I know plenty of people who hate work but WANT to find a way to love it.

Luckily, that’s what this post is about:

Finding your true strengths at work AND loving what you do.

I sat down with Patrick Lencioni, author of various best-selling books, to talk all about work styles. Watch our video below:

Bestselling author shares 6 work styles to solve your common frustrations at work

What is a Work Style?

Your work style is how you prefer to plan your work tasks, communicate professionally with others, and like to get tasks done. Different workers have different work styles—for example, someone who likes to ponder things may spend a lot of time thinking and gathering inspiration for new ideas.

Others with a more action-oriented work style may take those ideas and turn them into a reality. Some workers like to have a collaborative work style—extroverts like to brainstorm around a conference table. Others are more introverted and prefer to brainstorm alone.

Here’s what’s important: You need to know your work style… and others should too! If you’re utilizing your ideal work style, you’ll be able to enter a state of flow, or peak performance, much easier than if you were assigned tasks that require a different work style. You’ll be less likely to count down the minutes until work is over and much more likely to find enjoyment in utilizing your strengths.

So what’s your work style personality? Let’s take a deep dive below. 

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What Are The 6 Work Styles And Which One Are You?

What are the 6 work styles and which one are you?

Whether you’re:

  • in a team organizing a project
  • planning a company retreat
  • part of a startup

Patrick Lencioni found there are 6 work styles people can have. You may even find that 2 different styles describe you best.

These work styles are Wonder, Invention, Discernment, Galvanizing, Enablement, and Tenacity (and they conveniently make up the acronym WIDGET!).

Find out which working style suits you best:

#1: Wonder

Work Style #1 - Wonder

Some people are geniuses at pondering things and asking why. These are the Wonderers or daydreamers.

If you’re a Genius of Wonder, you:

  • like to gather inspiration and ideas before starting a project
  • always ask yourself if there’s greater potential or opportunity in a situation
  • think big-picture
  • get creative sparks from unexpected places—taking long walks, having conversations with friends, staring out the window, or practicing unique hobbies

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#2: Invention

Work Style #2 - Invention

Inventors take what the Wonderers come up with and solve the problem, come up with an idea, or create a product. This includes mental tinkerers as well, who love to brainstorm and put ideas into place.

If you’re a Genius of Invention, you:

  • love using mind maps, whiteboards, and other brainstorming tools
  • enjoy creating prototypes or working models for new products
  • prefer taking action over thinking
  • create new and innovative products

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#3: Discernment

Work Style #3 - Discernment

Discerners take what the Inventor comes up with and ask, “What are the problems that can arise?” These are what I call “dreambuilders” and “dreamkillers.” Optimistic dreambuilders think ideas and products can and will be great, while pessimistic or realist dreamkillers always bring up potential pitfalls.

If you’re a Genius of Discernment, you:

  • have great instincts and can find potential pitfalls with products
  • are always thinking, “What can go wrong?”
  • are able to give advice on how to improve existing products
  • are more realistic than idealistic

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#4: Galvanizing

Work Style #4 - Galvanizing

Galvanizers love to get people excited. They cheer people on and rally them together. And the best part is they love to do this for fun, while others would dread telling people about stuff they’re excited about!

If you’re a Genius of Galvanizing, you:

  • are naturally excitable
  • love to gather others and organize them to tackle a goal
  • immediately feel like you want to tell someone about something new you’ve learned
  • have the ability to cheer up your teammates and provide encouragement

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#5: Enablement

Work Style #5 - Enablement

The Enablers are people on the team who make the product a success. They are geniuses who love responding to the needs of others and helping others bring those products to life. Enablers know exactly what needs to happen and what needs to be done.

If you’re a Genius of Enablement, you:

  • love to encourage others and provide assistance on a project
  • are the “bread and butter” of a team, working relentlessly on the small details to make the big picture a reality
  • are good at planning and achieving goals

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#6: Tenacity

Work Style #6 - Tenacity

Tenacious people love to finish things. They don’t rest until it’s done. These people have great willpower and help others on the team get to the finish line.

If you’re a Genius of Tenacity, you:

  • are usually the one working the most on your team
  • like to focus on one task and complete it before moving on to a different one
  • persevere on your goals when others have given up

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The Science of Working Styles

One study published in The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology wanted to know if different work styles help people be more creative. Researchers took 2 groups of students and came up with an experiment:

  1. One group consisted of students who had similar personalities.
  2. The other group was a mixture of different personalities.

They were given problems to solve, like finding the best way to cross a road filled with dangerous landmines. Yikes!

And the amazing result? The groups with different personalities came up with way more creative methods to solve the landmine problem.

Helpful if you’re in a classroom trying to beat your competition… SUPER helpful if you’re in a competitive workplace.

But what personality traits are most effective in teams, you may be wondering?

Research shows that the most helpful traits to have from the Big 5 are extraversion, emotional stability, and openness. But no matter what personality traits people have, teams have also been found to have “collective personalities.”

In other words, people in a team tend to act in certain ways that align with a team’s “collective personality.” So if you want a strong, effective team personality, make sure your team members have those traits too.

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Bonus: What’s Your Remote Work Style? (Assessment)

Working styles are not only restricted to the office either.

Everyone—even remote workers—has their own working style. In fact, we have a quiz on our Remote Guide to get you started. And while you’re at it, here are some more valuable work resources:

*Exclusive Offer for Science of People readers: Want to take a professional assessment? Use promotional code VANESSA25 to receive 25% off The Working Genius Assessment.

Let me know in the comments your two main work styles!

9 replies on “The 6 Work Styles and How to Find Yours (Using Science!)”

  1. Bekah Rudd

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  2. Anonymous

    I’m definitely Wonder. And I’m surprised that it isn’t more common, going by others’ comments. I thought it would have been by far the most common. To be fair, I don’t work yet, and I don’t foresee that many opportunities to use that work style in most workplaces.

  3. Tabitha

    Thanks for the resource. Funny I thought I would be more of an inventor, but maybe I just do that because I can.

  4. Thomas M. Allan

    Hi Vanessa,

    Super impressed with the content and excitement of the interview.

    Lots of fun watching, listening, and learning as two galvanizers get out the good word!

    Taking your challenge to find the two categories that apply: Discerning wonderer. I also love invention and tenacity. Galvanizing and enabling others are chores.

    Hm. Curious. Starting to read like someone on this side of the computer screen is an introvert…

    Thanks for the insights. 🙂

  5. Andrea

    First to say I am a fond follower of yours!
    Your topics, videos and advices are so inspiring to me!
    So to say my work genius are in the following order:
    – Discernment
    – Galvanizing
    – Enablement

  6. Stef

    I do find this very interesting! However, I can’t “find myself” in the types. I seem to fit about half of the traits of four or five of the types. But that is kinda normal for me 🙂

  7. kris

    I took this when Lencioni came out with this about nine months ago; it is interesting. I found that it helped me understand that being an “enabler” can be a good thing. Not everyone is an inventor, and that can be a good thing. It was helpful to see “discerners,” as not necessarily naysayers, but as ones able to offer insight into an idea or project. Without the various perspectives on the strengths, we measure people like we see ourselves rather than for their strengths. We learn to have compassion and respect for our and others’ working styles. His Working Genius quiz was stocking stuffers last Christmas for my college age daughters.

  8. Peter Nurman

    Interesting video. After listening to the video and the descriptions, I actually have a trifecta, which Enablement and Wonder work in tandem with each other, however that will vary on the level of the Discernment I may have

    The three I have are:
    – Enablement

    Also regarding Brainstorm session, I don’t care for them either, and 2 hours or even 30 minutes is too much.

    (This is my Galvanizing trait coming out)

    This past week I took a business certification called Lean Six Sigma and I passed my Black Belt Which is a data-driven methodology that deals with eliminating waste. Although it is used in the manufacturing industry, there have been some uses in the service industry.

    In the course they say there are 8 types of waste:

    Defects(ex. Missing information)

    Over-Production (ex. When more information is being requested than required)

    Waiting(when someone is waiting for information)
    Non-Utilized skills (ex.Lack of training or Lack of team work)

    Transfer (ex. Moving things around or work transferring across platform or teams)

    Inventory(ex. work stuck in email boxes not being processed)

    Motion (ex. Inefficient placement of office resources)

    Excess-Processing(ex.Similar information being captured in several places)

    Acronym for this process in my course was named DOWNTIME

    (Discernment )

    In this video, characteristics of the above 8 wastes listed of not using that person’s time and talent,was that of Non-Utilized skills.

    With the mention of Brainstorming session, I can’t stand them either as stated above. I often tell people when it comes to brainstorming, “I don’t even have a cloud in the sky.” 🙂

    In my Lean Six Sigma course we learned a few methods, one of those methods is called
    Brainstorming 6-3-5. This is when you 6 people to come up with 3 topics within a 5 minute period.


    Galvanizing I rarely do.

    Tenacity in most jobs I’m in are frowned on(so fast-pace jobs aren’t for me), however for me Tenacity comes into play when it comes to workouts. For example one of the goals I made for myself was to accomplish a kettlebell move called the Turkish Getup which has 8 parts to it with a 106# bell (which I achieved in 2014, as a “what-if” scenario (or wonder genius characteristic).

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