Career Advice

3 Tips for Tapping Into Your Type B Personality for Endless Career Success

Kells McPhillips

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In the current work climate, where busy, busy, busy seems like a straight-up cornerstone of every employee handbook, Type A personalities are predisposed to thrive. Just think about it: How many times have you seen the words, "go-getter," "fast on your feet," and "forward thinking" as desirable qualities on a job listing? So, then, how do you still make an impression at work if you land a little farther down on the personality alphabet at Type B?

Katy Caselli, a North Carolina-based organizational psychologist who specializes in personality frameworks like Myers-Briggs says the Type B personality is characterized as "a different way of expressing drive, ambition, and energy when you’re going after a task." Rather than flying through the action items on their to-do lists, Type Bs tend to linger on one project, taking time to make sure it's done just right. "A Type B person is more about the process, the experience, and the ideas that are coming out, and is fairly concerned with the quality of the end product as well." Maggie Mistal, a New York City–based career coach, adds that Type Bs also tend to have thoughtful and meaningful relationships with their coworkers. "They’re not glazing through the workplace just trying to get things done. They’re really solid in their work and also in their immediate relationships," she says.

Just think back to two classic Sex and the City archetypes. Are you more of a get-shit-done Miranda? Or an I-couldn't-help-but-wonder Carrie? If in order to, say, write one thought-provoking column, you require a trip to the shoe store and two brunches, there's a good sign you're a type B. So own it—and know that you're in good company.

Are you more of a get-shit-done Miranda? Or an I-couldn't-help-but-wonder Carrie?

At the most recent Well+Good TALKS—which featured a killer panel talking all things career goals—Andréa Mallard, Athleta‘s Chief Marketing Officer, proudly shared she identifies as a laid-back, creative, sociable Type B. "I only got to the place I am under extreme duress after many failed attempts," she said with a laugh. "I’m not a planner."

To claim her current role as one of the most influential women in the activewear field (NBD or anything), Mallard learned to hack her personality into a superpower instead of a shortcoming. So, awesome Type B-ers, settle in to get some intel about how to do that for yourself, straight from a career coach and a psychologist. Because believe it or not, being the type of person who may take an extra beat to meditate on a problem might make you the real MVP of the office.

Check out 3 expert tips to make your Type B status a major workplace asset.

type b personality traits
Photo: Unsplash/Ellyot

1. Know thyself...and tell thy boss

While it may feel a bit odd to sit down for a powwow with your superior to chat about personality traits. It's not really as weird as it seems, promise. If you tell your higher-up right off the bat that you execute your projects better with wider deadlines, you might just land yourself adjusted due dates to accommodate your creative process.

"Tell people, 'Hey, my strengths are going to be different, but I certainly do have a lot of strengths. This is what I can bring to your project.' That way, it’s not all about rushing to the finish line with a smoking gun in your hand," Caselli advises. Best case? Your boss is a kindred Type B who totally gets it. Worst case? They'll tell you to deal with it yourself, which doesn't have to be the end of the world.

2. Structure your week to satisfy the Type As while sticking with your Type B workflow

While a Type A coworker might be able to plow through an extensive task in a few hours, your workflow might demand a little bit more time. At the beginning of each workweek, Caselli recommends considering how to order your schedule in a manner that gives you the freedom you need to bring your Type B gifts to the job while still making sure you meet your deadlines. For instance, if you have a report due to a colleague on Friday, maybe make a note that you need to start working on it come Tuesday afternoon.

3. Mirror your boss and colleagues

If you happen to have a Type A boss or colleagues, Mistal recommends using a common communication strategy called "mirroring," which basically involves tweaking your verbal signals depending on who you're talking to. "Start paying attention to the way your boss communicates: Do they talk quickly? Do they tend to tell more than ask? If so, then don’t frame what you’re saying in a question, frame it in a statement," advises the career coach.

Once you figure out the most effective way to actually be heard by the people surrounding you, you can use your Type B traits to wow them. Yeah, it's a little bit sneaky. But hey, it's backed by science, and knowingly or unknowingly, we actually do it all day long with our body language.

Ready to take a deep dive into the world of personality traits? Here's what your bed-making habits say about you, and how to use your birth day to decode your inner and outer personality types.

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