11/08/2013 03:36 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Why Successful People Understand Different Personalities

I had a recent conversation with a friend, about what it means to be successful in a company. We talked about big titles, huge salaries, and the corner office with wraparound windows. But when the dust settled, it came down to being the person that everyone enjoyed working with and having as a coworker. That person was the guy/gal who could get along with any personality, and they left a mark at every company they worked for.

A job can be defined by many different things; tasks, technology, skill sets, timing... we all look at our jobs in so many ways. But outside of ourselves as employees, we can sometimes forget that we typically don't work in a vacuum. We have bosses and coworkers that we interact with 8+ hours a day. What makes this aspect so easy to forget is that human beings tend to get used to people more easily than they do tasks and activities. I can count how many times I had to write a report, but can't recall how many times I spoke with others about that report. So it's not hard to realize that the people portion of our work days can be easily forgotten.

What stands out for most is that person who always seems cheerful, even in the midst of chaos. The reason for his cheer is that he sees himself surrounded by people who are skilled and knowledgeable - or else why would they be working there? The reason why he sees all of this skill and knowledge, sometimes when others cannot, is because he takes the time to understand personalities. Understanding different personalities, and what makes those personalities the asset they are in the company, is like an auto mechanic understanding what each tool in his toolbox does best. He won't look at a wrench and say "boy this thing sucks as a screwdriver". Understanding coworkers makes your job easier and more enjoyable.

The guy who know that Bob is great with statistics and that Joanne loves editing spreadsheets is better able to determine who can best help him with what task. On the opposite side of the coin is disagreement - when you just don't see eye to eye with someone. The key here, even if you are right, is not to push and shove the answer down the other person's throat, but to have a professional discussion with that person, so that you both can learn the thoughts behind each other's perception. Sure there are times when you don't have 15 minutes to have a discussion, but this doesn't mean you don't try to understand the other person's viewpoint in 2 minutes.

You can make your job, and your career, more successful and enjoyable if you take the time to understand your coworkers and how they think. Being on everyone's radar as the guy who works with people and leverages their skills, instead of the guy who pushes and shoves people, will make you the superstar in any organization.