Who Are You? The Three Types of Workers by Steve Blanshan

August 24, 2018

I was in sixth grade when I was introduced to the concept of personal profiles. Life’s first attempt to get me to ask myself, “Who am I?”. My teacher passed out a sheet with four different animals on it, a lion, an otter, a dog, and a beaver. You then had to rank the characteristics listed next to each animal, with four being most like you (or as you saw yourself) and one being the least like you.

lion, dog, otter, beaver, personality test, type of worker

I loved this assignment and after a few minutes discovered that I was a lion, which totally fit me, competitive, goal-oriented, and a tad bit too aggressive. Recently, I hit up my good friend Google and the animal test still lives today, feel free to find out your personality by clicking the below link and if you have never taken a personality profile, I would encourage you to take this very basic one yourself and then have a co-worker or friend fill one out for you. It’s fun to compare how you see yourself versus how others see you. Here is the link:

Five Minute Personality Test: http://stem.vcsu.edu/shared/MSP-grant-documents/2016-2017/Day-10-June-9/Ashley_&_Ashley_Docs/Inventories_and_Rubrics/Personality%20Inventory.pdf


As life continued and my education grew I was exposed to many more personality tests. One of my favorites was D.I.S.C. which surprisingly is very similar to animal test, although much more in-depth. I find personality tests are amazing at helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses and then applying those to your relationships. If you are a lion, like me, you need to learn how your natural behavior can hurt the dogs of the world who often are much more sensitive than you. But personality and type of worker are vastly different from each other.

I believe there are Three Types of Workers: Pioneers, Maximizers, & Maintainers. Realizing which one you are is vital to your success and happiness in the work environment.

Pioneers: Pioneers represent 2% of the world. They are the ones who see the trees ahead and wonder what’s behind them, then take action to find out. They blaze trails, forge ahead, and live in a world of constant vision. They are happiest when allowed the freedom to think outside the box and are unfulfilled at jobs where they are forced to follow policy, procedure, and “the company way” of doing things. They aren’t loyal by nature, not because they lack the loyalty, but because they most always be moving and often they can’t stay at one company long before they feel that familiar bug of leaving for the unknown. Appreciate them while they are there because they will take your company to places you never imagined.

Maximizers: Maximizers represent 8% of the world. These are the people who follow directly behind the Pioneers. Their heads are filled with the idea that, “There has to be a better way.” They see the road the Pioneers left behind them as they advanced into the unknown, littered with cut down trees and branches and Maximizers think to themselves, “What if we paved that road, then it would be better.” They work similar to Pioneers, needing the freedom to think, but are different in that they want to lead. They desire authority and leadership opportunities. They are most satisfied in environments where they are given problems and then allowed to lead a team in finding the best solution. They will not function well, nor be happy in jobs that feel like a “factory” to them, doing the same task day in and day out.

Maintainers: Maintainers represent 80% of the world. They are the ones who keep the lights on, and a company cannot function without them. They follow the blueprints, enter the data, and obey the rules. They thrive when tasks don’t change unexpectedly, they do not work well with people who say, “I don’t know how to do it, just get it done.” They want a plan, and then they want you to get out of the way so that they can carry the plan out. These are the people who make sure the roads your Pioneers carved, and your Maximizers designed continue to be pothole free long after your Pioneers and Maximizers have moved on. They will be loyal to you as long as you are loyal to them and don’t ever forget how vital they are.

Well, if you are good at math, you will see that I have left 10% of the world unaccounted for. I have learned that no matter how you classify there is still a percentage of people who live outside the boxes. Maybe today they are a pioneer, and then without any notice, they take on the traits of a maintainer, or perhaps they work in such a way that it’s impossible to say they are one of the three types of workers listed here. Call them Hybrids if you need a box to put them in, but don’t expect them to stay in that box.  No one is just a lion or an otter or a dog. Our circumstances change and reshape us, and that’s why it’s so important for a company to reevaluate themselves and their employees on a regular basis.