It is generally accepted that success at work is predicated partly on a person acquiring the right qualifications and certifications.

In the medical field, things can turn deadly if a practitioner lacks the required knowledge and skill sets. And given the increasing sophistication of their work, there is a good argument for requiring professionals like financial advisers and engineers to demonstrate a desired level of competence to do their job well.

But beyond the required skills and qualifications of candidates, managers must consider the three distinct personality types that their staff members can be classified under.

Not assessing an employee correctly may lead his supervisors to fit a square peg in a round hole — with serious consequences for the employee’s chances of success at work and his contribution to the organisation.  

So what are the different personality types that play a part in determining job success? Put simply, are you a talker, thinker or doer?


The typical “doer” is very hardworking. He strives to accomplish every task he is given on time and to the best of his ability.

Because he takes his work seriously and puts in a lot of effort, he has a good track record of success. However,  he works quietly — often putting in long hours without complaining. This means that his hard work and efforts are sometimes not given due recognition.

He does not get involved in office politics, and is uncomfortable with “schmoozing” with the boss and the “right” people. The doer needs an effective manager who can champion his contributions.


The doer has a colleague, dubbed by many as the “talker”. Not a day passes by without him talking about the great opportunities ahead and the objectives he has set himself.

He likes people and they like him back. He gets involved in many of the organisation’s social activities, and his colleagues admire his energy and enthusiasm.

Not only does he impress his supervisors and bosses, even his customers are impressed. To succeed in the organisation, the talker needs to make sure he delivers on his promises.


Then, there is the third type of person in the organisation — the “thinker”. He is never short of ideas and has a reputation for exercising due diligence at work.

He has the ability to think out-of-the-box and is no stranger to thinking strategically. As a result, he tends to weigh the pros and cons carefully before giving his opinion and is well thought of by many in the workplace.

His ability to paint the big picture may sometimes be construed as a dampener when a gung-ho mentality prevails in the organisation. To climb up the corporate ladder, the thinker needs to acquire good communication skills to complement his solid intellectual abilities.

Each plays a role

The doer working behind the scenes may be compared to the roots of a tree, quietly fulfilling critical functions of the organisation.

At the frontline, the talker is the face of the organisation, building on relationships with clients and prospects. He is synonymous with the branches and leaves whose characteristics enable the tree to be identified and recognised.

The thinker is the “trunk” that connects the “roots” and “branches” in the organisation tree. It is his ability to think strategically that makes the organisation grow in the right direction, and to see opportunities that others cannot, just the way some trees rise above others to get the maximum amount of sunlight.

Every organisation needs these three kinds of personalities for back room and front office operations. But you are destined for a higher calling if you have the natural ability or the determination to acquire the skill sets associated with all three, because thinking and talking are incomplete without doing.