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Workology Personality Types: The Artist

Making the most of your work day can be a challenge. Mindjet’s Workology series will help you work smarter and more effectively with your workmates by introducing you to – and providing keys to working with – some common personality types found in any office.

When you talk to Audrey Gray, the vice president of executive communications at American Express and a self-professed Artist personality, her excitement and passion for what she does nearly leap through the phone wires.

“My craft is creating useful and beautiful content,” she says of her work philosophy. “If it’s not beautiful, it doesn’t go out the door.” Gray’s focused Artist personality is an asset when it comes to developing campaigns and motivating her team of creatives for American Express. Being an Artist, she says, is a good “reality check for the genuine human experience.” After all, she says, “A lot of my role is simply giving people permission to think like a human being. I make the messaging and content more clear, beautiful, and useful.”

But with beauty in the proverbial eye of the beholder, how does Gray juggle different aesthetic perspectives? “The story of a product can be told in many different ways, but all those things should be singing the same song. And that song should really hit you in the gut.”

But that doesn’t mean she and other Artists don’t occasionally have clashing approaches with other personality types. “I have a hard time with people who are wedded to the status quo. In our business, it’s change or die.” Surprisingly, Gray says, she enjoys working with task-oriented Generals. “I love to charm them. They’re straight shooters and they know exactly what they want,” she says. “One of the beautiful things about craft and art is they work better with constraints.”

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How can you best work with Artists? According to Myers-Briggs Type Indicator expert Christine Damrose-Mahlmann, many Artists are ISFPs (Introverts, Sensing, Feeling, Perception), which means they work better when they have autonomy to express their vision. “They value their personal space and value others’ personal space,” she explains. “ISFPs work better in environments that allow them to work by themselves – but, they are good listeners and should be acknowledged for those listening skills.” And don’t forget to acknowledge their great brainstorming skills: According to the Belbin Self-Perception Inventory personality test, which organizes individuals into team roles based on their strengths, Artists are classified as Resource Investigators, who find thrill in possibility and engagement.

But autonomy should also come with constraints. “You have to give Artists deadlines because otherwise we’ll just keep creating and changing things,” says Gray.

Communication really is key when it comes to the Artist. So is patience. “A lot of times when you’re working with good creatives, the first thing you get back is convoluted. I’m always encouraging them to go back and simplify – that’s a major part of the process. But it gets messy sometimes before you get there, because that’s creativity.” And Artists sometimes communicate in their own language of signs and symbols. “We’re quirky,” says Gray with a laugh. “The whiteboard in my office scares people.”

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