had to say. Because he gave his book a nautical theme, he extended that notion to the names of his 6 personality types:

–The Captain. This is your C-level person, in a business facility, just as on a ship. Captains, says Warner, know the fundamentals of all parts of the business and how to delegate tasks to make that business go, without overmanaging. Warner compares them to “ideal parents,” who “never play favorites and always take time to address problems and give encouragement and advice.” Captains, says Warner, should be given full power to enforce all regulations in their areas.

–The Explorer. Just as in the world of science, explorers constantly seek new ideas and territories to counter. They’re risk takers and yes, often rule benders. But if you give them the latitude they crave, they can take your company to whole new worlds. “If you want to develop new ideas and be innovative with old ones, find yourself an explorer,” says Warner. But, he also warns, “rein in the explorer from far-fetched or impractical ideas.”

–The Navigator. Some may know this person by another name: the administrator. He or she will likely never be celebrated on a plaque in the lobby as a captain or explorer might, but they keep things on course and sometimes can show real vision in doing so. “Navigators think linearly,” adds Warner, “so explain your company’s history and progress. They thrive when they understand how your company got to where it is today.”

–First Mates are also administrative in nature, but less visible than Navigators. “They move about almost unnoticed,” says Warner, “but they are kind, diplomatic, and above all, dependable.” And they get things get done. Give first mates lots of praise, Warner advises, and “encourage them to speak up when they observe any problems within the company.”

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–The Crew Member. While all the above are making sure work gets done, somebody has to actually do it. That’s the job of the crew. These folks are usually dependable but with ambitions limited to doing a good day’s work for a fair rate of pay. Warner strongly advises making sure that crew members have their responsibilities in writing, lest some “fall by the wayside.” Also, he reminds readers, give the crew credit for what it does. No matter how good the supervision, nothing would happen without them.

–The Stowaway, says Warner, “wants a free ride.” After worming their way into your organization with a spectacular interview, stowaways aspire to doing the least work for the most pay. Because they’re usually intelligent, Warner recommends trying to work with them. What if things don’t turn around ?“Throw them overboard,” Warner says.