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Firework personalities at work – and how to manage them!

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Do you have some fiery or explosive people in your team? Or maybe some slow burners? Read on and find out how to handle these different personalities and give them space to shine.

Catherine Wheel

These people don’t just get annoyed, they go into a spin and lose their objectivity, which can sometimes lead them to do or say something they regret.

There are a number of strategies you could use with people who have a short fuse. Suggest that they excuse themselves from a meeting if they find themselves getting angry and walk around the building for a few minutes. They might find the moment has passed. Similarly, with emails, suggest they save any explosive ones as a draft and review the next day. They may well be horrified at the tone and language of the email when reading it with a fresh pair of eyes!

The Rocket

These colleagues are competitive, ambitious and reach for the stars. They like a tough assignment and thrive under pressure. However, they’re not big on detail and can be impatient, so need careful management to stop them coming back down to earth with a bang.

To get the best out of these personalities, don’t focus too much on the minutiae of a task or keep them waiting too long. You’ll need to negotiate with them rather than tell them what to do, but if you give them space to discover things for themselves they’ll rise to the challenge.

Roman Candle

These people are fantastic at putting on a great show and will dazzle peers with their charm. They thrive on social interaction and love telling stories. However, they can be easily distracted from the task in hand.

Keep them onside by recognising their ideas and let them talk through their opinions and ideas. Also ensure their feelings don’t override the facts, and that you pin them down to deadlines or agreed commitments in writing.


These personalities are usually considered the ‘safe’ option. They are controlled and contained but lack the flamboyance of some other colleagues.

Give them clearly defined objectives, an ordered environment to work in and you’ll get consistent, long-term performance long after their fiery colleagues have burned out.


Like sparklers, these people are steady and consistently good over a period of time. However, they can find change difficult and dislike unpredictability.

Steady people like a stable, familiar environment. If you give specialised work that requires patience and that can be done at their own pace, they’ll thrive. However, they’ll need time to adapt to change and might need some encouragement to see the benefits of being flexible.

At People Puzzles we recognise that all people are different, with many more variations than there are fireworks! We use a personality profiling system called DISC, designed to help you and your people work more productively together, increase communication and deliver results effectively. Call us on  0808 164 5826 and see how it could ignite the potential of your team.


Jim Thompson

Jim Thompson, People Director

Ally Maughan

Ally Maughan, Founder

Lynn ran a detailed process and I wasn’t allowed to get away with anything- All relevant issues were included and dealt with objectively.

Sue Ford, Director, Bridge Case Management

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