Psychology for Managers: Are you Type A or Type B?



In the 1950’s there was a major psychological study which lasted 8 and half years, performed by two american cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman.

They studied if there’s a correlation between how people behave in their workplace and an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

From the findings they described two contrasting personality types – Type A and Type B, which can be distinguished by different behaviour at work.

The suggestion was that Type A individuals are more at risk of heart disease, but this claim has not been supported by later empirical research.

However, the characteristic of the types is useful to show how different people actually could approach their work. Whether you are Type A or Type B it determines how you manage your time and organize your work.

Type A

Type A

Type A

Friedman and Rosenman describe Type A as ambitious, competitive, hasty, active, impatient, anxious, proactive individuals who often take on more than they can handle. They are very productive and hate both delays and hesitation.

These people suffer from a sense of urgency, hate procrastination and can’t relax.

They are also more likely to start smoking as a mechanism for relieving their stress.

Type B

Type B

Type B

Type B is the exact opposite of Type A. Relaxed, staid, reflective, gives himself time to think, patient, able to listen to others, with many hobbies and pleasures.

People with Type B personality are not oriented on results. They enjoy exploring new ideas and concepts and may be more creative than Type A. They usually works steadily with lower stress.

Type A and Type B manage their work differently

Many of the characteristics of these two types are good and there’s no reason to change them. But each type has some shortcomings that good employee or a manager should work on to become more productive and bring better performance.

Here are some weaknesses of type A personalities:

  • They avoid delegating work because they believe that nobody can do the job better than them
  • They see all tasks with the same priority level and want to do them all at once
  • They start working without further detailed planning,  which actually annoys them
  • They don’t think forwardly of consequences and often start with a lack of one of the necessary resources – time, money or people
  • They are very efficient and require it also from others, but often in a veryoffensive and severe way

In general, managers and employees belonging to type A tend to achieve more than they are able to handle. This can be dangerous in the long run.

The weaknesses of type B personalities are these:

  • They lack clear goals and priorities at work and in life in general
  • They like to delegate work, but sometimes find it too complicated to give clear instructions (their instructions are vague)
  • When planning, they have the tendency to be perfect and waste time and energy
  • They avoid confrontation and conflicts
  • They can’t say no
  • It’s hard for them to decide. They prefer decisions which are not contrary to anyone elses

Managers or employees of type B sometimes tend to avoid responsibilities. Too much thinking and fear of consequences is the main reason for their indecision. So how can the both types better their personalities and therefore become more successful?

How can type A boost his productivity and success

In order to keep long-term performance of these high-achievers and to avoid becoming nervous wrecks, they should obey the following advice:

Delegate and outsource. 

Make a realistic decision what is in your strengths and abilities to really accomplish and delegate all other things to your colleagues or employees. Don’t overdo it with the sense of responsibility and learn to say “no”, if you see that you are getting overloaded with work.

Take your time to relax.

Reserve time for your friends and family. Find activities that lower stress like yoga, meditations, running, etc. Don’t forget to take regular vacations and don’t get disturbed by working activities during them.

Get your harmonious life back.

Are your hobbies, family, health, relations and work in balance? Take more time on things you have been neglecting. Manage your time in such a way to have a few moments to talk a bit more with people and find new friends. Learn to stop & smell the roses sometimes.

Set realistic goals.

You don’t have to constantly prove how efficient you are. Set your goals together with your colleagues, which could give you more realistic feedback. Take time to plan your goals in more detail and  plan ways to achieve them. Ask yourself if you have all the necessary things to accomplish them and give them realistic deadlines.

How can type B boost his productivity and success

These easy-going people can achieve much more if they follow these recommendations:

Stop procrastinating.

Exactly like Nike’s slogan says: Just do it! Do it now and enjoy the great feeling of having things done. If you leave it till later, tasks will accumulate and you will work under stress and time pressure.

Become more assertive.

B types are usually creative and have good ideas but fear too much of being wrong. Expressing your emotions and opinions would in fact help you gain more respect and satisfaction.

Don’t improve things to infinite.

Don’t waste too much time and energy by chasing the quest for excellence. Nothing in life is absolutely ideal. Don’t be afraid of releasing your creation to the world. Small imperfections can be repaired later.

Track your progress.

It’s not just about quality, but also quantity. Measuring key metrics of your performance would help you gain more discipline and responsibility and therefore catch more. To learn how to master the habit of tracking your progress click here.

Neither type is better than the other. When they work together, they complement each other and together they are able to achieve more. But for good cooperation it is necessary that both types learn to understand each other – their characteristics, their strengths and weaknesses. This article can be a good start for that.


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