4 Types of Employees Needed To Produce An Effective Team

A Simple Truth .

Take Four Types of Employees, Add a Dash of Creative Management, and Mix Well to Produce an Effective Team


People ask what I think when it comes to managing teams. The simple answer is, “Whatever is needed to get the job done.” While this spontaneous statement sounds sarcastic, it opens the door to a better understanding of what needs to be done to get the most out of people.


To gain such an understanding, it is easy to get lost in all the information floating around in the business world today—six habits for this, ten steps for that, 12 techniques for the other. There are countless more articles on personality types, learning styles, growth cycles, and individual performance. I know you’ll find plenty written by me all around the web and here on this site. It can make your head swim.


I do believe it is simpler to create high-powered teams than it might first appear.


First, it is important to understand some basic facts about people. We all learn differently, and we learn best from our own experiences. As a business owner, it is my responsibility to understand what makes my employees tick, then manage the company infrastructure in a way that utilizes their talents and continues to challenge them in creative ways.


Employees, too, have a fundamental responsibility to the employer—to perform as if they owned the company themselves. Working 9 to 5 is an era gone while working 5 to 9 is here. The distribution networks of information, services, and products have diminished the virtual size of America. If your firm cannot or will not deliver, somebody else’s will—or already has.


A simple truth has presented itself to me over the years: It does not matter so much how people learn, but rather what they do with the information once they have received it. Yes, we have auditory, tactile, and visual learners; we need to learn and repeat information in cycles to ensure retention; we need to set goals, benchmarks, and thresholds of performance; and some people are better thinkers and have better interpersonal skills than others. But all things being equal, it is what we do with information that matters—and that depends on your employees’ mindset during decision-making.


You can agree or disagree with the comments below, either way, I hope you will think about them—and possibly ask yourself some tough (and needed) questions.


Decision-Making Styles


I have found people to be in one of four mindsets when making decisions. It is essential to look at a decision because it is the measurable action of what people do after they have learned information. Therefore, individuals will seek out information in a manner that supports how they will act upon it—that is, in a decision.


Ideas Decision-Maker


This person—sometimes affectionately know as The Entrepreneur—is one who asks the question “Why?” when faced with problems to solve, and challenges conventional thought. The Ideas Decision-Maker focuses energy on creating many answers that solve a problem. Finding one answer to a problem is energizing, but discovering the second, third, and fourth right answer is equally stimulating. This person tends to be a free thinker and may suggest solutions that are unconventional regarding traditional procedures and patterns. During projects, when the group is halfway to completion, the ideas continue to flow, thus causing this person to be viewed as an “arsonist.”

In short, the Ideas Decision-Maker:


  • values ideas;
  • tends to be visionary and see a bigger picture;
  • likes to be creative; and
  • may be comfortable in




People Decision-Maker


This person tends to focus on the question “For Whom?” when faced with problems or group situations. The People Decision-Maker concentrates on maintaining group harmony, and values group interpersonal relations. Typically this person does not “rock the boat” but rather seeks equalization within a group setting. Sometimes referred to as a “people pleaser,” he or she values group interaction and tends to head off conflict before arguments. This person may be viewed as a “super follower” or maybe affectionately known as The Integrator.

In short, the People Decision-Maker:


  • values people;
  • focuses on interrelationships;
  • is sensitive to the feelings of others;
  • likes to build community; and
  • is good at bringing people together.




Process Decision-Maker


This person focuses energy on the question of “How?” when making decisions, looking for the steps to needed to be taken in order to solve a problem or fulfill a request. This person may find comfort in schedules, procedures, and other written information that outlines steps and action items. The Process Decision-Maker is usually well-organized and may have a daily routine scheduled down into 15-minute increments or less. This person is sometimes affectionately known as The Administrator, and does things “by the book.”

In short, the Process Decision-Maker:


  • values process and procedure;
  • is usually well-organized and self-disciplined;
  • enjoys creating systems that bring order out of chaos; and
  • takes pride in the ability to attend to details and get things running smoothly.




Product Decision-Maker


This person tends to focus on the question “What?” when faced with making a decision. He or she concentrates on the immediate task and seeks measurable results. This employee may be viewed as pragmatic, getting the immediate job done without wasting time and energy, but may also be perceived as a black-and-white thinker with little room for gray shades when completing projects. Sometimes affectionately known as The Producer, this employee is often industrious and viewed as a “Lone Ranger.”

In short, the Product Decision-Maker:


  • values performance and product;
  • is highly focused and committed to getting the job done;
  • is concerned that things are done right;
  • takes pride in being task-oriented and getting lots of things accomplished; and
  • values expert knowledge.





The Recipe


These four types of decision-makers combined enable your team to cultivate new ideas, motivate people to do their best, develop procedures to get things done, measure the results of effort, and deliver to the customer. A balanced team with a blend of all four styles is a must.


As effective employers, it is our responsibility to address how individuals make decisions, then assign them tasks that are related to their strengths. If results are low, I find a Product Decision-Maker and ask them to give me a straight answer regarding where the bottleneck lies. If I need a fresh approach to a problem or a current product, I will ask Idea Decision-Makers to have a brainstorming session. Morale officers and human-resource managers typically fall into the People Decision-Maker profile, and those are the people I draft to ensure that there is harmony among the team and that professional needs are being met. The Process Decision-Makers help me conceptualize all the necessary steps in a product’s lifecycle.


When a manager taps into an individual’s strengths, that employee becomes more empowered, with a sense of control and of being a value-added component to the company. For professional development, it is my responsibility to point out areas for growth—thus making them more effective employees within the company. I am an adamant believer that people are an organization’s greatest assets. In return, the organization provides the employee the privilege to be productive in a rewarding opportunity. So as an employee, trust you will have work. As an employer, trust that the work will be done well. This is a symbiotic relationship that, if performed correctly, sustains itself over time.

Here are eight tips for maximizing your team:


  1. Do not pigeonhole people.
  2. Do not use results as a crutch. Be willing to stretch.
  3. Stretch during practice time and use your strengths during crunch time.
  4. High-performance teams have representation from all the decision-maker quadrants.
  5. Conflict is essential, but only with quadrant respect.
  6. To empower, make decisions via consensus.
  7. For high quality, implement automated processes.
  8. High-quality decisions are made when all quadrants have input in to a decision.With all that said, be prepared to make some mistakes and have some failures. But there is a lesson in every mistake and failure—these experiences provide us with teachable moments. If you find the lesson, then you “fail forward” with progress and are better off for the experience.