The 4 Types of Workers You Need on Your Team

team work on a tree represents Dandelion Branding and the 4 Types of Workers You Need for Success

If you google, “types of workers,” you’ll get a myriad of results about personality types in your workplace and how to work with them, literal definitions employment, and new vs old schools of thought for employees.

I don’t want to reinvent the wheel so if you’re eager to learn about how identify and categorize the people in your workplace, you should probably read those too. Here, I want to cut to the core and talk about 4 types of people you need in your workplace and how to empower them.

If you can harness your team members’ abilities, identify what your team has and doesn’t have, along with whose in a role that might not serve their working style, you’ll be well on your way to cultivating a successful team—and a successful team is the foundation of your successful business.

The 4 Types of Workers You Need on Your Team

There might be more actual “types” of workers out there—some sources have like 15—but I went ahead and narrowed it down to what you NEED. Not just 4 people (though 4 can get you quite a ways down the road), 4 types of people.

It’s not uncommon that people on your team (especially if its small) will fall into more than one category on a day to day basis, but typically you’ll find that someone has a dominant trait and leans towards another one. (ie. your innovator may also be a workhorse… if they’re working on something new—or your workhorse may also be a systematic thinker… when they need a system to make their work better). Get it?

If there’s someone on your team that doesn’t fall into one of these categories (unlikely) don’t try to force them into these molds. Spend some time learning more about them to see how they need to be empowered—or you may have a unicorn, an entrepreneur, on your team (more on that at the bottom)

​The Workhorse

These people will make a difference every single day they’re dependable, task focused, and when they’re stable they want to do a good job. Give them a goal and the steps to get there (plus let them know who to ask for help if they need it) and they will put their head down and do it.

Why you need them: There’s a lot to do, these people get the work done. 

Are they suited to a manager role? Not really. They have a hard time delegating. 

When do they feel the best? When they can see the results of their work.

Signs of burnout: they probably won’t say it directly because they love to work, but you can hear it in their communication. They’ll say things like they’re “waiting” all the time, their work will become less quality, they’ll be a little rough around the edges, or they’ll be “bored” even though it seems like they have a lot on their plate.

How to empower your Workhorse: Give them tasks with reasonable deadlines, make sure they aren’t impeded in their work and get out of their way.

Involve them in the process of figuring out the best steps to achieve goals and give them detailed feedback—what they could do better + what they’re doing well, not just “good job.”

Click Here for More Information on the Workhorse

The Innovator

They thrive in creating—the idea people! This is your point person for launches, a person to involve when you want to position yourself into a new audience, or if you want to change your look. They’re the people that set the office trends, tend to be extroverts, and love the creative aspect of the company. 

Why you need them: you’re going to need to pivot, launch, grow—this person is your asset.

Are they suited to a manager role? Sometimes. They will add random tasks to their team.

When do they feel the best? When they have complete agency over their own schedule.

Signs of burnout: they’ll tell you and then you’ll be able to see it for yourself (these people can be quite mercurial). They will lose focus, their work won’t be the quality you know they can perform, and they’ll start to bother other employees with solutions and new ideas.

How to empower your Innovator: Give them a goal and let them figure out the best way to achieve it—within scarce but specified limits.

Have them RUN feedback meetings—know what you want them to know about their performance, but let them ask you the questions about how they’re doing.

Click Here for More Information on the Innovator

Systematic Thinker

Yo—you need a problem solver? Systematic Thinker has you on lock. These people excel at making the plan AND making sure the plan makes the best sense for everyone on the team. They are the people with the answers, they know the ins and outs of the company—their name ends up all over the place because they make it their personal goal to make the company’s goals achievable.

Why you need them: They’re going to keep the team focused and make sure the details (every company has the details) don’t fall through the cracks.

Are they suited to a manager role? Sometimes but that needs to be their primary focus.

When do they feel the best? When they have the time to focus on each task.

Signs of burnout: they probably won’t say anything so look for indicators like super long hours.  They’re often one of the first team members to experience burnout because they’re not a natural workhorse but their OCD about the details can make them one.

How to empower your Systematic Thinker: Give them tasks that are suited to their propensity towards detailed work—quality assurance, editing, and optimization. They’re very realistic about what is possible so put them in a checks and balances role with the innovator’s ideas BEFORE the plan goes team-wide.

Pay close attention to the feedback they give you—they may not be the best at communicating, but they probably have data/examples to explain what they mean. Give them direct, actionable feedback—and unless it’s a real problem, leave their personal appearance, team participation, and attitude out of the conversation.

Click Here for More Information on the Systematic Thinker


Both the easiest and the hardest to deal with on a team is the natural leader. They’re entirely goal focused, they can literally talk to anyone, play any necessary part, and they can rally the team. These are the people that the team asks for help or guidance, they likely know about everyone’s personal lives and their working lives—both the good and the bad, and they know who is best suited to be the point of contact for any kind of problem. They have their finger on the pulse of the company and they ask a shitload of questions.

Why you need them: They keep your team empowered, accountable, excited, and moving forward on their goals.

Are they suited to a manager role? They are your managers even when they aren’t in a managerial position. 

When do they feel the best? When they’re making a difference and empowering their team.

Signs of burnout: They typically won’t burn out—they will just leave the business. They will always adhere to their own expectations so your biggest indication of them leaving (besides them telling you directly) is their team being really protective of them and they start to push back on management more and more. 

How to empower the Leader: this is actual simpler said than done: let them lead. 

In two-way feedback meetings, know that they’re likely coming in with the team’s best interest in mind. 

Click Here for More Information on the Leader

Why The CEO Doesn’t Count

Alright so you’re reading this trying to identify which one you are—and you’re all of them. If you’re not the CEO, you might be best suited as an entrepreneur (or intrapreneur).

The Entrepreneur is purposefully not a category here. Entrepreneurs are special unicorn people in that they are made up of all the working types (that’s why they aren’t very common).

Successful entrepreneurs know which piece of them to pull forward and which pieces to reign in—sometimes you have a plan and you need the workhorse, but sometimes you just need to step back from the grind and lead. If you’re a natural entrepreneur, cultivate this skill and find balance before you burn yourself out by spending your time doing all of these things to the max (guilty).

A company can, and should be, started by an entrepreneur, but once it’s time to focus on the details and growth in a company the day-to-day operations should not be run by a team of entrepreneurs (unless that’s the purposeful business model, in that case, good luck).

If you find that you’ve hired one of these unicorns, count yourself amongst the luckiest of stars. They’re going to have a huge impact on your company—put them in a leadership role or groom them to take over your place if that’s one of your goals, empower them to cultivate their business skills, and don’t be shocked when they leave to do something incredible.

Tell me your working type! Leave it in the comments—we’ll approve it, but only if you’re being sincere (otherwise don’t bother).

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

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